The Trans/national in Contemporary Australian Literature and Film

Course title: The Trans/national in Contemporary Australian Literature and Film
Instructor
: Asst. Prof. Iva Polak

ECTS credits: 6
Status: elective
Semester: 4th and/or 6th
Enrollment requirements: completed Introduction to English Literature; enrolment in 4th and/or 6th semester

Course description: Selected literary and cinematic texts from the 2nd half of the 20th cent. are studied in the light of contemporary reinscriptions of Australian identity. Issues such as colonialism and postcolonialism, the mainstream and margin, history and story, natural and supernatural  are discussed to show complexities of Australian multiculturalism (cultural difference and cultural diversity). Due to the relative remoteness of Australian space, the course includes a survey Australian history as well as a survey of the culture of the First Australians.
Objectives: The aim is to awaken students’ awareness of some of the distinctive features of Australian contemporary literature and cinema as well as to show the necessity of a different approach to Indigenous texts due to their culture-specific content.
Course requirements: The finalgrade is based on continuous assessment which includes regular attendance, preparation for and participation in class, writing small assignments, timely submission of the final paper, and obligatory sitting for midterm and endterm exam. The paper is worth 35%, midterm and endterm exams are worth 50% and other elements of continuous assessment are worth 15% of the final grade. Students must meet all requirements of continuous assessment.
The exact date of the mid-term exam is defined in cooperation with the students. Topics for the  main written assignment (student paper) are selected in week 8.

Course schedule:
Week 1
Distinctivenes of Australian space: location, size, appearance
Week 2
Introduction to the history of Australia
Week 3
Postcolonial Australia: introduction to postcolonial theory
Week 4

Australian identity: in search of Australianness

Claymation short: Harvie Krampet (2003), dir. Adam Elliot
Graham Huggan. Australian Literature. Postcolonialism, Racism, Transnationalism: Chap. 1;
Catriona Elder. Being Australian: Chap. 1 (nationalism, imagined community, commentary)
Bill Ashcroft. “Is Australian Literature Post-Colonial?”
Week 5
Australian identity and Australian space: the Great Australian Outback

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), dir. Peter Weir (New Wave)
Wolf Creek (2005), dir. Greg McLean (Ozploitation)
The Rover (2014), dir. David Michod (dystopia)
Gelder and Jacobs. Uncanny Australia (1998): Chap. 1, terminology: uncanny (Freud) and differend (Lyotard)
Week 6
Reinscriptions of Australian literary canon: from documentary realism to postmodernist reinscriptions and fantastic worlds
Frank Moorehouse “From a bush log book“
Murry Bail “A, B, C, D, E,F, G,H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O,P Q, R, S, T U, V, W, X, Y, Z“
Peter Carey “American Dreams“; “Peeling“
A. Bertram Chandler “Grimes and the Gajin Daimyo” (Australian SF)
Week 7
Deconstructing the Eurocentric canon and literary theory from an Australian perspective
David Williamson, Dead White Males (1995)
*Guidelines for research paper
Week 8
Tim. Winton. Cloudstreet (1991)
Week 9
Cloudstreet cont.

Magical realism: Wendy B. Faris. “Scheherezade’s Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction.”
Week 10
Introduction to the history and culture of Aboriginal Australia

Contact (2009) documentary
Christine Nicholls. “‘Dreamtime’ and ‘The Dreaming’ – an introduction”
Week 11
Stolen Generations

Doris Pilkington Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence (1996)
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2001), dir. Phillip Noyce
Documentary series First Australians (2008). Episode 5: “Unhealthy Government Experiment”
Week 12
Contemporary Aboriginalities

Gayle Kennedy, Me, Antman & Fleabag (2007)
Mad Bastards (2010), dir. Brendan Fletcher
Week 13
Contemporary women’s writing

Lisa Jacobson “The Master Builder’s House”
Ania Walwicz “Flight”
Janeen Webb  “Paradise Design’d“
Finola Moorhead  “Miss Marple Goes to Ayers Rock“
Week 14
Endterm exam

Reading list
Due to unavailability of reference materials, all relevant texts are contained in The Trans/national in Contemporary Australian Literature and Film Reader which includes the following:

Fiction:
Tim Winton. Cloudstreet (1991)

David Williamson. Dead White Males (1995)
Doris Pilkington. Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
Gayle Kennedy. Me, Antman & Fleabag (2007)
 + selected short stories
Theory

– Ashcroft, Bill. “Is Australian Literature Post-Colonial?”. Modern Australian Criticism and Theory. Eds. David Carter and Wang Guanglin. Qingdao: China Ocean University Press: 1-13.
Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin (eds). Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts, Routledge: London/New York, 2002.
(selected terminology)
– Elder, Catriona. Being Australian Allen and Uwin: Crows Nest, 2007. (Chaps 1, 3 and 8)
Gelder, Ken and Jane M. Jacobs. Uncanny Australia: Sacredness and Identity in a Postcolonial Nation, Melbourne University Press: Carlton South, Victoria, 1998. (Chap. 1)
– Huggan, Graham. Australian Literature. Postcolonialism, Racism, Transnationalism, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2007 (Chap. 1)
– Lever, Susan. “The challenge of the novel: Australian fiction since 1950”. The Cambridge History of Australian Literature. Peter Pierce (ed.). Cambridge University Press: Port Melbourne, Vic., 2009: 498-517.
– Nicholls, Christine. “‘Dreamtime’ and ‘The Dreaming’ – an introduction”. A Year in Life of Australia. The Conversation. Ed. The Conversation, Sydney: Future Leaders, 2014: 77-82.
– Polak, Iva. Razvoj književne proze australskih Aboridžina. Od nevidljive do postkolonijalne priče, HFD: Zagreb, 2011. (excerpts)
– Rossier, Richard and Lyn Jacobs (eds). Reading Tim Winton. Angus and Robertson: Sydney, 1993. (selection)
– Torre, Stephen. “The short story since 1950”.  The Cambridge History of Australian Literature. Peter Pierce (ed.). Cambridge University Press: Port Melbourne, Vic., 2009: 419-451.
– Van Toorn, Penny. “Indigenous Texts and Narratives”.The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature, Elizabeth Webby (ed.). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2000: 19-59.
– West, Barbara A. A Brief History of Australia. Facts on File Inc.: New York. 2010.
– Faris, Wendy B. “Scheherezade’s Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction.” Magical Realism Theory, History, Community, Lois Parkinson Zamora i Wendy B. Faris (ed). Duke University Press: Durham & London. 2005 (1995): 163-190.

Materials (textual+audiovisual) for the course shall be made available to the enrolled students in electronic form.  Additional materials are received in class.