Towards Anti-Racist Nature: Asian Australian Environmental Literature and Art

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    The Covid-19 pandemic has raised global awareness of how white supremacy and structures of inequality characterise both global ecological crises and racist xenophobia. Emerging from the junction of critical race studies and the environmental humanities, the field of ethnic ecocriticism addresses how concepts of race and nature are closely entwined, arguing to expand the meaning of nature from a privileged white refuge to a terrain of power that has been deployed for racial exclusion. Within this development, Asian Australian ecological imaginations, however, has not yet become the focus of academic analysis. This is a significant gap in the knowledge considering how stories of land and place are powerful ways of signifying belonging in Australia and that Asian immigrants and refugees have always been regulated through the spatial politics of borders and territory as outsiders in the nation. My project will address this gap by producing the first research monograph on Asian Australian ecocriticism, with important insights for understanding the cultural politics of race and place in national, transnational, and climate-changing contexts.

    How does the land shape Asian Australian belonging and how does migrant storytelling remake landscapes? What interracial, intercultural, and interspecies ethics emerge in Asian Australian cultural expressions? How does the nonhuman transform Asian Australian identity politics? What literary and thought experiments and alternative futures appear in Asian Australian stories about climate change and the Anthropocene? This project will combine methods of textual analysis, visual art analysis, and interviewing to: 1) map the national and transnational narratives of Asian Australian place-making in relation to migrant labour, diasporic memory, racism, and interracial alliance; 2) develop multispecies modes of inquiry to examine the relationship between racism and speciesism; 3) theorise Asian Australian speculative literary forms about climate change and futurity; 4) facilitate an innovative eco- dialogue between literary studies and the creative arts; 5) produce two research articles, an academic monograph, a popular article, as well an interview and workshop series aimed at public conversations about the role of the arts in driving climate action and building a more inclusive society. This project is expected to generate original knowledge of migrant materiality and ecocriticism in relation to a long history of transnational exchange between Asia and Australia, as well as providing the first systematic study of a developing body of anti-racist environmental imaginations that have been taking root in the Asian Australian arts
    Effective start/end date1/01/23 → …


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