Oz Lit at Melbourne University
The English program at the University of Melbourne has offered courses on Australian literature every year since 1982, when it was first introduced as a full seminar subject. Stephanie Guest’s article in last month’s issue of ABR, ‘Oz Lit in the Moot Court Room: Finding Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne’, mistakenly reports that this was not the case. ‘To my chagrin, the handbook reported that it was not available in 2011.’
It is true the English program withdrew ‘The Australian Imaginary’ in 2011, as the lecturer in charge of the subject had unexpectedly moved to another university. This is not an unusual event at universities. The English program has since revised the subject with an additional focus on colonial literature. This subject is currently on offer and will remain so. In 2011 the English program did offer, through cross-listing, ‘Aboriginal Writing’, which features the work of ten Indigenous authors. This subject is part of the Australian Indigenous Studies major, which, along with English and Creative Writing, is housed in the School of Culture and Communication. One cannot argue that Australian Indigenous authors are not Australian or that their writings are not part of what we call ‘Australian literature’. I note that Stephanie did invite an Indigenous author to take part in her seminar on Australian Literature. Additionally, in 2011 the Creative Writing program continued to teach subjects on Australian literature. Obviously these courses feature a large number of Australian writers.