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Abstract

This paper discusses the historical background and significance of the two most important national holidays in New Zealand: Waitangi Day and Anzac Day. Waitangi Day is celebrated on the 6th February and it commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between British representatives and a number of Māori chiefs in 1840. Following the signing of the treaty New Zealand became effectively a British colony. Anzac Day is celebrated on 25th April, i.e., on the anniversary of the landing of soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey in 1915, during World War One. There are three major differences between these two holidays: the process of those days becoming national holidays, the level of contestation, and the changing messages they have carried. The present study analyzes the national discourse around Anzac Day and Waitangi Day in New Zealand, and attempts to reveal how the official New Zealand government rhetoric about national unity becomes deconstructed. The following analysis is based on a selection of online articles from the New Zealand Herald and Stuff published in Auckland and Wellington, respectively. Both cities are populated by multi-ethnic groups, with Auckland featuring the largest Māori population.

Abstract

This article investigates the history of the Queensland cane sugar industry and its cultural and political relations. It explores the way the sugar industry was transformed from an enterprise drawing on the traditional plantation crop cultivated by an unfree labour force and employing workers into an industry that was an important, symbolical element of ‘White Australia’ that was firmly grounded in the cultural, political, nationalist, and racist reasoning of the day. The demographic and social changes drew their incitement and legitimation from the ‘White Australia’ culture that was represented in all social strata. Australia was geographically remote but culturally close to the mother country and was assigned a special position as a lone outpost of Western culture. This was aggravated by scenarios of allegedly imminent invasions by the surrounding Asian powers, which further urged cane sugar’s transformation from a ‘black’ to a ‘white man’s industry’. As a result, during the sugar strikes of the early 20th century, the white Australian sugar workers were able to emphasize their ‘whiteness’ to press for improvements in wages and working conditions. Despite being a matter of constant discussion, the public acceptance of the ‘white sugar campaign’ was reflected by the high consumption of sugar. Moreover, the industry was lauded for its global uniqueness and its significance to the Australian nation. Eventually, the ‘burden’ of ‘white sugar’ was a monetary, but even more so moral support of an industry that was supposed to provide a solution to population politics, support the national defence, and symbolize the technological advancement and durability of the ‘white race’ in a time of crisis.

Abstract

The aim of this article is to analyse the relationship that second- and third-generation Italian migrants in Australia have with the Italian dialect of their family. We report on the survey we recently carried out among young Italian-Australians, mainly learners of Italian as a second language. First, we analyse the motivation behind learning Italian as a heritage language. We then move on to describe their self-evaluation of their competence in the dialect of their family, and their perception thereof. Surprisingly, our survey reveals that not only are Italian dialects still understood by most second- and third-generation Italians (contrary to what people may think), but Italian dialects are also perceived by young Italian-Australians as an important part of their identity. For them, dialect is the language of the family, particularly in relation to the older members. It fulfills an instrumental function, as it enables communication with some family members who master neither English nor Italian, but above all, it is functional to the construction of their self and their social identity.

Abstract

Australia features in numerous Victorian novels either as a place of exile or a land of new opportunities, perhaps the most memorable image of the country having been presented in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (1861). Anthony Trollope’s writing, however, offers a much more extensive and complex presentation of Australian life as seen by a Victorian English gentleman. In his Australian fictions, including Harry Heathcote of Gangoil (1874), Catherine Carmichael (1878), and John Caldigate (1879), he presents Australia both as a land of new opportunities and as a place where social hierarchy as it is known in England is upturned and social boundaries either disregarded or drawn along different lines. The present article is concerned with the ways in which Trollope’s John Caldigate represents differences in the structure of English and Australian society, stressing the latter’s lack of a clear class hierarchy characteristic of social organisation “back home”. The society of Australia is presented as extremely plastic and mobile - both in terms of space and structure. Consequently, it can hardly be contained within a stiffly defined hierarchy, and it seems to defy the rules of social organisation that are accepted as natural and obvious in England. In Trollope’s fiction success in Australia depends to a large extent on hard work, ability to withstand the hardships of life with no luxuries, and thrift, and thus on personal virtues, but the author nevertheless suggests that it is defined solely by economic capital at the cost of cultural capital, so significant in England.

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Abstract

The article is an analysis of the representation of Australian nurses in Thomas Keneally 2012 First World War novel, The Daughters of Mars. Inspired by rigorous research, Keneally fictionalizes the lives of two nursing sisters in the Middle East, on a hospital ship in the Dardanelles, as well as in hospitals and casualty clearing stations on the Western Front. His novel thus reclaims an important facet of the medical history of the First World War. The author of the article situates her analysis in the context of historical research on the First World War and the Australian Anzac myth, illuminating the specifically Australian elements in Keneally’s portrait of the Durance sisters. She demonstrates that The Daughters of Mars celebrates the achievements of “Anzac girls”, negotiating a place for them in the culture of commemoration. Yet, at the same time, Keneally attempts to include his female protagonists in the “manly” world of Anzac values, privileging heroism over victimization. Consequently, they become “misfits of war”, eagerly accepting imperial and nationalist ideologies. Thus, in a way characteristic of Australian First World War literature, The Daughters of Mars fuses the tropes of affirmation and desolation.

Abstract

This article investigates the intersections between Shakespeare’s Hamlet and a popular TV series Sons of Anarchy (SOA), loosely based on the Shakespearean original. The crime drama series revolves around an outlaw motorcycle club that literally “rules” a fictional town in California like an old royal family with its own brutal dynastic power squabbles and dark family secrets. The club is governed by an unscrupulous President Clay and an equally violent, though more conflicted, Vice President Jax Teller, the son of the late President, who had died in mysterious circumstances. In the article I argue that the popularity of the series lies not in its graphic scenes of violence, over-the-top Harley chases, and sex intrigues, but rather in its Shakespearean and Renaissance structure. SOA, dubbed as “Hamlet on Harleys”1, is an appropriation rather than an adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy, which makes it a truly transmedial phenomenon. The article investigates a fascinating blend of seemingly marginal elements of modern American culture and the canonical British tragedy. It also addresses the connections between the lifestyles of the so called outlaw MC clubs and the early modern family structure as presented in Hamlet, focusing on the issues of power and gender relations.

Abstract

While large-scale language and writing assessments benefit from a wealth of literature on the reliability and validity of specific tests and rating procedures, there is comparatively less literature that explores the specific language of second language writing rubrics. This paper provides an analysis of the language of performance descriptors for the public versions of the TOEFL and IELTS writing assessment rubrics, with a focus on linguistic agency encoded by agentive verbs and language of ability encoded by modal verbs can and cannot. While the IELTS rubrics feature more agentive verbs than the TOEFL rubrics, both pairs of rubrics feature uneven syntax across the band or score descriptors with either more agentive verbs for the highest scores, more nominalization for the lowest scores, or language of ability exclusively in the lowest scores. These patterns mirror similar patterns in the language of college-level classroom-based writing rubrics, but they differ from patterns seen in performance descriptors for some large-scale admissions tests. It is argued that the lack of syntactic congruity across performance descriptors in the IELTS and TOEFL rubrics may reflect a bias in how actual student performances at different levels are characterized.

Abstract

African American literature on the Middle Passage has always challenged white supremacy’s language with its power to define and control. This article demonstrates how the border of such a “Universal Language” is challenged and trespassed in Clarence Major’s ekphrastic poem “The Slave Trade: View from the Middle Passage” in order to communicate – through the implementation of the voice of a disembodied water spirit Mfu – the black perspective on understanding the slave trade and effectively resist the symbolic cannibalism of Western Culture. The trope of antropophagy often appears in Middle Passage poems in the context of (mis)communication (which results in the production of controlling, racist images of blacks) and stands as a sign of Euro-American power to create the historical, hierarchical, racial reality of the Atlantic slave trade in its economic and symbolic dimensions. The strategy implemented by Major in his poetic confrontation with representation of historical slave trade in European and American Fine arts may be classified as “off-modern” (to use Svetlana Boym’s (2001) nomenclature), which immediately places his poem in a “tradition of critical reflection on the modern condition that incorporates nostalgia” as a means of a critical analysis of the heritage and limitations of a given culture. My claim is that the poem’s “off-modern nostalgia” perspective is a version of textualist strategy which Henry Louis Gates (1988) identifies as Signifyin(g). Major/Mfu successfully perforates and destabilizes the assumed objectivity and neutrality of the images of blacks and blackness created and circulated within the realm of the visual arts of the dominant Western Culture. In “The Slave Trade: View from the Middle Passage” Signifyin(g) takes the form of what could be called an ekphrastic (re)interpretation of actual works of art and joins in the critique of essentialist views often associated with understanding of meaning.

Abstract

The speaker’s gender is a crucial factor affecting the acoustic features of the voice. One such feature is voice intensity, also known as sound pressure level (SPL). Previous studies have indicated that the female voice may involve lower values of SPL than the male voice. Moreover, there are suggestions that the variability of voice intensity tends to be lower for women than for men as well.

The major aim of this paper is to examine the effects of literary character’s gender on the reader’s SPL, measured in decibels (dB), and the variability of voice intensity, measured as the standard deviation (SD) of SPL, while reading prose aloud. The secondary aims are to investigate the general shifts of SPL and SD of SPL in dialogues independently of other variables and to consider the possible effects of the reader’s gender and the reader’s dialect. In order to accomplish these tasks, a representative sample of dialogue excerpts with male and female characters was used. Each fragment was located in the corresponding audiobook and analysed in terms of the two acoustic features under discussion. Typical values of SPL and the SD of SPL for different readers were measured in the entire chapters from which fragments were selected and the results were compared with those obtained from the extracts. In this way, it was possible to establish the relative shifts of SPL and the SD of SPL for each of the analysed fragments.

Contrary to what had been expected, a statistical analysis of the results revealed no effects of the character’s gender on any of the response variables. However, conclusions concerning secondary aims were more definitive. A general trend to decrease the SD of SPL in dialogues in comparison to the rest of the text in a novel was observed. This tendency is independent of any of the factors included in the study. It was also observed that male American readers tend to lower their voice intensity when reading dialogues. All these findings may be applied in developing text to speech software.