Foto: Matthias Friel
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This course aims to promote an understanding of the complexity of Australian national identity by providing a historical background to contemporary debates. Based on the study of primary texts – including government documents, novels, poems, films, historiographical works, newspaper articles, song lyrics, and tourism advertisements – we will scrutinize the tradition of defining Australia. Placing a particular emphasis on historical focal points (e.g., Gallipoli, the British departure from the South Pacific, the introduction of official multiculturalism, the ‘History Wars’), but also discussing recent events such as the 2019–2020 bushfire season, we will focus especially on recurring themes such as the outback/bush, whiteness, mateship, and egalitarianism that have functioned as (auto) stereotypes of Australianness. In addition, we will bring to light the ambivalent attitude Australian settlers have adopted towards Australia’s former motherland, Great Britain, its neighbouring Asian countries, and its powerful ally to the east, the United States. Perhaps most importantly, we will discuss how Australians have dealt with the legacy of colonial violence and oppression towards Australia’s Indigenous population and attempt to explain Indigenous–settler relations, mechanisms of otherness, and dominant representations of Aboriginality in contemporary Australian culture. In this endeavor, cultural studies will serve as our core analytical framework; we will draw, in particular, on secondary literature that developed out of the context of the Australian tradition of cultural studies.
Students can opt to write a Modularbeit. International exchange students are welcome to participate.
Introductory session: June 5, 2020 (Friday): 12:00-18:00 c.t.
Block seminar: July 27 – July 30, 2020 (Monday-Thursday): 12.00-18:00 s.t.
July 31, 2020 (Friday): 12:00-16:00 s.t.
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