Towards a Proximate Pedagogy: Teaching Australian Literature in a National English Curriculum

Year: 2010

Author: McLean Davies, Larissa

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper is interested in exploring the place and possibilities of Australian literature in secondary English classrooms. To this end, this paper examines the background and politics of the current debate about teaching Australian literature in subject English, and analyses the ways in which this debate has informed the various iterations of the Australian Curriculum for English released since October 2008. I offer a close analysis of the shifting ways in which Australian literature has been presented in the drafts of the proposed English curriculum, and consider the implications of these representations of national literature for subject English. In the conclusion of this paper, I draw briefly on Ken Gelder’s recent work on “proximate reading” (2009) in order to gesture towards ways in which a study of Australian literature might ‘make a difference’ to the ways in which secondary students negotiate the concepts of nation, identity and belonging in the 21st century.