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The “Missing Link”

Space, Race, and Transoceanic Ties in the Settler-Colonial Pacific

Frances Steel

The inauguration of a steamship route between Canada and Australia, described as the “missing link,” was envisaged to complete Britain's imperial circuit of the globe. This article examines the early proposals and projects for a service between Vancouver and Sydney, which finally commenced in 1893. The route was more than a means of physically bridging the gulf between Canada and Australia. Serving as a conduit for ideologies and expectations, it became a key element of aspirations to reconfigure the Pacific as a natural domain for the extension of settler-colonial power and influence. In centering the “white” Pacific and relations between white colonies in empire, the route's early history, although one of friction and contestation, offers new insights into settler-colonial mobilities beyond dominant themes of metropole–colony migration.

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Nowhere to Go, Nothing to Do

Place, Desire, and Country Girlhood

Catherine Driscoll

This article explores the figure of the bored country girl that appears widely in popular culture but also in girls studies and rural studies through ethnographic research in Australian country towns. While the presumption that country girls lack resources and opportunities for entertainment and leisure is in many ways empirically valid, this problem's articulation in girls' lives also offers an important perspective from which to ask what boredom and cultural needs mean, relative to each other, for both rural studies and girls studies. This article suggests that girlhood's relation to policy discourse and urbanized modernity can be productively reconsidered through the lived experience of country girls.

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Beyond Blank Spaces

Five Tracks to Late Nineteenth-Century Beltana

Samia Khatun

From the 1860s, the colonial settlement of Beltana in the northern deserts of South Australia emerged as a transportation hub atop an existing, cosmopolitan center of Aboriginal trade. Viewing a colonial settlement on Kuyani land through a mobilities paradigm, this article examines intersecting settler and Aboriginal trajectories of movement through Beltana, illuminating their complex entanglements. Challenging the imperial myth of emptiness that shaped how Europeans saw the lands they invaded, this article renders visible the multiple imaginative geographies that existed at every colonial settlement. Examining mobility along Kuyani and Wangkangurru tracks alongside British mobilities, this article makes a methodological argument for writing multiaxial histories of settler colonialism.

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Kingsley Garbett

On 4 July 2003, a one-day “Cultural Research and Refugee Studies” workshop was held in Sydney. Greg Gow and Amanda Wise organized the workshop, a cooperative venture between the cultural research centers of the University of Western Sydney and the Australian National University. It brought together a large group of researchers, practitioners, and community representatives to exchange ideas about cultural research among refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. The three articles that follow, by Gow, Wise, and Glazebrook, present a particular perspective on the methodology of studying and analyzing refugee behavior in Cultural Studies, stressing the significance of considering the emotive and affective aspects of their status and position. Wise’s material considers East Timorese refugees, many of whom now have residence in Australia, while Gow and Glazebrook examine more recent refugees and asylum seekers from Iraq and Central Afghanistan, respectively, many of whom still have uncertain futures. Comments from a panel discussion by Khalid Koser, Pnina Werbner, and Ien Ang complete this thematic section.

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Making Friends of the Nations

Australian Interwar Magazines and Middlebrow Orientalism in the Pacific

Victoria Kuttainen and Sarah Galletly

As travel began to massify in the aftermath of the Great War when passenger ships still regularly stopped at ports of call, and as Australia developed a sub-imperial relationship to its near Melanesian neighbors in Papua and New Guinea, the Pacific and its islands loomed large in Australians’ consciousness and print culture. This article employs Christina Klein’s concept of “middlebrow orientalism” to examine how Australia’s quality magazines, MAN and The BP Magazine, reflected an “expansive material and symbolic investment in Asia and the Pacific” (2003: 11) between the two world wars. While development of a consumerist, leisure relationship with the region is in evidence in these magazines that undoubtedly assume the superiority of White Australia, we argue they also promote diversity, inclusiveness, and an emerging maturity in outlook that conveyed the way in which Australians began to understand themselves as Pacific citizens wishing to “make friends of the nations.”

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The Australian Society of the State

Egalitarian Ideologies and New Directions in Exclusionary Practice

Bruce Kapferer and Barry Morris

This article considers the broad historical and ideological processes that participate in forming the continuities and discontinuities of Australian egalitarian nationalism. We draw attention to its forma- tion and re-formation in the debates surrounding the so-called Han- son phenomenon. Hansonism refracts the crisis of what we regard as the Australian society of the state in the circumstances of the devel- opment of neoliberal policies and the more recent neoconservative turn of the current Howard government. Our argument is directed to exploring the contradictions and tensions in Australian egalitarian thought and practice and its thoroughgoing creative reengagement in contemporary postcolonial and postmodern Australia.

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Frances Steel

This comment reflects on the contributions to this special section on print culture and mobility in the Pacific. It focuses on the ways in which changing attitudes toward ocean-going mobility and its mass commercialisation in the fi rst half of the twentieth century encouraged new textual and visual forms of appraisal and representation of the Pacific. This, in turn, facilitated the fashioning of new mobile subjectivities, which illuminate a range of gendered and racialized aspirations being projected into the Pacific region from the white settler states around its rim. Together, the articles suggest avenues for further research on the impact of shipboard and island port encounters on forms of Australian self-presentation and engagement in the region.

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Veronica Strang

Environmental management in Australia has recently shifted away from local rural communities into the hands of largely urban environmental and government agencies, sparking an intensifying contest for the control of land and resources between geographically and socially stable communities and more mobile translocal groups. There are major disjunctions between the conceptual models promulgated in this contest. Highly specific, holistic, and integrative cultural paradigms of human-environmental interaction vie with an increasingly dominant technomanagerial environmental model emerging from global discourses and knowledge practices. Categorizing "Nature" as a separate, nonhuman domain, this more cosmopolitan approach fails, intellectually and practically, to integrate social and cultural issues into environmental management. Nevertheless, its proponents are provided with increasing authority by their relationships with wider agencies of governance. Building on long-term ethnographic research in Far North Queensland, this paper explores how local and cosmopolitan environmentalisms are contested in a particular ethnographic context.

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The ABCs of Autism

Aspects of Maternal Pedagogy in Australia

Rozanna Lilley

The field of autism interventions, as well as advice given to parents on educating children with autism spectrum disorders, is characterized by competing claims and controversy. This article compares two events targeted at parents, both of which were staged on the same weekend in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. One centered on applied behavioral analysis, holding out the promise of potential normalization for children with autism and their families. The other, mobilizing civil rights rhetoric, pushed for the full educational inclusion of all children with disabilities. This article investigates the assumptions underlying these varied positions and assesses some of the ways in which parents, especially mothers, make sense of and situationally negotiate these often emotionally charged claims and counter-claims.

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David S. Trigger and Lesley Head

How are preferences for “native” and “introduced” species of plants and animals given expression in Australian cities? Given the nation's predominantly European cultural heritage, how do urban Australians articulate multiple desires for living environments encountered in everyday life? In examining the cases of inner city parks, backyards, and more general views about flora and fauna appropriate for the city, the paper considers a range of deeply enculturated attachments to familiar landscapes. While residents have considerable interest in the possibilities of urban ecological restoration, our interviews, ethnographic observation, and textual analysis also reveal cultural preferences for introduced species and emplaced attachments to historically modified landscapes. These preferences and attachments are linked to senses of identity developed during formative life experiences. In the relatively young post-settler society of Australia, such drivers of environmental desires can sit uneasily alongside science-driven propositions about what is good for biodiversity and ecological sustainability.