Australia as a Risk Society: Hope and Fears of the Past, the Present and the Future
13-16 October 2020
Conference venue: University of Naples “L’Orientale”, Italy
Australia may be defined as a society increasingly preoccupied yet also gambling with the future, a worry or denial which is closely connected to the notion of risk as a systematic way of dealing with, inducing and introducing hazards and insecurities. Apocalyptic speculations about future events are often employed in regard to feared scapegoats, such as climate change, migrants and Indigenous peoples, who are blamed for threatening or damaging society. Denial and scepticism have become the resort of political and social movements, yet fear and anxiety are perhaps the dominant affective modes of expressing one’s attachment to the Australian community or nation. The public is no longer engaged through rational arguments, but through affect and rhetorical pathetic fallacy, appeals to prejudiced emotions, opinions and convictions, which result in closure. On the other hand, another kind of discourse of the future exists i.e. the future as the effecting of change and creation rather than the effect of change. This is a future that changes the past and allows emergent strategies to unfold in the present. It rests on acts of hope, reinvention and resistance, which at times succeed in crossing and interrupting linguistic, cultural and political boundaries, and create alternative patterns of solidarity and member-shipping. In this light, speculations about the future and media oracles are not incidental but central to ethics, activism and ‘cosmopolitics’ as the potential trigger of solidarity and transformation.
Based on these premises, the conference will focus on the ways in which Australian transnational and local cultural, linguistic and literary productions channel information on risk and the future, in order to suggest and spread awareness on new cosmopolitical models of sustainability and conviviality.
Please send a 250-words abstract and a 100-words bio-note to the email address email@example.com by January 15th, 2020. We do encourage panel proposals. Notification of acceptance/rejection of abstracts will be sent by 15 February 2020.
All accepted participants will be expected to become members of EASA as a precondition to presenting their papers. Details of EASA membership are available on the association’s website at this address: http://www.australianstudies.eu/