25 April 2019
Australia’s Postcolonial Turn: the Mabo Decision and Australian Fiction
18:00 c. t. - room IG 4.201
More than any other event in Australia’s history, the Mabo decision of 1992, which legally recognised Indigenous Australians’ occupation and ownership of the continent, has challenged previous ways of thinking about land and space, settlement and belonging, race and relationships, and nation and history. It has had a profound impact on law, politics and culture, as well as on the nation’s literary imaginary. This talk examines contemporary Australian fiction writing’s substantial engagement with Mabo’s cultural legacy, that is to say, with the acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples’ presence in the land, in history, and in public affairs, as opposed to their absence. Via readings of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal texts, I will argue that what is now called ‘post-Mabo fiction’ has turned Australia postcolonial.
Geoff Rodoreda is a lecturer in the Department of English Literatures at the University of Stuttgart. In a previous life he studied politics and journalism in the city he grew up in, Sydney, Australia, and worked as a journalist in Australia and Germany. In 2012, he gave up journalism to concentrate on academic teaching and on writing a PhD, which he completed in 2016 and which has resulted in a book, The Mabo Turn in Australian Fiction (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2018).