29th March-1st April 2021
Conference venue : University of Naples “L’Orientale”, Italy
Convenor: Katherine E. Russo

Australia as a Risk Society:

Hope and Fears of the Past, the Present and the Future

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, linguistics 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.

The conference aims to explore the following questions:
– Australia as a Risk society
– Past/Historic Perceptions of the Future
– Environmental Risk and Climate Change
– Post-humanist Linguistics
– Colonial Frames
– Australian Modernities
– New Temporalities
– Transnational Flows
– Mundane Risks and Ordinary Diversity
– Complex and Simultaneous Spatiotemporalities
– The Science and Politics of Fear in the White Nation
– Rearranging Desire
– Worldings and Public Feelings
– Scepticism, Uncertainty and Illusions of Knowledge
– Appraisal and Affect
– Indigenous futurism
– Activism, Change and Organisational Strategies
– Decolonization as a future horizon
– Post-colonial Transformation
– Utopia and Dystopia
– New Zealand as a Utopian Space
– Animalities and Extinctions
– Australia as a Refuge
– Forecasting Mobility as Risk
– Risk,Viability and Vulnerability
– Biopower Risk and Biopolitics
– Children, Generationalism and other Metaphors of the Future

Please send a 250-words abstract and a 100-words bio-note to the email address easanaples2020(at)gmail.com by 15th June, 2020. We do encourage panel proposals. 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.easaaustralianstudies.net/easa/office. A call for full-academic-length papers derived from conference presentations will be issued after the conference for publication in the Association’s online journal JEASA (http://www.easa- australianstudies.net/ejournal/call). Further information can be found here.