2021 Literary Studies Convention
Triennial Literary Studies Convention
20 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
The 2021 literary studies convention will bring together four of the major literary studies associations in the country for five days of keynotes, presentations and workshops, enabling scholars, students, teachers and the broader public to encounter the breadth of research happening in literary studies in Australia today. The convention is also a key forum for discussing the state and future of the discipline of literary studies in Australia.
Most sessions are now viewable on demand. Click the links to watch the session on YouTube.
4.45pm - 7.00pm
Presentation of ASAL Awards including the ALS Gold Medal, Mary Gilmore Award, A.D. Hope Award, Walter McRae Russell and Alvie Egan Awards.
Writer, Journalist, and Refugee Activist
Writing Through Fences: A History from Below
Writing Through Fences formed out of relationships between human beings beyond the prison fences and beyond borders, which involved refugees communicating with each other and also with people in Australia. It was a safe online space and involved many people from detention centres in mainland Australia, Christmas Island, Indonesia, and later on Manus Island and Nauru. Behrouz Boochani and Omid Tofighian have engaged with Writing Through Fences for years, and this talk critically analyses the initiative and the fundamental role of people such as writer/founder Janet Galbraith and writer/convenor Hani Abdile. Writing Through Fences is a part of Australia’s historical memory since it involves events from Australia’s dark history and writers that document Australia’s unofficial and forgotten history: “A history from below”. These writings - together with examples of visual art and commentary by Aboriginal peoples and settlers - have recently been published in a special issue of Southerly called 'Writing Through Fences: Archipelago of Letters'.
These writings can help form a kind of knowledge that comes directly from the lived experience of refugees. The philosophy that emerges from writing and creating inside the detention centres helps imprisoned refugees to survive the hardship of incarceration, in addition it can become a significant and large field for researchers, writers and artists to understand Australia’s detention system. By engaging in Writing Through Fences refugees want to say that they are not voiceless, they do not need others to be their voices. They want to project their own voices. In other words, refugees are part of the main discourse. They are not passive. They want to make change
Lecturer, Researcher and Community Advocate
Writer, Journalist, and Refugee Activist
Lecturer, Researcher and Community Advocate
Auburn University, Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project
University of Sussex
Victoria University is a world-class dual sector University located in Melbourne, Australia.
Victoria University has a moral purpose to transform the lives of any student from any background and to transform our communities, in partnership with our students and communities.
Victoria University acknowledges, recognises and respects the Ancestors, Elders and families of the Boonwurrung, Waddawurrung and Wurundjeri of the Kulin who are the traditional owners of University land in Victoria, and the Gadigal and Guring-gai of the Eora Nation who are the traditional owners of University land in Sydney.
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The organisers of this convention express our thanks to all those who helped make the event possible.
Writer, journalist, and refugee activist – delivering the Barry Andrews Memorial Address.
Behrouz Boochani holds a Masters degree in political geography and geopolitics. He is a Kurdish-Iranian journalist, scholar, cultural advocate, writer and filmmaker, founder of the Kurdish language magazine Weya, an Honorary Member of PEN International. In 2013, he fled Iran and became a political prisoner of the Australian Government incarcerated in the Manus Regional Processing Centre (Papua New Guinea). In November 2019 Behrouz escaped to New Zealand. He now resides in Christchurch.
Cornell University – delivering the AVSA keynote.
Caroline Levine is David and Kathleen Ryan Professor of the Humanities at Cornell University and author of three books: The Serious Pleasures of Suspense: Victorian Realism and Narrative Doubt (2003), Provoking Democracy: Why We Need the Arts (2007), and Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (2015). She’s the nineteenth-century editor for the Norton Anthology of World Literature and is currently finishing a book about literary studies and climate change.
University of Sussex – delivering the Australasian Association for Literature keynote.
Peter Boxall is Professor of English at the University of Sussex. He has written books on Samuel Beckett, on Don DeLillo, and several books on the novel, including Twenty-First-Century Fiction and The Value of the Novel. His most recent book, The Prosthetic Imagination: A History of the Novel as Artificial Life, came out with CUP in 2020. He has edited a range of work, including a collection on Beckett's politics entitled Beckett/Aesthetics/Politics, a collection on poetry entitled Thinking Poetry (with Peter Nicholls), 1001 Books you Must Read Before you Die, the Cambridge Companion to British Fiction 1980-2018, and a Faber edition of Beckett’s novel Malone Dies. He is also co-editor of Volume 7 of the Oxford History of the Novel (with Bryan Cheyette), editor of the book series 'Cambridge Studies in Twenty-First-Century Literature and Culture', and editor of the UK journal Textual Practice. He is currently writing a book on the twentieth-century novel and the current crises in Western culture, entitled Fictions of the West.
Auburn University, Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project – delivering the AULLA keynote
Kyes Stevens is the founder and director of the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project at Auburn University. Starting in 2001, she has worked to design and build an innovative and sustainable outreach program that works with the underserved adult prison population in Alabama. Stevens oversees all aspects of APAEP programming. She has served as a grants reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts, was an inaugural member of an emerging arts administrators organization in Alabama, and works in advisory capacities nationally for individuals and programs seeking to develop arts and education programming within prisons. She is the fourth generation of her family to work in Outreach at Auburn University and was awarded an Auburn University Young Alumni Award for her efforts building APAEP. She was also an inaugural recipient of the Lillian E. Smith Writer in Service Award and continues to publish poems.
Independent Scholar – delivering the Early Career Researcher keynote.
Joseph Cummins is a scholar and musician. His research focuses on post-war Australian literature and music, and family history literature. He is the author of two books, The 'Imagined Sound' of Australian Literature and Music (Anthem, 2019) and, with Ashey Barnwell, Reckon with the Past: Family Historiographies in Postcolonial Australian Literature (Routledge, 2019). A prolific reviewer, Joseph is also the co-editor of the Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature. In 2020 Joseph released his first solo album, Solar Flares.
Deakin University – delivering the Dorothy Green Lecture
Ann Vickery is Head of Writing, Literature and Culture at Deakin University. She is the author of Stressing the Modern: Cultural Politics in Australian Women’s Poetry (Salt, 2007)and Leaving Lines of Gender: A Feminist Genealogy of Language Writing (Wesleyan University Press, 2000). She co-authored The Intimate Archive: Journeys through Private Papers (National Library of Australia, 2009) and co-edited Poetry and the Trace (Puncher and Wattmann, 2013). She co-founded the Australasian Modernist Studies Network and was a founding member and subsequent editor-in-chief of HOW2, an early online journal of innovative women’s writing and scholarship. She is currently editing The Cambridge Companion to Australian Poetry and co-editing The Cambridge History of Australian Poetry. She is the author of two poetry collections with a third, Bees Do Bother: An Antagonist’s Care Pack being published by Vagabond Press in 2021.
Lecturer, Researcher and Community Advocate – delivering the Barry Andrews Memorial Address.
Omid Tofighian is an award-winning lecturer, researcher and community advocate, combining philosophy with interests in citizen media, popular culture, displacement and discrimination. He is Adjunct Lecturer in the School of the Arts and Media, University of New South Wales and Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney. His publications include Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues (Palgrave 2016); translation of Behrouz Boochani's multi-award winning book No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (Picador 2018); and co-editor of special issues for journals Literature and Aesthetics (2011), Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media (2019) and Southerly (2021).