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Room 224, Building 209

Curtin University

Bentley, WA 6102

Australia

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The Centre for Human Rights Education organises research seminars to allow for the dissemination and communication of our research and advocacy to the broader university and wider community. Join us for the second in our Research Seminar Series for 2017 with speaker, Dr Debra Dudek.



From 'Boy Overboard' (2002) to 'The Bone Sparrow' (2016): Refugee and Asylum Seeker Activism in Australian Fiction for Young People

Abstract:

In Literary Activists: Writer-Intellectuals and Australian Public Life, Brigid Rooney notes, “Contemporary Australian writers have been blamed for shying away from political engagement, from the big national issues of the day,” but Australian authors who write for young people regularly represent such big national issues, including the government’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. In this paper, I examine some of the texts for young people that overtly respond to the Australian government’s actions against refugees and asylum seekers. I start with Morris Gleitman’s Boy Overboard, the first book to engage pointedly with this issue, and end with Zana Fraillon’s The Bone Sparrow, the most recent novel in this genre. I outline how these texts represent activism and/or advocate for behaving in ways that promote social justice for refugees and asylum seekers, and I suggest they invite a consideration of friendship as a model for justice.

About the Speaker:

Dr Debra Dudek

Dr Debra Dudek works at the University of Wollongong as a Senior Lecturer in English Literatures and as Director of the Centre for Canadian-Australian Studies. She researches and teaches in the area of social justice and children’s literature and has published internationally on visual and verbal texts for young people in journals such as Papers, Jeunesse, Children’s Literature in Education, Ariel, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, and Overland and in books including Keywords for Children's Literature (NYU Press, 2011) and Seriality and Young People’s Texts (Palgrave 2014). Her book The Beloved Does Not Bite: Moral Vampires and the Humans Who Love Them is forthcoming from Routledge in August 2017. Debra is a visiting researcher at the CHRE for the first half of 2017.

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Room 224, Building 209

Curtin University

Bentley, WA 6102

Australia

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