CFP: The 2022 Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature

Coming to Terms, 30 Years On: The Mabo Legacy in Australian Writing

The 2022 Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature
4–8 July 2022
nipaluna/Hobart, lutruwita/Tasmania

Call for Papers – Deadline: 31 January 2022

The 2022 ASAL Annual Conference will be hosted by the College of Arts, Law, and Education Centre at The University of Tasmania in nipaluna/Hobart from 4–8 July 2022.

On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in Mabo v. Queensland (No. 2). The effects of this decision on understandings of colonisation, race, property, and sovereignty have been far-reaching. As the editors of Mabo’s Cultural Legacy (2021) state, “more than any other event in Australia’s legal, political and cultural history, the Mabo decision challenged previous ways of thinking about land, identity, belonging, the nation and history.”

The impacts of Mabo, and the follow-up Wik decision of 1996, have been keenly followed and felt in Australian writing: in popular and literary fiction, creative nonfiction, cinema, songwriting, theatre, and poetry. In the last 30 years, writers from all backgrounds who call some part of Australia home have grappled and sought to “come to terms” with the various and wide-ranging legacies of the Mabo decision for readers, here and overseas.

The Mabo decision has profoundly shifted ways of thinking about “being Australian” and ignited a chain of cultural events that have engaged with global debates about history, identity, native title, reparations, and reconciliation.

In the 30th anniversary of the landmark Mabo ruling, ASAL2022 will explore the impact of Mabo on Australian literature and literary culture, broadly defined. It will examine the roles that narrative, and other forms of writing, have played in mediating the Mabo legacy in all its complexity and ambiguity. We are seeking 20-minute papers or proposals for panels that speak to the many and varied impacts and articulations of Mabo on Australian writing and publishing in all its forms: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, theatre, as well as song and screen. We also welcome papers that address the pedagogical impacts of Mabo on the learning and teaching of Australian writing.

As this is the annual conference of ASAL, the program will also feature a stream showcasing new and emerging work in Australian literary studies in any aspect of the field, including pedagogy, publishing, and emerging writing. We warmly invite contributions from emerging and established scholars of Australian literature and from scholars and writers outside the academy who may offer vital perspectives on the public reach and cultural work of Australian literature.

Proposals for themed panels are also welcome.

Topics include but are not limited to:
• First nations publishing
• Truth-telling, reconciliation, and apology
• Stolen Generations
• The History Wars
• The Uluru Statement
• Sovereignty
• Literature and law
• Literature as activism
• First Nations review culture
• Literature, history, and memory
• Post-Mabo literature and storytelling
• First Nations literature and teaching
• Wik and narrating co-existence
• Regional perspectives, voices, and narratives
• Cultural appropriation
• Narrating colonial conflict
• Indigenising the literary curriculum
• Decolonising Australian Literature
• Reading and writing as emancipation or oppression
• Intellectual property
• Transindigeneity

Please submit your proposal to Robert Clarke ( using the subject heading “ASAL 2022” together with:
1. Title of paper
2. 250-word abstract
3. Name, position, organisation, brief bio (100 words max)

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31 January 2022.