Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

Clark Center Funding Recipient Profiles, 2012-13

Tue, December 17, 2013

Anushka Jasraj   


Graduate Student, Department of English, University of Texas at Austin           

I arrived in Adelaide on 15th June, and was invited to attend the English Discipline’s Postgraduate Symposium on June 18th and 19th. The conference included presentations by Creative Writing as well as English Literature postgraduates. There were new postgraduates who were presenting their work for the first time, and some second and third year students as well. I was also asked to give the opening address on June 18th, where I talked about the MFA at UT-Austin and read an excerpt of my own work. On June 19th there was a Reading evening at the Wheatsheaf Hotel, organized by Alison Coppe, where students read and performed their creative work. During the symposium I had the opportunity to get to know the other postgraduates and learn about their work.

On 2nd July and 9th July I attended the Lee Marvin Readings at Dark Horsey bookshop, where I had the opportunity to meet some writers from Adelaide, and hear their work. Professor Nicholas Jose hosted the readings on 2nd July, where other faculty and postgraduates presented their work as well.

Dr. Carol Lefevre invited me to sit in on the first Travel Writing lecture of the Winter School. There was a lecture by travel writer Max Anderson, following which the class split up for smaller discussion sections. I sat in on a session tutored by Emma McEwin, which I found particularly interesting because I was to lead a discussion section for an undergraduate creative writing class during the Fall 2013 semester. It was helpful to observe how Emma engaged the class, and I enjoyed participating in the in-class writing activities with the undergraduates, and hearing about their experiences in Adelaide.  

Apart from these events, the rest of my time was spent exploring the city, meeting with postgraduates in a more informal environment, and working on my thesis. I was assigned a desk in the postgraduate office and I had a library pass that allowed me to borrow books. I stayed at the Kathleen Lumley College, which is a graduate residence about fifteen minutes away from campus.

On 12th July I gave a postgraduate seminar. The topic I chose was “Historical Fiction Conventions and the Mughals in South Asian Literature.” I read from a paper I had written as part of my coursework during the Spring 2013 semester. The seminar was chaired by Professor Brian Castro and was fairly informal. I found the feedback I received after the seminar extremely helpful since the paper I read did not yet have a conclusion. Overall, the internship was a wonderful experience and the most valuable thing it offered me was the time I needed to work on my thesis. I was also introduced to many wonderful new writers, and I enjoyed taking on new and different perspectives.

D'Arcy Randall, Ph.D. D'Arcy

Senior Lecturer, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin 

The Clark Center travel grant enabled me to take up a Fryer Library Fellowship offered by the University of Queensland in 2012. Timing constraints prevented me from using the funds that year, but the Fryer librarians agreed that I could return to the St. Lucia (Brisbane) campus in the Summer of 2013 to spend more time in both the established Archives and the editorial files of the University of Queensland Press (UQP). I am writing a memoir about my work as a fiction editor for UQP during the 1980s, with a specific focus on women authors such as Thea Astley, Olga Masters, and Kate Grenville. Access to both sets of archives has been essential for this project. The Clark Center grant also allowed me to make a trip to Sydney, where I made critical discoveries in the Mitchell Library and met with former UQP authors and colleagues.

Between the Fryer and UQP, I was able to find nearly all of the archival material I needed for the memoir. In addition, I drafted two chapters and saw opportunities for writing more scholarly versions that will fill gaps in current research. For instance, the memoir chapter on Thea Astley will focus on our author-editor relationship. A more scholarly article, however, will address a gap of information about Astley’s larger publishing relationship with UQP, and UQP’s role in her long but ultimately successful ambition to find a US publisher.  The scholarly article will be useful for at least three works in progress: a biography of Astley, a study of Astley’s publishing history, and a longer study of US editions of Australian books. Over the spring and summer I both met and corresponded with the scholars working with all three projects.

In Brisbane I also worked with Fryer librarians and UQP management to review 77 boxes of UQP editorial files that will be added to the Fryer’s existing UQP Archive. Former UQP colleague Sue Abbey and I found and recovered boxes of important editorial material relating to the David Unaipon Prize for Indigenous Writers; Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang (winner of the Mann Booker Prize in 2001); plus correspondence, manuscripts, and proofs for leading Black writers Melissa Lucashenko, Mudrooroo, and Alexis Wright. Abbey and I discussed possible future work on UQP’s Black writing list and attended the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival, which featured Lucashenko, plus other UQP writers Peter Carey, Trevor Shearston, and Matthew Condon.

At the University of Queensland, I met frequently with scholars in the field of Australian literature and literary history: Bronwen Levy, David Carter, Laurie Hergenhan, William Hatherell, and Deborah Jordan. I also reviewed the Astley material with former UQP manager Frank Thompson and former Head Editor Merril Yule, who helped fill in the backstories for some of their correspondence.

In Sydney I visited the Mitchell Library to review early drafts of Kate Grenville’s novel Dreamhouse, which will likely be the focus of my chapter on Grenville. I also met with Grenville herself, who provided a serendipitous connection with the Astley story. I discussed UQP’s migrant writing with Angelo Loukakis, former UQP author and now Executive Director for the Australian Society of Authors; this discussion will inform my chapter on Rosa Cappiello and migrant women writers. Former UQP editor and publishing manager Craig Munro offered outstanding advice for and research help with the Elizabeth Jolley chapter.  Finally, I maintained contact with Seven Writers (another Australian research project) through a meeting with Sara Dowse.



Robert Schaffer robert

Graduate Student, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin 

In spring of 2013, I was fortunate enough to receive a research fellowship from the Clark Center for Australia and New Zealand Studies. I used the fellowship money to support a research trip to Australia, where I gathered data on Australian environmental legislation and policy implementation. The trip lasted for approximately six weeks (June 1-July 15), and was split between travel (in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra) and a visiting scholar appointment at Australian National University (ANU). The information I gathered will contribute to a multidisciplinary project on US, Australian, and Canadian environmental law, which combines legislative politics with scientific and administrative implementation data.

I spent approximately half of the trip contacting and interviewing Australian environmental NGOs. Most prominently, I interviewed several lawyers and analysts from the Australian Network of Environmental Defenders’ Offices, a government-funded organization that argues most of the public interest environmental cases in Australia. I also spoke with staffers from Greenpeace, Humane Society International, and the Invasive Species Council; between them, these organizations bring a large proportion of the lawsuits, public comments, and petitions authorized under the major Australian environmental statutes, making them an important part of the policymaking process. Finally, I talked to several members of Australian environmental agencies and public auditing organizations, which gave me an insider perspective on the environmental regulatory process.

In total, I conducted 9 formal interviews (approximately one to two hours each), as well as numerous informal phone, email, and personal conversations. These interviews were primarily information-gathering exercises, as participants helped me to locate relevant resources from other organizations. I also worked with academics from four different Australian universities (Australian National University; University of Queensland; University of Melbourne; University of Canberra) across multiple disciplines (biology; law; political science), where we exchanged ideas and data that has greatly enriched my project’s intellectual background.

Aside from the interviews, I also collected an array of original data on Australian environmental policy implementation. These data primarily quantify government adherence to administrative requirements, including various deadlines, reporting provisions, and litigation frequency. Most of this information only covers the federal government, however, I was also able to obtain some limited data on comparable state-level programs in Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales. Public reports by the Australian Senate, the Department of Environment, the Australian National Audit Office, and the Commission on Productivity provided most of the information I obtained (covering 2000-present, the lifetime of the primary Australian federal environmental statute). I supplemented these data with NGO and academic information, including litigation and implementation data maintained by Dr. Andrew Macintosh (ANU) and Dr. Chris McGrath (University of Queensland; Queensland Environmental Defender’s Office), as well as figures maintained by the Australian Network of Environmental Defenders’ Offices and Humane Society International.

On the legislative side, I gathered and studied an array of Parliamentary speeches and party statements surrounding the passage and amendment of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (the primary Australian federal environmental statute). These speeches and statements allowed me to track the law’s legislative history, giving me greater insight into the design principles underlying the statute. Cataloguing the Parliamentary debates also allowed me to connect implementation data with stated MP voting motivations, helping me to develop and explore hypotheses regarding statutory design and amendment. Most of the statements I examined dated from the original EPBC Act debates in 1998 and 1999, as well as the debates over major amendments to the statute passed in 2006. I also read and gathered oversight hearings and reports from the Australian Senate, which has produced a number of reports on EPBC Act implementation and proposed amendments.

Finally, I explored potential Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Department of Environment and the Australian National Audit Office. In both cases, I inquired about various internal implementation figures, which were collected but not publicized by both departments. Officials provided me with some of the information I requested, and informed me that most of the rest would be made available in a forthcoming update to government web databases. If these data are not made available by November of 2013, I intend to submit a formal FOIA request to obtain them.

All together, the interviews and data I collected in Australia will contribute to my professional development in several important ways. In the short term, I plan to publish my findings in law and political science outlets, as well as present my research at the ANZSANA annual conference. The ideas and connections I developed during the trip will also lead to new and exciting collaborative efforts, both with American and with Australian academics. In the United States, for example, I am already exploring a potential collaboration with Professor David Adelman (UT Law School). Various ANU professors have also offered to advise, sponsor, and/or support me financially on future trips to Australia, including Andrew Banfield, Keith Dowding, Juliet Pietsch, Marshall Clarke (all School of Politics and International Relations), and Andrew Macintosh (School of Law). Finally, all of the data and contacts I gathered will help support my long-term dissertation research, helping me to develop and test hypotheses regarding statutory design and policy implementation in the comparative context.

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