Friends, Foes and Other Intimacies will be held in Hobart, Tasmania at the UTAS Sandy Bay Campus from 3 - 5 December 2014.
This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the multiple relationships that have influenced Australian society and culture, both historically and contemporaneously, in both formal and informal settings, and both within and without Australia. More specifically, while we are familiar with the Manichean dichotomies emerging from race, postcolonial and gender studies, have we too quickly foreclosed other kinds of relations and in doing so concretised unstable categories? This conference, therefore, seeks to reveal how other relationships influenced and influences our perception of ourselves and the perception of Australia and Australians (coloniser, settler and Indigenous) held by others. Pertinent to this is the ongoing debate vis- -vis the history of contact and conflict and its legacies between colonists, settlers and Aborigines. This sometimes disputatious discussion continues to be couched in terms that afford no purchase to Australia's burgeoning post World War II population and their descendants. Whereas at the end of World War II 90 per cent of Australia's then population of seven million were born in Australia, of today's population of 22.55 million over a quarter were born overseas. Although the United Kingdom continues to be the largest source of overseas born residents followed by New Zealand, the next largest sources are China, India then Vietnam. There has also been over the last 4 years in particular a dramatic rise in asylum seekers from Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the last two decades have witnessed the extraordinary growth in international students studying in Australia. There were of course many earlier non-European arrivals, forced and otherwise, including South Sea Islanders, Chinese, the so-called Afghan cameleers who were the first Muslim settlers in Australia, amongst many others. These changing cohorts bespeak of a series of relationships across multiple levels of varying intensities and intimacies (friendly, hostile and other) that supersede bluff notions of borders, margins, and peripheries, and of relationships that change in type and form over time. This conference seeks to reveal the nuances of these intimacies, and in doing so, point to their significance.
Keynote speakers for the conference are Professor Renate Brosch from the University of Stuttgart and Dr Hsu-Ming Teo from Macquarie University, Sydney. The plenary will be presented by Professor Colin Mackerras from Griffith University, Queensland.