Storytelling in Literature, Language and Culture

36th Congress of AULLA

Auckland University

Auckland, New Zealand

7-9 February 2011

The 36th Congress of the Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association (AULLA) will be a wide-ranging exploration of ‘Storytelling in Literature, Language, and Culture.’

Storytelling is a defining impulse of the human and inflects all we say and do. Stories arise within us and our lives are encompassed and driven by them. Stories deliver innumerable forms of meaning and affect, and they proliferate beyond the zone of the human to emerge through compelling natural patterns and processes. Storytelling is a sermon, an aesthetic exercise, a hopeless cry, and a bridge to ‘others’ beyond the self. How do stories of the general overrun and manage stories of the particular, and how do the micro stories do or undo the work of the macro? We live our lives as much within stories as beyond them and they frequently escape their own bounds. ­

As well as sending our lives on trajectories of meaning or fantasies of escape, stories real and fictive may incarcerate, torture and destroy the human and humane. There are political and technological dimensions to telling (owning, circulating, controlling) stories. Media old and new are not neutral, but constrain what are the dominant stories and how they are told. Indigenous storytelling in Australia, New Zealand and around the world, possesses unique power to speak to the present not just from non-European pasts, but from other present realities, and indeed to speak of other possible futures. The European and Asian languages themselves possess and express complex identities that are conveyed, enriched and deconstructed through processes of use, research, learning, and teaching.

How are stories told and analyzed, formed or deformed within differing disciplines, genres and ideologies in the humanities? How do we retell the stories of the literature, languages and cultures we study, with what aims or effects? What can we say of the interconnections and blendings, the flightlines and songlines of stories and of tellings through space and time?

Plenary speakers:

Meaghan Morris, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, and Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney

Ewan Fernie, Department of English, Royal Holloway University of London

Brian Boyd, Department of English, University of Auckland

AULLA will soon be inviting submission of abstracts for papers and panels relating to ‘Storytelling in Literature, Language, and Culture’. There will be opportunities for delegates to have their papers considered for refereed publication including in a refereed ‘Proceedings’ of the conference published in 2011 as a online special edition of the association’s journal, AUMLA. Further details will be appearing in coming weeks on the AULLA website: