澳研中心座谈通告——Prof. Nicole Moore University of New South Wales in Canberra
SEIS Academic Forum Series
Forum on Australian Studies(NO.29)
Surveillance of Travelling Writers and the International Reach of Australia’s Cultural Cold War
Prof. Nicole Moore? University of New South Wales in Canberra
Time: 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Date: 13 Sept., 2016 (Tuesday)
Venue: Room 115, English Building, BFSU
When they travelled internationally in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly to socialist countries, Australian postwar writers such as Frank Hardy, Dorothy Hewett and others were closely followed by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).This endeavour was parallel and yet opposite to the kind of surveillance exercised over the notional enemies of these left wing writers (but also over them) in Europe, by the Stasi and by Soviet agencies. ASIO’s files richly document these excursions behind the iron curtain,exposing the means by which state security secretly documented, and also shaped and directed, the lives and work of key cultural figures, including their engagement with the wider world. What do we make of these files now – made in secret, kept secret, aiming to silence, but now employed as powerful forms of counter-history?
A negative literalisation of Paul Ricoeur’s oppositely configured ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’, the formal narrative modes of testimonial distrust and affective (mis)recognition at work in the files are greatly revealing. As contemporary historical attention switches from the subjects of the files to the reporting operatives—the agents themselves, spies in the heart of Australian cultural life—the redacted evidence of their watching, reading, recording and reporting exposes a determining conflict between privacy and secrecy at the heart of surveillance. These writers’ files register the profound epistemological uncertainty on which, Timothy Mellor argues, the secret state depends.
Professor Nicole Moore is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in English at the University of New South Wales in Canberra. She is author of The Censor’s Library (UQP 2012), editor of Censorship and the Limits of the Literary: A Global View (Bloomsbury 2015), co-editor with Christina Spittel of Reading Through the Iron Curtain: Australian Literature in the German Democratic Republic (Anthem 2016), and, with Nicholas Birns and Sarah Shieff, Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literatures, published by the MLA Options for Teaching series (forthcoming 2016). She is current President of the Australian University Heads of English (AUHE) and serves on the AustLit database management board. Her fellowship funds a biography of Dorothy Hewett.