dimanche 12 décembre 2010

Call for papers: ASAL 2011 Conference

Australian Literature: Field, Curriculum, Emotion

Tuesday 5th – Friday 8th July 2011 at the
University of Melbourne


In 2011 ASAL will give special attention to issues surrounding the teaching of Australian literature in schools and universities.

  • What do teachers want Australian literature to do in the classroom? What tasks do they want it to perform, and why?
  • What do students expect to learn from the Australian literature they read and study?
  • Is ‘Australian literature’ still worth teaching as a body of writing? Why?
  • What kind of ‘Australian literature’ should educators invest in?
  • What is its role in the curriculum – and in the new national curriculum?
  • What is its place in the region, and in the world?

Confirmed plenary speakers:

  • Professor John Frow, English Program, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, Australia.
  • Professor Helen Gilbert, Drama and Theatre Studies, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.

More to follow.

The conference

The conference will ask its presenters to think about Australian literature in the context of institutional practices, pedagogy, literary value, and readerships. The interest is not so much in particular readings of Australian texts, but in how those texts function in larger, constitutive frameworks and systems. Education is one constitutive system, but it is never autonomous. It unfolds in relation to other ‘regimes of value’ in society, and this will provide another focus for the conference. Australian literature is a field of inquiry (an ‘archive’), but it is also a field of struggles and disputes and controversies, a field defined through particular methods and practice, through forms of legitimation and recognition, through logics of production and circulation, genre, demographics, and so on. What can we say about the way this field operates and the ways in which it shapes what we do as teachers, scholars and readers?

ASAL 2011 recognises that teachers, students and readers make investments in literature that are, in some foundational way, emotional. The conference therefore wants to emphasise the role of the emotions in Australian literature – and in the institutions that constitute it, transmit it and make it ‘meaningful’. What kinds of emotional investments do readers – and writers - of Australian literature actually make? Processes of legitimation can themselves be emotionally underpinned; issues of value, method, pedagogy and so on are also often matters of passion and deep feeling. Disputes and controversies are important here, too. So are political readings, and what are sometimes recognised (or misrecognised) as ‘extreme’ readings of literary texts. The focus here will be on the emotional dispositions – the passions - at work in the field of Australian literature: its teaching, its circulation, its canonisation, its meanings.

Call for Papers

Abstracts are invited for submission by Tuesday 1st March 2011.

The following topics are simply suggestions for possible frameworks for conference presentations:

  • Literary demongraphics
  • Institutions of literature
  • ‘Regimes of value’
  • Categories of the ‘literary’
  • Literary production and circulation
  • Readerships
  • Reading practices: making the text meaningful
  • Methodologies
  • Genre
  • Performativity, creativity
  • Teaching practices: secondary and tertiary pedagogies
  • Canonicity, selection, legitimation
  • Literary praxis
  • National curriculum issues
  • Nation, region, world: the ‘place’ of Australian literature
  • Literature and politics, political readings
  • Extreme readings
  • The value of reading ‘emotionally’
  • Literary controversies and debates
  • Literary dispositions
  • Critical distance
  • Passion and structures of feeling
  • Love, hate, indifference: readers, texts and teachers

200 word abstracts should be sent to:
Deadline for submission of abstracts: Tuesday, 1st March 2011
More information will follow shortly in regards to; accommodation; the conference program; fees and registration and location and venues.


Please direct all enquiries to the conference email address:

Conference convenors

  • Dr Larissa McLean-Davies, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne
  • Professor Ken Gelder, English and Theatre Studies, University of Melbourne
  • Associate Professor Susan Martin, English Program, La Trobe University
  • Fiona Luck, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne

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