Volume 2, Issue 1, November 2009
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Letter from the Guest Editor
Welcome to 'Literary Migrations', a special issue of Transnational Literature. Although we are well past the heyday of literary and cultural theory, frameworks such as post-colonial studies still have enormous explanatory and analytical power when applied to contemporary problems, issues and debates. Ania Loomba and colleagues have demonstrated that 'even though we may be considered to be beyond postcolonial studies, an understanding of the origins of the field is necessary for exploring this moment of doubt, renewal and expansion for postcolonial studies'. This is certainly true in studies of literature from formerly colonised (and colonising) spaces.
This relevance of theory to practice was clearly evident in the Moving Cultures, Shifting Identities conference, held at Flinders University on 3-5 December, 2007. Delegates to this conference will have warm memories of hundreds of people attending lively and engaging sessions, many of which utilised or engaged directly with post-colonial perspectives. Since many of the papers presented at this conference have been published in a variety of outlets (including a special issue of FULGOR), it was natural that Transnational Literature act as a home for papers which pertain so directly to the journal's themes.
Despite these thematic similarities, the papers in this issue reflect the diversity of the global cultural landscape. On the one hand we have an exploration of hybrid cultural identity through the new poetry of Macau, and on the other an analysis of the reception and (re-)interpretation of foundational Conquest narratives in Latin America. Post-colonial analyses of novels traverse Singapore and India (J.G. Farrell and Amitav Ghosh) as well as the United States and Japan (Don DeLillo and Haruki Murakami). We are also privileged to read transformations of genre as two authors combine scholarly cultural analysis with creative non-fiction in telling the story of a migrant family in Australia, and the history and cultural memory of the Jewish diaspora in South Africa.
Continuing in this vein of progressive academic publishing, this issue has several pieces of creative non-fiction as well as stories and poems which relate to the special issue's themes. Continuing the strong tradition of publishing reviews which goes back to the CRNLE Reviews Journal, there are many reviews which pertain to the issue's themes, as well as more general reviews. Finally we have the sad duty of publishing a tribute to the late Meenakshi Mukherjee, a member of the journal's editorial board.
In having the honour of guest editing this issue of the journal, there are several people I need to thank. First and foremost I would like to thanks the authors of the articles and other pieces, whose hard work and commitment to the project made it possible at all. Similarly, the peer reviewers provided excellent feedback and quality control, and made the issue the best it could be. Thanks also to Lyn Leader-Elliot for her monumental efforts in making the original conference such a success (and for supporting the launch); thanks to Gillian Dooley for helping me along the process (especially uploading the final articles) and for organising all the non-refereed pieces; to Rebecca Vaughan for lending her keen eye to copy-editing, and to Lisa Bennett for designing a characteristically artistic flyer for the launch. Finally, thanks to you, the reader, for taking the time to sample what the issue has to offer: we believe you will be richly rewarded.
Chad Habel, November, 2009
Click here for Contents page and editor's letter in PDF format
ItemEditor's note and contents page for Volume 2, no. 1, November 2009( 2009-11)Editor's note and contents page for Volume 2, no. 1, November 2009 of Transnational Literature
ItemContributors to Volume 2, No. 1, November 2009( 2009-11-09T00:20:16Z)List of contributors to Transnational Literature, Volume 2, no. 1, November 2009.
ItemA Tribute to Meenakshi Mukherjee( 2009-11-09T00:17:46Z)Tribute to Professor Meenakshi Mukherjee, member of Transnational Literature's Advisory Board, who died in September 2009.
ItemLast Days of Empire: DeLillo’s America and Murakami’s Japan( 2009-11-06T11:57:53Z)Don DeLillo’s Underworld and Haruki Murakami’s The Windup Bird Chronicle anticipated in a literary way the public debate over the existence of contemporary empire in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and subsequent wars. However, these novels focus on individual experiences and specific cultural aspects of their respective economic superpowers, America and Japan, and are not explicitly political or ideological. Both novels use the history of war in the modern era as a source of memory for individuals in the novels, including memory objects, linking these individuals to specific people in the past. Historical experiences and present experiences of these people are connected through a range of related themes. These include “internal” and “external” wars and violence, with the imagery of games and war as interchangeable; nationally specific religion, superstition, and folk beliefs intersecting with contemporary electronic “magic” such as the internet; and empires past and present that are in an advanced state of decay, abroad through the legacy of lost wars and domestically in the urban “underworld” (DeLillo) / “shadow world” (Murakami) of the two nations’ megacities: New York and Tokyo.
ItemDiasporic Dispersals and Convergences: The Creative Trajectory of a PhD Project( 2009-11-06T02:30:34Z)My critical-creative PhD project on diasporic creative practice began as a textual analysis dissertation with a video-recorded reception studies component, but it has become more than a hybrid research discourse. Its creative and fluid trajectories are not unlike the dispersals and convergences of diasporic identity and cultural production itself. These trajectories are mapped here with an exegetical section, followed by an edited selection of web-log entries and poetic fragments written during the various production stages of the creative component.
ItemThe UnAustralian Condition: An Essay In Four Parts( 2009-11-06T02:30:29Z)It was in the 1990s, following a flurry of the use of the expression ‘un-Australian’ by politicians, that the Macquarie Dictionary first included a definition of the term. In 2006, whilst conducting a review of the Hansard records going back 20 years, Professor Klaus Neumann found that politicians in the Senate and the House of Reps had used the term 600 times . Within the Australian parliament the term was used to describe anything from rental cars to socialism, to the imposition of import duties for agricultural equipment. So what does the term mean? In its earliest use from the mid 1850s onwards, ‘un-Australian’ was used in positive sense to describe the things that were akin to the British motherland and unlike the host country. In the 1990s, academic Joe Pugliese saw the use of the term as marking a profound anxiety about Australian identity and as signalling Australia’s failure to come to terms with its history . Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard invoked the word ‘un-Australian’ to great effect. In 2004, 28.2 per cent of the mentions of the word in major metropolitan newspapers were attributed to him by Media Monitor. Re elected to office four times, Howard took Australians into the new millennium by reinvigorating a homogeneous and one dimensional Australian identity forever indebted to its British origins. From the mid 1990’s, until the mid 2000s Australians failed to move beyond a state of mind that made a national identity contingent on the pre-eminence of the British diaspora. Thus, in this paper I argue that the constant anxiety about national identity for Australians links directly to the unresolved questions which surround diasporic belonging. I suggest that Australian national identity is condemned to oscillate uncertainly between the two terms – ‘parvenu’ or ‘pariah’– until new ways of national belonging are defined and accepted by Australians a new transnational era.