lundi 26 avril 2010

Publication: Biopolitics and Postcolonial Literature: a Special Issue of Australian Literary Studies.

Biopolitics and Postcolonial Literature: a Special Issue of Australian Literary Studies.

In The History of Sexuality Michel Foucault describes the emergence of a modern form of power-knowledge, built around the administration of bodies and the management of life, and distinguishes it from an older form of sovereign power: “the ancient right to take life or let live was replaced by a power to foster life or disallow it to the point of death.” It is a formula that has subsequently informed work on everything from health care to genocide. Partly through the influence of Giorgio Agamben’s work on “bare life” and Achille Mbembe’s work on “necropolitics,” it also plays an increasingly important role in redescriptions of colonialism and its legacies, even as the relationship between sovereignty and biopolitics has been sharply debated.
What is the historical relationship between literary discourse and biopolitical practice? How useful is the notion of biopolitics for a general sense of literary history, and for work in specific colonial and postcolonial contexts? How might it change our sense of the archive, or question prevailing modes of periodization? How might it help us connect the colonial past to the global present?
Topics might include (but certainly aren’t limited to) narratives of invasion and extinction, regimes of protection and assimilation, fictions of hybridity and miscegenation, the relationship between sexuality and sovereignty, the nation as a biopolitical category, and broader discourses on race, citizenship, public health, immigration, security and border control.

Final submissions would be due by February 1, 2011.

Please send papers and enquiries to Andrew McCann at

Conversation: David Malouf talking with Pr. Bil Ashcroft

Dear AAALS members and friends,

Many of you might be interested in the dialogue between David Malouf and Bill Ashcroft that took place recently at UNSW. Here is the blurb and URL:

The UNSWriting Public Seminars at UNSW continue with David Malouf talking with Professor William Ashcroft about his new novel Ransom. Ransom takes us into the world of Homer’s Iliad, retelling and reimagining its myths and stories. It recently won the Fiction prize at the 2010 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature.

Thanks to Faye Christenberry for bringing this to my attention.

Regards, Nathanael O'Reilly.

In Memoriam : Peter Porter

Peter Porter

Peter Porter, who died on April 23 aged 81, was one of the most distinguished poets working in Britain, where he lived after leaving his native Australia in 1951.

Please note than an obituary for Peter Porter was published in The Telegraph and you may react to it by clicking here:

Conference : The Association for the Study of Literature, Environment, Culture

3rd Biannual Conference of


The Association for the Study of Literature, Environment, Culture–

Australia and New Zealand

(An affiliate of ASLE)

University of Tasmania


20, 21, 22 October 2010

Sounding the Earth: Music, Language, Acoustic Ecology

‘All of the sound we hear is only a fraction of all the vibrating going on in our universe’ (ecologist and composer David Dunn, Nature Sound). ‘Since each thing is made differently, each form of life hears a slightly different multiverse’.

ASLEC-ANZ invites papers, performances, panels, photo/phonographics—on music, language, sound, the earth—that reflect the multiversity of human and non-human worlds; that investigate music’s power as intrinsic language to ‘transcend social and cultural barriers’; that examine the process of remixing, recycling, renewing in sound and the environment.

The proposed theme, Sound and the Environment. actively engages with the aural (human and non-human), and thus seeks to bring into encounter human and non-human aural expressions and aesthetics; literature and music; conservatory and architecture; drama and legislation; arts and industry sustainability.

Among the topics that presenters will take up are: soundscapes and environmental awareness; music modeled on nature; music performed collaboratively with nature; the power of song (human and non-human) to change the way humans think and act; Indigenous 'singing up' as a mode of resilience and joy.

Topic suggestions include but are not limited to:

* Literature, music, other arts and media engaged with sounds and silences of the Earth

* Soundscapes and environmental awareness

* noise pollution and environmental injustice

* silence as extinction

* nature writing / nature singing

* popular / classical / sacred music and ecology

* Music as environmental ‘bandaid’

* auditory perception, biosemiotics and extra-human acoustic ecologies

* capturing sound / unsound practices

The conference is to be held at the School of Architecture at Inveresk. This is the site of the Academy for the Arts, and the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and it is situated on the North Esk, in Launceston, a registered ‘City for Climate Protection’. Accommodation in town is within Zimmer frame walking distance from the venue.

Submission deadline is 15 July 2010. Abstracts (for a 20-minute paper) should be no more than 250 words and should state IT requirements. Registration information, venue and accommodation details will be posted to the ASLEC-ANZ website at the end of May. In the meantime questions and abstracts should be directed to


dimanche 18 avril 2010

Parution: The Literature of Australia

Dear blog readers,

I have the pleasure to introduce you to this new anthology of Australian writing which I am currently reviewing. It is to be hoped that all readers will find this gem, expertly edited by Nicholas Jose, a useful introduction to discover more Australian literary texts and turn to more critical material discussing works of fiction. JFV.

“Unprecedented in the breadth of what it offers from both the ancient and the recent literature of my country.”—Thomas Keneally, from the foreword

The Literature of Australia

General Editor: Nicholas Jose

The result of a collaboration between Sydney’s Macquarie University and International PEN Sydney Centre, and funded by the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australian Research Council, The Literature of Australia gathers the most distinctive and most significant of the nation’s writing. Highlights include:

* Coverage of over two hundred years of literature in all genres, from the 1700s to the present, and over 500 entries from 307 different authors, including writing by Aboriginal authors from the early colonial period to the present.

* Work from contemporary authors of international renown, including Shirley Hazzard, Peter Carey, David Malouf, Les Murray, Alexis Wright, and Kate Grenville.

* Biographical details about the authors of the works selected, an introductory essay, major essays setting the works in their historical context, and suggestions for further reading.

The Literature of Australia offers readers of all kinds a window into the myriad ways of being Australian.

To find out more about the anthology or request an exam copy, click here to locate your Norton representative.

“[An] impressive anthology....Care has been taken to ensure a flow from one extract to another; the text also lends itself to being dipped into, an experience that will almost certainly bring the reader both entertainment and an understanding of the many facets of Australia's culture.” — Library Journal

Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-07261-7
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-393-93466-3

lundi 12 avril 2010

British Australian Studies Association journal relaunch

Australian Studies, the journal of the British Australian Studies Association, has been in abeyance for a couple of years. Recently it has been relaunched under the aegis of the National Library of Australia.

Like JASAL, this journal can be freely accessed online. And this is great news for any scholar located outside Australia who might not be able to find Australiana material quite easily.

To view its current issue, click here:

You will note that many of the contributors are early career researchers. I hope the Editors will also publish reviews in a near future.

Click n enjoy the read!


Announcing the shortlist for Australia's premier essay prize

Australian Book Review is pleased to announce that seven essays have been
shortlisted for this year's Calibre Prize for an Outstanding Essay.
Calibre is sponsored by Copyright Agency Limited's Cultural Fund. The winner
will receive $10,000.

Lindsay Barrett: 'The Shadow on the Steps'
Janene Carey: 'Retreat to the Castle'
Eleanor Collins: 'Ill-Timed Remarks: A Pathographical Essay'
Lorna Hallahan: 'On Being Odd'
David Hansen: 'Seeing Truganini'
Colin Nettelbeck: 'Kneecapper: A Trip to Happiness'
Jessica White: 'Hearing in Other Ways'

The winner will be announced at the conclusion of a day-long symposium on
the art of essay writing to be held at the National Library of Australia on
Friday, April 30.
Robert Dessaix is the keynote speaker. The five previous Calibre winners
will all speak: Kevin Brophy, Jane Goodall, Elisabeth Holdsworth, Rachel
Robertson and
Mark Tredinnick.

This is a free event, but bookings are essential: (02) 6262 1271 or


The Calibre Prize, created in 2007, has quickly established itself as
Australia's major prize for an original essay, generating brilliant new
essays and fresh insights into culture, society and the human condition.

'No other publication for a wide readership provides a venue for writing of
such length, style, sophistication and personal inflection.'
Professor Nicholas Jose

For more information, please contact:
Peter Rose, Editor

vendredi 9 avril 2010

ABR Short Story Competition

To complement our suite of literary competitions, Australian Book Review is presenting the ABR Short Story Competition, with a first prize of $2000.

There are two other prizes.

All three prize-winning stories will be published in the magazine.

Stories in English of between 1000 and 3000 words are eligible, as long as they have not been previously published and are not on offer elsewhere. Multiple entries are acceptable.
The closing date is May 10.

ABR Short Story Competition

First Prize: $2000
Second Prize: $500
Third Prize: three-year subscription to ABR

or by request: (03) 9429 6700 (03) 9429 6700.
ABR now publishes short fiction.

We welcome submissions from authors.

mercredi 7 avril 2010

Creative Writing and its Contexts: A Symposium for Dennis Haskell

Hosted by the Westerly Centre and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature

17-18 February, 2011, University of Western Australia

Creative Writing and its Contexts is a symposium convened by the Westerly Centre and ASAL to honour the many-sided achievement of Dennis Haskell, poet, editor, teacher, scholar and administrator. Dennis’s work has been directed to the promotion of literature in the university and schools, in a variety of public fora and media, in Australia and beyond. Creative Writing and its Contexts is therefore conceived as an opportunity to discuss the place of literature in contemporary culture, the institutions that support creative writing and reading, the relationships between Australian literature and other national literatures, particularly in Asia. The organisers hope that Creative Writing and its Contexts will be an occasion of lively debate, creative energy and humour. For this reason proposals for contributions in a variety of forms are encouraged, including papers, poems, and memoirs.

Contributions are sought on any of the areas in which Dennis Haskell has worked, including

· Creative writing and the study of literature
· Australian and Asian literary interactions
· The role of institutional support for writers and writing
· Literary and scholarly publishing
· The place of the humanities in the modern university
· The writing and reading of poetry
· Teaching creative writing

The symposium will begin on the evening of Thursday 17 February with a special event.

Anyone interested in attending or being involved should contact Philip Mead ( or Delys Bird ( by email by 1 June 2010.

Chantiers australiens : du totémisme aux nouvelles technologies

le Mardi 13 avril 2010
Musée du quai Branly, Salle de cours 2, 10h-14h

10.00 - 12.00
"Mémoire coloniale et historicité dans la peinture kija du Kimberley Oriental"
Arnaud Morvan (doctorant EHESS/Université de Melbourne).
Discutante: Françoise Zonabend (directrice d'études à l'EHESS)

La communication décrit les trajectoires interculturelles de plusieurs peintures et performances d’artistes aborigènes de langue kija, en particulier Paddy Nyunkuny Bedford (1922-2007) et Lena Nyadbi (1936-), des oeuvres dont le contenu historique et biographique met en lumière une histoire souterraine de la colonisation du Kimberley depuis le XIXème
siècle. La recherche conjugue deux tendances récentes de l’anthropologie de l’art: les approches de Myers et Thomas centrées sur la circulation interculturelle des objets et une analyse en termes de processus et d’intentionnalité (agency) des oeuvres d’art, développée à partir de Gell. Un corpus d’une quinzaine de peintures contemporaines kija (réalisées entre 1983-2008 par six artistes de l’école de Warmun) sera analysé au regard de trois performances rituelles (de type joonba et balga) observées pendant plusieurs enquêtes de terrain en Australie entre 2005 et 2008. Ce matériel permet de mettre en évidence la manière dont les artistes utilisent les peintures et les performances pour inscrire des événements historiques à la fois dans les objets, les corps et les paysages, formant une mémoire ancrée géographiquement. Ce processus de « mémorialisation » rituelle du paysage, actualisé par les peintures, reflète le passé colonial de la région et son impact dans l’espace (urbanisation, exploitation des ressources naturelles et humaines, conflits de frontières, massacres des populations locales).

12.00 - 14.00
"'In the best interests of the Aboriginal child': Configuring relationships between past and present Aboriginal child removals"
Tiffany McComsey (PhD Candidate, University of Manchester UK)

The welfare of Indigenous children in western settler nations has been, and continues to be, a focus of state intervention. In Australia past Aboriginal child removals have become central to public debates concerning state provision of welfare services to Aboriginal children, families and communities. The term ‘Stolen Generations’ refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were removed from their families and communities as a result of Indigenous child removal policies, dating from 1910 through the 1970s. The politicised debate over past Aboriginal child removals and the focus on an apology and compensation to those who were removed has inhibited understanding relationships between past Aboriginal child removals and contemporary Aboriginal child removals. While past Indigenous child removals are acknowledged as having significantly affected Aboriginal families and communities throughout Australia, the intergenerational legacies of removals – how to address them and by what means – either through Aboriginal and or non-Indigenous approaches – is less cogent. This paper seeks to explore how some of the intergenerational experiences of past Aboriginal child welfare policies, specifically the removal of Aboriginal children from their families and communities, are interrelated with contemporary Aboriginal child welfare practices. This analysis is based on fieldwork with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal NGOs working in the field of Aboriginal child welfare in the Aboriginal community of Redfern, an inner city suburb of Sydney.

Séminaire animé par Barbara Glowczewski (DR CNRS, LAS)
et Jessica De Largy Healy (Chercheuse affiliée au LAS)

Contacts : et

jeudi 1 avril 2010

In the spotlights: Antoni Jach

©Tom Alberts, « Study of Antoni Jach”, 2009.


Antoni Jach est en ce moment sous les feux de l’actualité.

En 2008, j’avais déjà mené un entretien avec lui pour Antipodes :

“‘An intelligent conversation of a structured kind’ with Antoni Jach”, Antipodes: A North American Journal of Australian Literature 22: 1, June 2008, 56-62.

Entretien réédité dans Etchings 5, Melbourne, août 2008, 30-46.

Un ami peintre, Tom Alberts, a fait son portrait (ci-dessus). A noter que j’exposerai lors d’une présentation PowerPoint quelques unes des peintures de Alberts lors de ma conférence cette année au Centre Culturel Tjibaou le 24 juin 2010, à 18h15, conférence intitulée « Le roman sur le divan, c’est passionnant ! Le traitement de la psychanalyse dans la littérature australienne».
Vous trouverez plus de renseignements sur cet auteur et son oeuvre romanesque dans le dernier chapitre de Panorama du roman australien des origines à nos jours.

« Rivalisant d’audace, Antoni Jach expérimenta avec le roman pour savoir si l’écrivain parviendrait à divertir en évoquant l’ennui. Ce Melbournien d’ascendance polonaise fit du tedium vitae le sujet principal son premier roman, une véritable gageure pour tout écrivain qui n’est pas sans savoir qu’action bien menée rime avec roman à grand succès. Publié au moment même où le débat républicain était remis au goût du jour en Australie et avant que le référendum de 1998 ne confirme le rattachement des Australiens à la couronne britannique, The Weekly Card Game (1994) explore la dynamique entre l’immuabilité et la volonté de changement sur fond d’étude sociologique de l’Australie. Tout commença il y a quinze ans lorsque ….. »

Extrait de Panorama du roman australien des origines à nos jours. Collection Savoirs Lettres créée par Michel Foucault, puis dirigée par Arthur Cohen et Patrick Née, Paris: Hermann, 2009, 250 pp.


Pour les Anglophones, j’ai aussi rédigé le premier article de fond sur son premier roman The Weekly Card Game (1994), article consultable sur le site web de Southerly, la doyenne des revues littéraires australiennes.

Pour en revenir à l'actualité, Antoni Jach est peintre lui-même et une de ses œuvres fera la couverture de la très célèbre revue savante internationale Antipodes: A North American Journal of Australian Literature sous la direction de Nicholas Birns. Un de ses essais sur la représentation picturale des incendies sera aussi publié dans ce numéro de juin 2010.

A bientôt pour une autre fiche auteur.