Reorienting Australian Studies? Remaking Australia from the West

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Western Australia has continued to be seen from without as both necessary and as supplemental: its distinctive place within the national economy, history and psyche has continued to drive a specific and contested set of relations with the state that provides a useful lens upon “Australia” and Australian studies in its larger sense. The status of Australian studies has fluctuated over the last decade but continues to thrive, especially internationally. This special issue explores the potential for a Western Australian perspective to engage with a multifaceted Australian studies. Contributors seek to re-evaluate the analytical framework of Australian studies, interrogating influential assumptions about history and culture. Through narratives of deep time, Asian exchange and cosmopolitanism, truth-telling and extra-colonialism, for example, such research reorients our ideas of “Australia” by rupturing the seemingly inevitable contours of the nation and offering means to re-imagine a future shared civic space. A western orientation offers possibilities for spatially and temporally disrupting the Western linearity that has grounded the modern nation-state. Key principles of this approach must include critical interrogation—rather than celebration—of the entity called Australia, the centrality of Aboriginal perspectives and voices, and the opportunities for creativity and innovation offered by interdisciplinarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-151
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Australian Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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