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Metaphors are indispensable tools for making sense of reality, including the ongoing reality of systemic colonial relations—or to obfuscate it (to deflect the need to enact substantive decolonisation agendas, for example). In times of crisis they perform a crucial role in translating and interpreting a rapidly changing world.

Viral phenomena have multiplied recently, literally and metaphorically. But all crises generate metaphorical languages. Terrorism was not a virus, it was a bacterial formation; the GFC was a fierce and incontrollable storm… The ‘Canberra bubble’ – a bad thing – has become the ‘family bubble’ – a good thing. To understand what is at stake in the metaphors we use and the ways they are deployed, we need a critical engagement with their underlying assumptions, their rhetorical operation, their ideological effects, and their real-world implications.

Session 3

The colonial present and its metaphors

Friday 18 September

How does the language we use connect the colonial past and present?

Sara-Maria Sorentino (Gender & Race Studies, Alabama), “‘Pathology without Pathos’: A Transvaluation of Blackness and Metaphors of Disease”.

Scott Newman (Northwestern; literature, UCLA), ‘Decolonising the Mouth; or, Listening to Zimbabwean Literature’.

Rahul K Gairola (English & Post-Colonial Literature, Murdoch), ‘From Metaphor to Meme: Memsahib Figures from Lean’s A Passage to India to the Internet’s “Karen” Trend’.

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Date: 18 September 2020
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Location: IPCS Online
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A series hosted by the Institute of Postcolonial Studies and the ANU Centre for Law Arts and Humanities.

Convened by Desmond Manderson (Australian National University) and Lorenzo Veracini (Swinburne University).