Editorial Introduction: 'Encountering Australia, Confronting Catastrophe'

Kate Rigby, Anne Collet


'Encountering Australia, Confronting Catastrophe'. These articles are based on papers presented at one of two consecutive conferences on Australia held in Europe during the northern summer of 2014. The European Association for Studies on Australia held a conference at the Monash University Prato Centre, Italy, in September that explored sites of contact, connection and exchange between Australia and the world, with particular emphasis on Europe, and with the aim of highlighting the importance of cross cultural dialogue. The conference drew on diverse modes and ideas of encountering Australia- imaginatively, theoretically, institutionally, politically, socially, historically, pedagogically and symbolically. Themed sessions included ‘Ecocultural Encounters' and ‘Ecopoetics', but animated discussion of our natural-cultural environment, whether in terms of climate change, migration and mobility, histories of war and violence, or national and collective memory, was evident across the varied foci. Tellingly, this conference was preceded by a symposium in the same month, hosted by the Australian Studies Centre at the University of Copenhagen, on ‘Cultural Response to Environmental Disaster in Australia.' 


Ecocriticism; environmental history; ecopoetics; environmental literary criticism; Australian Indigenous literature

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