This subject examines the inter-relations between literary writing and reading, cultural institutions and political movements and ideologies in Australian history. We are interested in the ways in which literary intellectuals (novelists, poets, journalists, critics, editors, etc.) have been influenced by social and political movements, and how they have used literary and other forms of writing as ways of engaging in political struggles and cultural debates.
The subject thus encourages consideration of how literary texts are written and read in different historical and institutional contexts. In addition to learning about major cultural and political events and developments in Australia in the periods examined, you will be developing skills in the 'social reading' of literary texts. The main focus will be on reading and discussing an array of interesting and stimulating works of literature, and finding ways of relating them meaningfully to their social contexts.