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Issue Details: First known date: 2011... vol. 26 no. 2 June 2011 of Australian Literary Studies est. 1963 Australian Literary Studies
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* Contents derived from the 2011 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
The Time of Biopolitics in the Settler Colony, Russell West-Pavlov , single work criticism

'Kim Scott's description of the Moore River Native Settlement, also known as Mogumber, in his 1999 novel Benang, suggests implicit analogies with the mid-century concentration camps of the Holocaust. The Indigenous detainees are transported there in stock cars, they are welcomed by uniformed overseers armed with whips, they are housed in barracks with barred windows, and a punishment regime of solitary confinement and ritual humiliation operates as a means of coercion (89-94, 99-102). Elsewhere in the novel, Scott leaves us in no doubt about the force of these associations: "' They had some good ideas, those Nazis," Earn said, "but they went a bit far"' (Benang 154). The analogy between twentieth-century government control of the lives of Australian Indigenous people and biopolitics of Nazism has not gone unnoticed in other quarters. Elizabeth Povinelli describes the equation, made by the Royal Commission's Bringing Them Home report in 1994, of a century of child removal practices with cultural genocide, as 'an analogy made more compelling by the age of the Aboriginal applicants, many of whom had been taken in the early 1940s'. The impact of that equation was that 'Australians looked at themselves in a ghastly historical mirror and imagined their own Nuremberg. Would fascism be the final metaphor of Australian settler modernity?' (38).' (Author's introduction, p. 1)

(p. 1-19)
Biopolitical Correspondences : Settler Nationalism, Thanatopolitics, and the Perils of Hybridity, Michael R. Griffiths , single work criticism
'How does (post)colonial literary culture, so often annexed to nationalist concerns, interface with what Michel Foucalt called biopolitics? Biopolitics can be defined as the regularisation of a population according to the perceived insistence on norms. Indeed, biopolitics is crucially concerned with what is perceptible at the macroscopic level of an entire population - often rendering its operations blind to more singular, small, identitarian, or even communitarian representations and imaginaries. Unlike the diffuse, microscopic, governmental mechanisms of surveillance that identify the need for disciplinary interventions, biopolitics concerns itself with the regularisation of societies on a large scale, notably through demography. As Ann Laura Stoler has put it, Foucault's identification of these two forms of power, 'the disciplining of individual bodies...and the regularization of life processes of aggregate human populations' has led to much productive work in the postcolonialist critique of 'the discursive management of the sexual practices of the colonized', and the resultant 'colonial order of things' (4).' (Author's introduction, 20)
(p. 20-42)
Humanitarian Sex : Biopolitics, Ethics, and Aid Worker Memoir, Shameem Black , single work criticism
'Humanitarianism is sexy, or so they say. Unlike other forms of civic aid that go by less glamorous names, such as social work, the word 'humanitarian' carries with it a particular glow of grandeur. Because it deploys the language or the human, rather than of the citizen, it is able - indeed compelled - to range promiscuously across national borders in search of bodies to claim as its proper object of attention. This inbuilt distance between the social worlds of the aid worker and of the recipient of aid lends itself to erotics of the exotic that bespeaks polysemous forms of desire. Humanitarianism is sexy, in the sense that it makes humanitarians seem enticingly chic; it is also sexualised, caught up in a romance narrative of endless longing for a strange other.' (Author's introduction, p. 43)
(p. 43-56)
White Closets, Jangling Nerves and the Biopolitics of the Public Secret, Fiona Probyn , single work criticism
'This essay attempts to outline the relationship between the 'raw nerves' that Denis Byrne describes in the epigraph above, and the cultivation of 'indifference' that Stanner identifies as being characteristic of 'European life' in Australia. Here I situate indifference as numbing the 'jangling' of 'raw nerves' and as cultivated, disseminated and feeding specific forms of public secrecy. How did the white men who enforces segregation by day and pursued Aboriginal women by night manage their 'jangling nerves, if indeed they did jangle? How did they manage to be seen and known and have their secrets kept for them, as much as by them. How did this contradiction of segregation and sexual intimacy, if indeed it is a contradiction, work, My hope is that if we can understand how the white men (and those around them), regulated these jangling nerves, then we might be able to understand the relationship between indifference, public secrecy and the biopolitical forms that Australian whiteness took in the twentieth century, and specifically in the period of assimilation, extending from the 1930s to, roughly, the end of the 1960s.' (Author's introduction p. 57)
(p. 57-75)
Biopolitics and Eleanor Dark's Prelude to Christopher, Anne Maxwell , single work criticism
'In 1934 Miles Franklin described Eleanor Dark's second novel, Prelude to Christopher, as 'a terribly beautiful piece of work' (128). One of Dark's earliest critics, Franklin attributed the book's strength to the author's deft handling of a tragic theme and 'the urge to speak the naked truth' (125). Later critics emphasised the book's experimental style, especially its skilled handling o the multiple viewpoints, flashbacks and interior monologues associated with high modernism. By contrast, recent critics have focused on the novel's subject matter and Dark's engagement with the biopolitical norms that manifested in eugenics. This essay pursues that focus. It aims to flesh out the ways in which Dark's novel registers the potential impact of eugenics on liberal conceptions of freedom and to explore some of the ways in which it attempts to reclaim that freedom...(' From author's introduction p. 76)
(p. 76-90)
Counter-Poetics, Lyn McCredden , single work criticism
'Michel Foucault defined history as 'the discourse of power' (Society 68), arguing that the function of a 'counter-history' is 'to show that laws deceive, that kings wear masks, that power creates illusions, and the historians tell lies' (Bainbridge 58). Writing on the relationship of poetry to power, critic Simon Bainbridge argues, citing Byron's Don Juan, that in 'the face of a model of "History" which can only take "things in the gross", Foucault offers a counter history which enables us to "know them in detail"' (50). By disciplinary analogy, I will argue that the poetry of Indigenous Australian Tony Birch can best be read not only as a counter-history, but as a 'counter-poetics'. However, I will also ask whether this notion of poetic 'countering' is inherently oxymoronic, given that poetry is highly performative, writerly and readerly; at its best always a self-questioning and critical art.' (Author's introduction p. 91)
(p. 91-108)
[Review] Intimate Horizons, Lachlan Brown , single work review
— Review of Intimate Horizons : The Post-Colonial Sacred in Australian Literature Bill Ashcroft , Lyn McCredden , Frances Devlin-Glass , 2009 multi chapter work criticism ;
(p. 109-112)
[Review] Lighting Dark Places : Essays on Kate Grenville., Kate Mitchell , single work review
— Review of Lighting Dark Places : Essays on Kate Grenville 2010 anthology criticism ;
(p. 112-114)
Untitled, Brigitta Olubas , single work review
— Review of Nine Lives : Postwar Women Writers Making Their Mark Susan Sheridan , 2011 selected work biography ;
(p. 115-118)
[Review] The Anthology of Colonial Australian Romance Fiction, Tanya Dalziell , single work review
— Review of The Anthology of Colonial Australian Romance Fiction 2010 anthology short story extract ;
(p. 118-120)
Untitled, Naomi Milthorpe , single work review
— Review of David Foster : The Satirist of Australia Susan Lever , 2008 multi chapter work criticism ;
(p. 121-123)

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Last amended 2 Mar 2012 14:15:43