Colonialism and its Aftermath

TWT Home


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 (PDF 442.7KB).

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,
Copyright owned by the artist