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Presentation Details


'Whiteness' and Australian Publishing: Taking a Ride on the 'Ethnic Bandwagon'

Raschke Jessica.

This paper considers the ways in which the ideology of 'whiteness' is pervasive in the Australian publishing industry. It explores the history of 'ethnic' or 'multicultural' writing as a means to illuminate how the cultural identities of authors in Australia have been shaped, understood and marketed by Australian publishing industry practices, and how the ideology of 'whiteness' informs such practices.

The paper will consider the relationship between immigration policies, in particular the Australian Multiculturalism Policy that was introduced in the mid-1970s. Certain facets of the policy impacted on arts funding, particularly towards literature, which generated certain ideas about an 'ethnic arts industry' and much speculation about the 'ethnic bandwagon' phenomenon. There were concerns that 'ethnic' writers were not being published and, if they were, that it was an ineffective attempt at reverse discrimination that placed 'ethnic' writers at the periphery of mainstream Australian literature. The paper will address the repercussions of such events and what kinds of changes are evident in the present.

Essentially, the paper will examine how writers are marketed, received and 'labelled' and how this is contingent upon the prevailing social and cultural attitudes towards cultural identity, particularly those which are grounded on notions of 'whiteness'.


Raschke Jessica  (Australia)
PhD Candidate
School of Applied Communication
RMIT University

Jessica Raschke is currently undertaking a PhD at RMIT University, Melbourne, and is conducting research into the positions and representations of 'ethnic' or 'multicultural' writers and their work in the post-war period, during the implentation of the Multiculturalism Policy, to the present. Jessica also works as a freelance book and film reviewer, writer and editor.

  • Whiteness
  • Ethnic
  • Ethnic writers
  • Multicultural
  • Multiculturalism
  • Multiculturalism Policy

(30 min Conference Paper, English)