This initiative is driven by the need to interrogate the national framework ‘Australia’ and its many implications. Crucially, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture, politics, and arts have challenged Australian Studies since the 1990s, and continues to pose a series of burning questions for the nation. At the same time, in an age of postnationalism and globalisation, we find ourselves looking outwards, and asking questions about ‘depth, length, and global scope: world or planetary literature, deep time, cosmopolitanism, transnational perspectives, the Anthropocene’.[i] Yet the particular and specific also continue to hold an important place with politically-charged concepts such as devolution, localism and nationalism gaining increasing currency and informing policy. Relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people are at the heart of debates about identity and culture in Australia. As Mark McKenna noted in his recent Quarterly Essay: ‘Because our understanding of the depth and complexity of Indigenous cultures is expanding constantly, every new revelation, every new piece of research and writing – whether it be history, fiction, art, theatre, dance or song – holds out the promise of seeing this country differently.’ He implores wider Australia to ‘listen to Aboriginal voices’, as a means of overcoming an enduring sense of ‘alienation from the continent’.
This workshop addresses key questions about the intellectual relevance of ‘New Australian Studies’:
- What does Australian Studies look like from an Aboriginal perspective?
- What is ‘New Australian Studies’? What work does this national framework do within and beyond the academy – and what are its challenges?
- What is Australian Studies in an age of transnational citizenship?
- What is the future of Asian/Chinese Australian connections, given the existing preponderance of Australian Studies Centres in Asia and especially China?
- What does Australian Studies look like from a Western Australian perspective?
- What perspective do these internationally-based centres take on Australian Studies and is it different to the potential local perspective?
Workshop organised by the Institute of Advanced Studies.