About the conference

This conference aims to bring together new approaches to colonial Australia across the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Colonialism puts a range of practices and discourses into play: violent encounters, dispossession, trauma, 'development', 'civilisation', governance, trade, and so on. It produces endless narratives about what it is, what it does and the lives it radically changes. It is both immensely destructive and energetically productive: recording its various practices and discourses through a rapidly growing range of media and visual technologies.

The narratives of colonialism worked to reinvent Australia in colonialism's image, leaving us with legacies and frameworks that continue to shape who we are and how we identify to the world around us. Sometimes we try to 'forget' colonialism, but it constantly claims us and returns to us; we continue to live in its aftermath.

This conference will address some of the following topics:

  • Militant colonialism and frontier violence
  • Indigenous dispossession and resistance
  • Colonial racism, its histories and legacies
  • Colonialism and the anthropological turn
  • Language and the exchange of knowledge
  • Money, capitalism and trade
  • Settler and Indigenous governance
  • Colonial modernity and the 'global south'
  • Metropolitan identities
  • Bush, desert and coastal narratives
  • The convict archive
  • Gold rush narratives
  • Colonial transnationalisms
  • Immigrant narratives
  • Print culture and colonial literature: prose fiction, poetry, theatre
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Colonialism and the law
  • Institutions and their networks
  • Collectors, archivists and the colonial GLAM sector
  • Colonialism and the visual arts
  • Environment, species and the natural sciences
  • Colonialism and everyday life
  • The colonies and the nation: north, south, east and west
  • Colonialism today


For more information about the conference please contact

The Australian Centre

Banner image: Black Thursday, February 6th, 1851. William Strutt 1864. State Library of Victoria.