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Flinders University

Transnational Literature is an online, open-access journal that is published by Flinders University. The May 2014 edition certainly lives up to the title. This edition provides an overview of literary texts and theories from across the world.

The academic contributions explore a diverse range of topics. These include the work of Marion Halligan, literary representations of Islam and the veil, and the notion of ‘home’ as this is invoked in Shani Mootoo’s novel Cereus Blooms at Night (1996). There is a review essay on a selection of books dedicated to the theme of ‘world literature’, plus the paper delivered by Satendra Nandan at the December 2013 launch of Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally’s edited collection A Country Too Far (the latter is reviewed in this edition). Readers will also find poems, short stories and life narratives.

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This issue of open access e-journal Transnational Literature offers contributions from a 2009 symposium on migration, held in Adelaide. It is a diverse collection, appropriately so given persistent themes of dislocation, assimilation and multiculturalism. Still, perhaps diversity has its limits: the issue is burdened with Graeme Harper’s keynote symposium address, a ponderous and misplaced commentary on ‘the journey’ creative writers undertake: ‘As might already be realised, post-working can be the pre-working for future Creative Writing, and it can (and often is [sic]) emphasize the fact that creative writers are creative writers because they are actively engaged in one or more of the many acts of Creative Writing.’

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If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.
President John F. Kennedy, Address to the American University, Washington DC, 10 June 1963

In March 1966 the first students arrived at Flinders University. They were typical of their time. Men outnumbered women two to one. Most lived at home with their parents, their background overwhelmingly middle class. A survey in the first years of the new institution confirmed that Flinders students were not politically radical. A slim majority indicated support for the government of Harold Holt. Only a handful opposed American and Australian involvement in Vietnam. If conservative about political change, Flinders students did not forgo commencement day pranks, with a mock Russian submarine being pushed into the university lake. Four decades ago, most students starting at Flinders were destined for teaching or the public service.

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