By S. Perera
So much experiences of Australia start with the “the island-continent.” the encompassing oceans are little greater than a backdrop for the dramas that happen on dry land. this is often the 1st ebook to show its recognition to the oceans and coastlines that make and remake the boundaries of Australia via occasions resembling the coming of asylum seekers’ boats, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Bali bombings and maritime peacekeeping missions within the Pacific. opposed to the imperatives of struggle, safeguard, relief and catastrophe, numerous configurations of our bodies, boats, borders and shorelines testify to the facility and the bounds of Australia’s insular illusion.
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Extra info for Australia and the Insular Imagination: Beaches, Borders, Boats, and Bodies
The legislative blockage of Malay Road in 1908 completes Australia’s insulation from the continent of Asia. ”56 The island will operate as a “plot” that organizes bodies and histories within its boundaries into a narrative that serves the ends of nation. The plotting of Australia as an insular formation both expels the “foreign” bodies around its edges and encloses Indigenous peoples more closely within clearly demarcated national borders. 57 The inauguration of this new geography confers a new territorial as well as racial corporeality on the geo-body of the island-continent.
This ungrounded, ungovernable oceanic defines the borders of the sociopolitical and historical as it delineates the outermost reaches of the state. The image of Canute vainly commanding the tides is a performance of the boundedness of sovereign power, and its proper, that is, its naturalized, limits. As a caution against sovereign overreach, the tale of Canute reinforces the divide between land and sea. The wild, ungovernable expanse 34 Australia and the Insular Imagination of ocean appears innocent of, and even inimical to, the political and historical.
15 This abuse of sovereign power provokes an overthrow of the natural order. While Richard is preoccupied with an ill-judged invasion of Ireland, England itself is invaded by the vengeful Bullingbrook. ”18 The speech is more accurately described, perhaps, as amalgamating old and new island sentiments, combining a nostalgic longing for “All the Water in the Rough Rude Sea” 37 a “land-bound, soil-bound” vision of England with an anticipation of the oceanic expansion of Englishness through empire.