Many ASAL members and delegates at last week’s annual conference signed the statement put together by our keynote Suvendrini Perera and Joseph Pugliese. Others missed out but indicated they were keen to sign. If you are interested, please see Suvendi’s message:

Dear Colleagues,

Some of you would have seen the statement on asylum policy issued by a group of international academics last week:

The signatures were collected over a few hours, with scores more pouring in after the deadline. We have received a number of calls for follow up, and have therefore decided to send the statement with an accompanying letter to the PM and Immigration Minister.
If you would like your name to be included in this document, could you let us know before Tuesday, July 22? We would also appreciate it if you could circulate the statement to others who might want to sign.
Thank you for your support and solidarity.


Award-winning Victorian writer Liam Davison (1957-2014) and his wife Frankie were passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which was shot down over the Ukraine near the Russian border on July 17th. The Davisons were returning home to Melbourne from Europe. Liam Davison was born in Melbourne and educated at St. Bede’s College and Melbourne Teacher’s College. He lived with his family at Mt. Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula, which features prominently in his fiction.

Davison is the author of five novels, The Velodrome (1988), Soundings (1993), The White Woman (1994), The Betrayal (1999) and Florilegium (2001); two collections of short fiction, The Shipwreck Party (1988) and Collected Stories (2001); and The Spirit of Rural Australia (1999), a collaboration with photographer Jim Conquest. In 1983, Davison won The Canberra Times National Short Story Competition Pat Rappolt Prize for Writers Under 25, and his first novel, The Velodrome, was shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel award in 1987. Soundings won the National Book Council Banjo Award for Fiction in 1993, while Soundings and The White Woman were shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Award and The Age Book of the Year Award. Davison won the James Joyce Foundation Suspended Sentence Award in 1999. He was also the recipient of grants from the Australia Council and a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship.

Davison was one of Australia’s finest and most innovative exponents of short fiction. His brilliant, innovative short stories were frequently anthologized and included in annual “best of” collections; his work appeared in The Best Australian Stories anthologies in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2012, 2011 and 2013. Davison combined the use of local and regional settings, such as outer suburbia, the semi-rural, and the landscapes of the Mornington Peninsula, Gippsland and Western Victoria, with experimental, postmodern fictional techniques that incorporated elements of magic realism (The Shipwreck Party) and a questioning and rewriting of historical narratives (The White Woman and Soundings).

Davison was also a perceptive critic and prolific reviewer, writing more than eighty book reviews for publications including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Australian Book Review and Overland. In addition to writing, Davison taught English, history and creative writing at secondary schools and colleges, including the Chisholm TAFE Institute in Frankston. Frankie Davison, a literature, history and humanities teacher, taught at Toorak College in Mt. Eliza for twenty-eight years. The Davisons are survived by their son Sam and daughter Milly. The tragic death of Liam Davison is a great loss to the Australian literary community.

Nat O’Reilly


Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 September 2014
University of Melbourne

Deadline for abstracts extended until Sunday 20 July 2014. Keynote speakers: Professor John M. Ganim, University of California, Riverside, on medieval cosmopolitanism and Dr. Brigid Rooney, University of Sydney, on cosmopolitan suburbia.

‘Cosmopolitanism’ connotes a dynamic, eclectic and sophisticated cultural sphere, one that transcends borders and national differences.  Although the term is an ancient one, deriving from the Greek word kosmopolitês, its meaning has never been stable.  The notion of the cosmopolitan is glamorous and in some respects elitist, suggesting a ‘luxuriously free-floating view from above’ (Bruce Robbins, Cosmopolitics, 1998).  At the same time, it has utopian connotations of pluralism and universality.

In the last decade or so, discourses of cosmopolitanism have experienced a resurgence.  The term is increasingly associated with multiculturalism, diasporic culture and the impact of globalisation.  Critics have advocated new forms of ‘rooted’, ‘vernacular’, postcolonial and even ‘refugee’ cosmopolitanism, in an attempt to break away from Eurocentric canons and outmoded nation-based identity politics.  But do these new accounts of cosmopolitanism resolve the tension between its egalitarian and elitist impulses?  Are aspirations to cosmopolitanism still, as Simon Gikandi suggests, ‘an essential mark of bourgeois identity and privilege’?

This conference invites participants to explore cosmopolitanism, both as a utopian project and as an object of critique. While the focus of the conference is on literature and literary criticism, we welcome papers addressing theatre, the visual arts, popular culture, translation and other forms of cultural expression in either contemporary or historical settings.  We also strongly encourage contributions from creative writers.  Presenters may choose to focus on Australian cosmopolitanisms or address broader categories such as the postcolonial or the transnational.

Topics for discussion might include:
- old and new cosmopolitanisms (including the influence of classical, medieval and early modern texts on more recent understandings of the cosmopolitan)
- cosmopolitan sensibilities in colonial, postcolonial and diasporic literatures
- cosmopolitanism and class - cosmopolitanism and the metropolitan/regional
- feminist engagements with cosmopolitanism
- cosmopolitanism and sexuality
- cosmopolitanism, advertising, popular culture and everyday life
- transnationalism and globalisation, parochialism and provinciality
- cosmopolitan readerships and polities; the role of translation
- creative practice and the cosmopolitan - the text as a cosmopolitan space
- utopianism and cosmopolitan futures
The convenors welcome abstracts from postgraduate and early career researchers working in any field of the humanities, particularly literary studies, creative writing, theatre studies, history (including art history), cultural studies and translation studies.

For further details, please visit the conference website:

and submit your abstract to: by Sunday 20 July.

Supported by the Faculty of Arts, the School of Culture and Communication and the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne, the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (Melbourne), the Association for the Study of Australian Literature and Deakin University.


The Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University was established through a grant by the Australian Government, in recognition of the American Bicentenary, to further American understanding of Australia. Over the past 35 years, the Chair has been occupied by some of Australia’s most outstanding intellectuals. In 2010 the Chair was renamed in recognition of the two prime ministers who, from opposite sides of politics, negotiated and endowed this important initiative.

The Australian Nominating Committee will shortly meet to consider nominations to be sent to Harvard University as possible occupants of the Chair during the American 2016–2017 academic year. The final appointment will be made by the Australian Studies Committee at Harvard in consultation with the appropriate Harvard School or Department. The Committee seeks expressions of interest from persons wishing to be nominated. It encourages the interest of outstanding Australians in mid-career as well as those further advanced. It encourages applications from women. The appointee will normally be expected to be at Harvard for a full academic year. Generous funding is available to support a conference or colloquium in the appointee’s field. The Committee reserves the right to invite particular persons to accept nomination. Persons wishing to be considered should provide a curriculum vitae, a list of three referees and a summary outline of a course to be given at Harvard.

In principle, no field of interest is excluded, though the relevance to Australian studies is vital. It is not essential that the persons wishing to be considered are academics, and the Committee is keen to encourage an Australia-wide interest in the Chair. Expressions of interest with relevant documentation, and enquiries about the position, should be addressed to Professor Stuart Macintyre, Chair Australian Nominating Committee, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, VIC, 3010 (, not later than Friday 15 August 2014.

For further information see:

Vol. 14 No. 1: DisLocated Readings: Translation and Transnationalism

Featuring articles by Adele D’Arcangelo, Colleen Smee, Amelberga Astuti, Anna Gadd, Jean Page, Jessica Trevitt, Natasa Kampmark, and Leah Gerber.

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