2005 South Australia State Report

We’ve been very fortunate to have held two excellent conferences here in Adelaide, South Australia in 2005; these conferences testify to the excellent work being done by scholars within SA and those visiting SA working in the broad discipline of Australian literary studies.

In July 2005 Flinders University convened the ASAL conference at the Art Gallery and the State Library of South Australia. The conference was convened by Professor Susan Sheridan with support from Dr Philip Butterss, Dr Giselle Bastin, Dr Kate Douglas, Dr Shannon Dowling, and Dr Rick Hosking. The theme of the conference was ?Writing Across Cultures: Fiction. History, Memory.? Keynote speakers were Professor Sneja Gunew from the University of British Columbia and Associate Professor Gail Jones from the University of Western Australia. Both speakers gave inspiring papers: Gunew talked on ?The Australian Affect?, exploring the complexities of teaching Australia and its national culture to Canadian students; Jones’s paper was a mediation on ?writing across?: of re-imagining critical paradigms for thinking about fiction, memory and history in Australia cultural and literary studies.

One of the standout sessions at the conference was the ?Futures? panel which focused on some of the key issues and trends affecting postgraduates and early-career researchers. Panelists Richard Nile, Kate Douglas, Ken Gelder, Anne Brewster and Victoria Kuttainen created a lively environment for a productive discussion of career opportunities, alternative PhDs and publishing.

Overall the scope of papers at ASAL provided evidence of the broad range of projects currently being undertaken in the field of Australian literary studies. The topics covered included: revisions of literary theory, fiction and non-fictional re-writings of Australian identities, the position of Australian literary studies outside of Australia, reflections on alternative media in Australia, and the significance of cultural memory and commemorative sites in constructing Australian identities. It is exciting to consider how the discipline is expanding to become more inclusive of non-traditional projects. ASAL would like to thanks those who offered papers, chaired sessions and came along to listen and participate in the discussion.

The Centre for Research into New Literatures in English (CRNLE) at Flinders University held its annual conference in Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island, from Sunday 11th December – Wednesday 14th December, 2005. The theme for the conference was ??Something Rich and Strange’: Interdisciplinary Studies of the Beach, The Sea and Contact Exploring Cultural Landscapes, Identities and Heritage?.

The conference had an excellent turnout and was characterised by high-quality (and well-attended) papers and sessions by local, interstate and international speakers, both academic and postgraduate. Highlights included papers by Richard White, Helen Tiffin, Stephen Muecke, Brian Matthews, John McLaren, Sue Sheridan, Christine Nicholls and Kirpal Singh, as well as a joint paper by Anna Johnson and Ralph Crane. Most of the papers pursued an interest in Australian literary, cultural and historical studies.

The conference continued its highly successful tradition of the ?Music and Poetry? night on Monday, which invited delegates as well as Kangaroo Island locals to the community hall for performances and tastings of Wirra Wirra wines. The audience was treated to readings by the Friends of Kangaroo Island Writers’ Group as well as very fine music by Peter Doley and Peter Manthorpe. The event was compered by Paul Sutton and Michael X. Savvas.

All delegates and visitors enjoyed the conference immensely and keenly look forward to another CRNLE conference this year. (No penguins were harmed in the course of the proceedings!).

Kate Douglas and Chad Habel.