(Re)imagining ambivalent Australia: the curriculum as a tool of nation

Alexander Bacalja, Lauren Bliss, Matthew Bulfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores how Australian literature mandated for study in the Victorian senior English curriculum creates opportunities for problematizing central myths about Australia. We engage with Homi Bhabha’s notion of ambivalence to demonstrate how representations of colonization, rurality and migration reflect discursive formations of Australia. We consider how each discourse serves a pedagogic function, essentializing a set of myths about Australia: as having redeemed the violence done to Indigenous Australians in the colonial period, as embodying a white, rural masculine ideal, and as a welcoming nation open to migrants. Here, we show the points of orientation these texts provide, in their rearticulations of “the scraps … of daily life”, and further consider how the texts can problematize nationalist narratives.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


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