Australia – Reality, Stereotype, Vision
12th Biennial Conference of the Association for Australian Studies
30.09.-02.10.2010, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
Convener: Prof. Dr. Adi Wimmer
The 12th Biennial GAST Conference focuses on aspects of Australian culture in relation to imagery. What images of the fifth continent circulate in Europe? Is it limited to kangaroos and koalas or are there more substantial images? How do such images differ from those of our nineteenth and twentieth century forebears? What notions and images have Australians developed of themselves? Can we trace their origins, perhaps through the media? In what ways have ecological, political and cultural developments of the last three decades (the “Stolen Generations” to name but one) changed autostereotypes as well as heterostereotypes? Have the numerous Discovery programs on European TV channels, demonstrating the unique nature of the Australian outback, raised our ecological awareness? What about the economy? The world financial crisis has prompted German Reality-TV to rediscover emigration to overseas destinations. Does this imply a renewed interest in ‘Godsown’ Australia? Certain social indicators would tend to justify an increasing interest in Australia. For instance, Australia’s ranking in the PISA survey (5th as opposed to Germany’s 16th) or a UN survey of 2004 that saw Australia ranked number one in the world in relation to gender equality. (Sweden and Finland came 2nd and 3rd respectively.) Has our increased knowledge of the Antipodes resulted in a shift of collective visions or stereotypes?