Tue 2 Sep 2014
Tuesday 23 September 2014, 6pm – 7pm, Gryphon Gallery, 1888 Building,
The University of Melbourne
Suburbia has functioned for cultural critics as a provincial, materially aspirational, middle-class other against which an emerging cosmopolitan selfhood is defined. Critics of suburbia have in turn been accused of an elitist, now discredited kind of cosmopolitanism, one that’s been superseded by critical models of cosmopolitanism. If the global is internal to the local in a process defined by Ulrich Beck as ‘cosmopolitanization’ (2002) then suburbs are its prime sites, zones in which local and global interpenetrate. Suburbs are engines of ‘cosmopolitanization’. What does this mean for Australian literary suburbia? I will suggest that novels of the suburbs produce dialogic imaginings of here and there, past and present, local and global against the grain of their anti-suburbanism. Drawing from Vilashini Cooppan, we can ‘skin the map’ of literary suburbia by attending to narrative instability, to movement and memory, and to the forms in which the novel encodes and reimagines suburban place and time.
Brigid Rooney is a senior lecturer in Australian Literature at the University of Sydney. She is author of Literary Activists: Writer-Intellectuals and Australian Public Life (UQP, 2009) and co-editor with Robert Dixon of Scenes of Reading: Is Australian Literature a World Literature? (ASP 2013). She is currently working on a book project entitled ‘The Novel and the Suburb in Australia: 1901 to the present’.
This free public lecture by Brigid Rooney will be held in conjunction with The View From Above postgraduate and early career researcher conference at the University of Melbourne.
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