[csaa-forum] Seminar at UNSW - 'Islands and the "World" of Literature', Elizabeth McMahon

Collin Chua c.chua at unsw.edu.au
Thu Oct 12 07:38:15 ACST 2017

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Islands and the 'World' of Literature

When Tuesday 17 October, 5pm - 6.30pm
Where Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building, UNSW Sydney

Oceania is largely absent from maps of World Literature and its shifting canons. The literatures of Oceania are not widely circulated in the ‘World’, as imagined by literary-humanist idealism or exploited by global markets. This seminar considers this invisibility in the context of the rising Pacific Ocean that threatens the existence of Oceania’s islands, particularly the island-atolls, into the future.

The seminar examines literature’s role in the construction of a range of maps that reimagine regional relationality: It follows Pacific historian Donald Denoon to consider the possible utility of reviving regional colonial networks, such as ‘Australasia’. Problematic as this is, indeed precisely because its evident flaws prohibit idealisation, re-membering these connections may disrupt the insularity of the powerful nations in the region, particularly Australia. It may also uncover literary, aesthetic connections lost in the cartographies of nation states.

This colonial map can be also overlaid and described with alternative models of Oceania’s regional relationality, as we find in the spoken-word poetry of Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. The seminar examines her poetic performance at the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Summit through the lens of classical rhetoric, to identify its holographic alternation between presence and invisibility to her 'World' audience.

Elizabeth McMahon is Associate Professor in the School of the Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales. Her research interests are in Australian literature, Island Studies and Gender studies. Her recent monograph, Islands, Identity and the Literary Imagination (New York and London: Anthem, 2016) is the culmination of research funded by an ARC Discovery grant titled Our Island Home: The Shifting Map of Australian Literature.


Enquiries contact:
SAM Seminar Convenor, Collin Chua – c.chua at unsw.edu.au<mailto:c.chua at unsw.edu.au>

Visit the event page for more information.
Bookings not required.<https://sam.arts.unsw.edu.au/events/sam-seminar-islands-and-the-world-of-literature/?mc_cid=dcb01d9d0d&mc_eid=[UNIQID]>

Finding us
Robert Webster Building is located mid-way off the UNSW main walkway. Map Reference G14. Cinema 327 is located on the third floor. More information on getting to UNSW.<http://www.facilities.unsw.edu.au/getting-uni?mc_cid=dcb01d9d0d&mc_eid=[UNIQID]>





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