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'Something Rich and Strange':

Interdisciplinary Studies of the Beach, The Sea and Contact Exploring Cultural Landscapes, Identities and Heritage



Centre for Research in the New Literatures in English (CRNLE), English and Cultural Studies Department, Flinders University

Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island
12-14 December, 2005


Yet again we have chosen to hold our conference at Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island as a result of overwhelming enthusiasm from previous conference delegates. The Centre for Research in the New Literatures in English (CRNLE) and the English and Cultural Studies Department at Flinders University are planning a three-day conference to be held in the second week of December, 2005 (12th to 14th). The conference theme is:

'Something Rich and Strange': Interdisciplinary Studies of the Beach, The Sea and Contact Exploring Cultural Landscapes, Identities and Heritage.

For a conference venue overlooking the sea, we have overlooked the sea and the beach as a topic for too long. So, for the 2005 Kangaroo Island conference, we are concentrating on the sea and the beach as a site of various kinds of contact, making possible all kinds of sea changes. A contact site for maritime heritage, a contact site of encounters between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, a contact site for beach/littoral cultures, and a site of physical contact between land and sea, a liminal space.

While this conference will pursue the above themes, we also welcome general interdisciplinary research, and we particularly encourage postgraduate students to present aspects of their research projects. Depending on interest, these miscellaneous presentations may take the form of a postgraduate symposium or another alternative format.

 Ariel's Song

 Full fathom five thy father lies;

            Of his bones are coral made;

Those are pearls that were his eyes;

            Nothing of him that doth fade

But doth suffer a sea-change

Into something rich and strange.

                                Shakespeare, The Tempest.


 I walk along a narrow ledge

of sandstone at the water's edge,

and thought like water takes its own

shape in the hollows of the mind.


This littoral

margin of land and water still

vibrates with life, where life began.

                        Gwen Harwood, Littoral


We already have a good number, dealing with most interesting topics. Here's an attempt to describe the range thus far, which may help you in writing up your paper and to make connections with other papers:

health & the beach
the zone between sea and land
'first wave' encounters between Indigenous people and the invaders
Kangaroo Island history
Tasmanian history
art works inspired by underwater life
missionaries & maritime culture
convict stations on remote shores
convicts escaping by whale boats
shore-based whaling
the idea of the sea as death
sharks in the Australian imagination
Jack London & the idea of the seadog
Errol Flynn & his writings
Philip Drew's ideas on Australian coastal/spatial culture
water/the sea in certain poets
beach holidays
beaches and cultural memory

Please also feel free to offer papers that are creatively presented, as we have quite a number of 'creative' proposals!

This theme has been generated by successfully completed research projects, previously supported by Flinders University, and others currently being undertaken by members of CRNLE. The conference will be convened by Dr Rick Hosking, with assistance from Nena Bierbaum, Dr Syd Harrex, Chad Habel, Kay Merry, Michael Savvas and Paul Sutton.


Given our experience of organising five highly successful international/national conferences in the past five years (Home and Away 8-10 November, 2000; Encounters 2001, 9-12 December 2001; Diasporas, 8-11 December, 2002; Writing London 8-10 December, 2003 and Journeying and Journalling 6-8 December 2004), we can confidently predict that our conference will attract approximately 30-40 participants including a significant number of post-graduate students from Flinders and elsewhere. The Writing London Conference was inspired by the publication of Lee Kok Liang's previously unpublished novel London Does Not Belong to Me (Petaling Jaya: Maya Press, 2003, edited by Syd Harrex and Bernard Wilson, with an Introduction by K.S. Maniam, pp. 331).

We also plan to referee, select and edit papers for book publication (as is our custom). We anticipate that up to about 20% of the presented papers will be by Flinders staff and higher degree students. Incidentally, the past five conferences have resulted in five books: Alas, for the Pelicans! Flinders, Baudin and Beyond (Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2002, pp. 221), The Regenerative Spirit Volume 1: Polarities of Home and Away, Encounters and Diasporas, in Post-colonial Literatures (Adelaide: Lythrum Press, 2004, pp.220), The Regenerative Spirit Volume 2: (Un)settling, (Dis)locations, (Post-)colonial, (Re)Presentations  Australian Post-Colonial Reflections (Adelaide: Lythrum Press, 2004, pp.304), Writing London (being prepared for publication May 2005) and one other due for publication in 2005 based on the Journeying and Journalling Conference.




Please send your abstracts by email to Nena Bierbaum



Please follow the links for booking accommodation, Sealink ferry and bus bookings, a Kangaroo Island Tour, tourist information and the registration payment form.

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