19 September 2007

RESEARCH WORKSHOP - Asian/Australian Values: New Directions in Australian Literature (U of Wollongong; 22-23 Nov 2007)

A discourse of ‘values’ (national values, cultural values, regional values) has emerged in parts of Asia, and more recently in Australia, generally as a means of affirming particular notions of identity as normative. It is timely to refocus on Australian literature involving Asian connections (writing by Australians of Asian background, Australian writing about Asia and Asians), and to consider the transformation, and clash, of values resulting from cross-cultural encounters.

The workshop invites participants to assess the current state of Asian-Australian writing. Much scholarly attention was devoted to Australian fiction about Asia when it was a relatively new phenomenon in the 1970s-80s. Creative writing by Asian Australians took centre stage in the 1990s, and research, conferences, and publications proliferated. What is the current situation? Is more, or less, being published in these categories? Who are the new writers, readers, scholars, and publishers? Is the work taking new forms and reaching new audiences? To what extent has it been displaced by the wave of writing and publishing about the Middle East, Muslims, terrorists, and refugees?

The aim of the workshop is to gather knowledge from the field about the current condition of Australian literature involving Asian connections and to examine it in relation to different notions of value. Panel members may address the topic within global or theoretical contexts, may speculate on implications for the category of Australian Literature (‘Ozlit’), for Australian cultural diplomacy, or offer views on future directions for creative and scholarly work. They may also consider the challenges for pedagogic practice, in particular for the teaching of Australian literature to Asian students.

It is expected that the workshop will result in the publication of an edited collection of essays.

This event is hosted by the Centre for Asia-Pacific Social Transformation Studies (CAPSTRANS). For more information, contact Wenche Ommundsen (wenche@uow.edu.au).