2004 Tasmania State Report

Tasmania continues to be the focus of controversy over settings for literary fiction. Tim Herbert’s article, “The Van Diemenising of Tasmania: Can the Apple Isle hold out against those who’d make it Australia’s favourite narrative site?” in The Australian Author 34.2 (August 2002): 18-23, summarises and analyses recent debates and controversies over Julia Leigh’s The Hunter, Chloe Hooper’s A Child’s Book of True Crime and Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish and their representations of Tasmanian history and landscape. Herbert’s article relies on stimulating interview material from Amanda Lohrey.

Other controversies in the State centre on the arts festival 10 Days on the Island, and its acceptance of sponsorship from Tasmanian forest industries that continue to log old-growth forests. Richard Flanagan withdrew his Commonwealth Literary prize winning novel Gould’s Book of Fish from the Pacific Region Fiction Prize in 2003, a major event on the Festival program. Tim Winton also withdrew his Booker Prize short-listed Dirt Music from the same prize. Danielle Wood, a Tasmanian writer and winner of the 2002 Vogel Young Writers’ Award also protested against the forestry sponsorship by not taking part in the festival. Richard Flanagan has been criticised by the Tasmanian government for publishing an article in April 2004, in The Guardian, that was critical of old-growth logging.

The Colonialism and Its Afternath research cluster, co-ordinated and administered from the School of English, Journalism and European Languages at the Univeristy of Tasmania, continues to draw together literary, historical and inter-disciplinary scholars from around the state for important collaborative work, including one-day conferences, research field trips, ARC Linkage Grant applications and seminar presentations of research in progress. The 2004 conference is to be held from 23-25 June at the University of Tasmania.

This conference will consider colonialism and its aftermath in a wide variety of forms.

Papers on the following topics will be featured at the conference.
*Colonialism’s culture and its postcolonial aftermath
*Imperial networks of influence, ideas, and individuals
*Colonial anthropology and its aftermath
*Ecology and environment in colonial and postcolonial contexts
*Colonial and postcolonial governance
*Convictism, slavery, and human trafficking
*Histories and historiographies of empires, colonies, and colonial phenomena
*Contested histories, contested sites
*Colonial archives and their postcolonial deployment
*Colonial heritage and heritage studies
*Indigenous histories of colonialism and its aftermath
*Colonial and postcolonial cultural geographies
*Colonial cities and postcolonial architecture
*Literary representations of colonialism and postcolonialism
*Migration, diaspora, and dispersal
*Postcolonial cultural studies
*Colonial and postcolonial art and criticism

See conference site for further details.

The first issue of Lines of Flight, an online journal for the publication of research by Australian postgraduate students in the Arts and Humanities, an initiative of the research school of English, Journalism and European Languages at UTas is now available at http://www.arts.utas.edu.au/efgj/lines_of_flight/index.html. Watch this journal for exciting new work by young and new researchers from Tasmania, elsewhere in Australia and internationally. Lines of Flight is currently seeking submissions for its next edition: Peripheral Visions: Returning the Gaze. The Anti-Colonial Gaze/Eye/Lens … Looking at the Empire, Looking at the Colonies … The Empire Looks Back … The Provincial Lens … From the Outside Looking In … Visualising the Empire … Imperialism and its Visual Forms. Submission should be sent as word email attachments by 15th January, 2003 to jshipway@postoffice.utas.edu.au. (Lines of Flight uses the MLA referencing system.)