By Graham Huggan
The Oxford reports in Postcolonial Literatures sequence deals stimulating and obtainable introductions to definitive issues and key genres and areas in the speedily diversifying box of postcolonial literary experiences in English. In a provocative contribution to the sequence, Graham Huggan provides clean readings of a great, occasionally deeply unsettling nationwide literature whose writers and readers simply as unmistakably belong to the broader global. Australian literature isn't the designated province of Australian readers and critics; neither is its particular activity to supply an inner remark on altering nationwide issues. Huggan's publication adopts a transnational process, encouraged by means of postcolonial pursuits, within which modern rules taken from postcolonial feedback and demanding race conception are productively mixed and imaginatively remodeled. Rejecting the modern view that Australia isn't, and that Australian literature, like different settler literatures, calls for shut recognition to postcolonial equipment and issues. A postcolonial method of Australian literature, he indicates, is greater than only a case for a extra inclusive nationalism; it additionally comprises a basic acknowledgement of the nation's replaced dating to an more and more globalized international. As such, the ebook is helping to deprovincialize Australian literary stories. Australian Literature additionally contributes to debates in regards to the carrying on with heritage of racism in Australia-a historical past within which the nation's literature has performed a constitutive function, as either product and manufacturer of racial tensions and anxieties, nowhere extra obvious than within the discourse it has produced approximately race, either inside of and past the nationwide context.
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Extra resources for Australian Literature: Postcolonialism, Racism, Transnationalism
As might be expected, the model has been a goldmine for a variety of poststructuralist critics, who have used it to posit a ﬂexible crosscultural alternative to the nationalist/anti-nationalist dichotomies that had so often structured critical discussions of Australian and other . Australian Literature, Race, and the Politics of Location settler literatures in the past (Arthur 1988; Huggan 1994). However, more speciﬁcally materialist and/or historicist critics have also tended to be suspicious of the self-heroicizing view of an Australian ‘resistance literature’ (Slemon 1991) struggling to free itself from its European conceptual legacy, and locked in a permanently combative relationship with the nation’s colonial past.
Koch’s internationalism thus always risks being undercut by a reactionary form of cultural insiderism, as in his ﬁrm belief that Australian literature is ‘usually . . best understood by Australian readers and critics’ (102); his clear sense of himself as writing ﬁrst and foremost for an Australian audience; and his default view that ‘[a] writer can’t ﬁnally escape his own country’ (103). I am not trying to claim here that Koch’s views are representative, rather that they indicate a recurring anxiety about the location and associative reach of Australian literature that arguably runs through the entire history of Australian literary studies, persisting up to the present day.
The 1970s, in particular, saw the institution of multicultural policies, some recognition of indigenous land rights, and the relaxation of restrictions on non-European migration. A. T. Yarwood and M. J. Knowling optimistically see this as evidence of ‘racism in retreat’, and of the government-sponsored attempt to liberalize thinking towards Aborigines and other non-European peoples (Yarwood and Knowling 1982). More recent commentators such as Andrew Markus tend to see it differently. 2 But he sees these gains as having been undermined, if not overturned, by mid-1990s policies connected back to earlier, unashamedly race-based, nationalisms and brought into alignment with the contradictory ideals of modern economic-rationalist thought.
Australian Literature: Postcolonialism, Racism, Transnationalism by Graham Huggan