NELK Research Colloquium Guest Lecture: Chandani Lokuge

Chandani Lokuge (Australian National University)

The Right to Belong: Literary Activism and Australian Citizenship Politics

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 | 10-12 am, c.t. (CET) 6-8 pm, c.t. (AEST) | ZOOM link

One compelling aspect of the power of literature is that it transforms encompassing public issues into humanist stories, whose emotive and cognitive resonances transcend the limits of political propaganda, leading the reader to a deep level of interrogation, philosophical and political integrity, and ethical enquiry. Foregrounding this theory, this paper will interrogate a developing branch of Australian literature, that we may identify as the literature of the non-citizen or non-citizenship literature.

A former Sri Lankan Commonwealth scholar to Australia, Chandani Lokuge is currently affiliated to The Australian National University, Canberra. Previously, she was Associate Professor in Literary Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. During her tenure at Monash (2001-2020), she was the founding director of the Monash Centre for Postcolonial Writing and of the South Asian Diaspora International Research Network (SADIRN). Among her recent academic publications is Mediating Literary Borders: Asian Australian Writing, co-edited with Janet Wilson (Routledge 2018). Edited with Chris Ringrose, her new book, Creative Lives: Interviews with South Asian Diaspora Writers (Ibidem/Columbia University Press) will be published in July 2021. As Editor of the Oxford Classics Reissues series, Chandani published 7 critical editions of pioneering Indian women’s Anglophone writing. Chandani is an awarded novelist. While her earlier books dealt with Sri Lankan-Australian interactions in migration and diaspora, her most recent novel, My Van Gogh (2019), which is set in Australia and France, interrogates tourism as a panacea for ‘soul- loss’. Chandani’s international research appointments include the Ludwig Hirschfeld- Mack Visiting Chair in Australian Studies, Free University Berlin (DAAD); Le Studium International Research Chair in Creative Writing, Advanced Studies Institute, Loire Valley, France; and guest professorships at Humanities Centre, Harvard University and NELK, Goethe University Frankfurt.