Colonialism and its Aftermath

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Travelling—Writing—Tasmania

February 6–7, 2014
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Launceston, Tasmania

A two-day symposium to  explore Tasmanian travel writing and journeys in Tasmanian literature.

Keynote and Guest Speakers:
Prof Tim Youngs, Director of Nottingham Trent University's Centre for Travel Writing Studies; AProf Richard White, from the University of Sydney; and internationally renowned author Robert Dessaix.  

So often figured  as one of the ends of the world, Tasmania has inspired diverse responses from  travellers—real as well as fictional—who have landed on its shores and explored  its terrains over the last two and half centuries. A frequent subject of  European explorer and settler narratives of the eighteenth and nineteenth  centuries, and a popular setting for colonial romances, Tasmania retains a  special place in the literary imaginary as much as in the itinerary of domestic  and international travellers. An island, Tasmania is both of and set apart from  Australia. More often than not little known by mainlanders, its fate has often  between dictated by forces beyond the national borders. Distance and isolation,  and a rich and at times violent history, have inspired travellers and writers  to frame their reactions to Tasmania through the lenses of the marvellous, the  grotesque, the sublime, and the picaresque. Shadowing these representations of  the island there is more often than not a deep ambivalence about the moral  foundations of the European society on the island. Reading Tasmanian travel  writing and the fictional journeys of Tasmanian literature provides insights  into a set of regional, national and transnational concerns about colonialism  and the challenges of a postcolonising culture.

This symposium  explores Tasmanian travel writing and the journeys of Tasmanian literature. It  brings together scholars in travel writing studies, colonial and postcolonial  literary and historical studies, as well as writers of fiction and travel, to  consider the rich heritage of Tasmanian journeys.

Download the program.

Register your attendance, and pay for your registration.

Discover the treasures of Launceston in our city tour scheduled for Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 February.

The Robert Dessaix in Conversation/"5 Writers Project" is free and open to the public to attend - if you are not attending the Symposium but would like to come to this session, please register. Tasmanian wines and beer will be served at the Annexe theatre bar, and all guests will receive a free Festivale wine glass.

Budget accommodation for the period is available in the UTAS residential colleges. Please contact CAIA for more information.


Tamar Island by Danielle Thompson

Danielle Thompson, Tamar Island, 2008
Medium Lightjet Print
Exhibited size 20 x 20 cm,
edition of 10, http://www.stillsgallery.com.au
Copyright owned by the artist