Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 In a (New) Critical Condition : Accounting for Australian Literatures
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'In 1984 John Docker published a very funny account of the division between Leavisites and New Critics in the English departments at Melbourne and Sydney universities. The title of his book, In a Critical Condition: Reading Australian Literature seemed to hint that Australian literature was on its deathbed. But, in fact, participants in debates about teaching Australian literatures have tended to take for granted that the study of literature itself is an essential part of a secondary school education, and a legitimate part of a tertiary education for those wishing to become teachers; the debate arises from different ideas about what should be taught and how. The title of this essay, however, hints at a new level of concern about the state of teaching of Australian literatures. This concern arises from the fact that schools and universities have been shaped by dramatically intensified demands that outcomes be quantified, and quality evaluated. It is the premise of this essay that these demands have had, and will have, a far greater effect on the teaching of literature than disciplinary debates in literary studies, broadly conceived. Thus, this essay seeks to move work and workplace cultures to the centre of the discussion.' (Authors' introduction, 246)


  • Epigraph: When the numbers acquire the significance of language, they acquire the power to do all of the things which language can do: to become fiction and drama and poetry.

    I wonder if we haven't become so numbed by all these numbers that we are no longer capable of truly assimilating any knowledge which might result from them.

    (Both comments are by Bill James, whose work inspired the story told in Michael Lewis's Moneyball (2004, p. 67; p. 95))

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y Teaching Australian Literature : From Classroom Conversations to National Imaginings Brenton Doecke (editor), Larissa McLean-Davies (editor), Philip Mead (editor), Kent Town : Wakefield Press Australian Association for the Teaching of English , 2011 Z1851330 2011 anthology criticism 'What role should Australian literature play in the school curriculum? What principles should guide our selection of Australian texts? To what extent should concepts of the nation and a national identity frame the study of Australian writing? What do we imagine Australian literature to be? How do English teachers go about engaging their students in reading Australian texts?

    This volume brings together teachers, teacher educators, creative writers and literary scholars in a joint inquiry that takes a fresh look at what it means to teach Australian literature. The immediate occasion for the publication of these essays is the implementation of The Australian Curriculum: English, which several contributors subject to critical scrutiny. In doing so, they question the way that literature teaching is currently being constructed by standards-based reforms, not only in Australia but elsewhere.

    The essays assembled in this volume transcend the divisions that have sometimes marred debates about the place of Australian literature in the school curriculum. They all recognise the complexity of what secondary English teachers do in their efforts to engage young people in a rich and meaningful curriculum. They also highlight the need for both secondary and tertiary educators to cultivate an awareness of the cultural and intellectual traditions that mediate their professional practice and to encourage a critically responsive pedagogy.' (Publisher's blurb)
    Kent Town : Wakefield Press Australian Association for the Teaching of English , 2011
    pg. 246-265
Last amended 28 Mar 2012 15:15:32
246-265 In a (New) Critical Condition : Accounting for Australian LiteraturesAustLit