By S. Perera
Such a lot reports of Australia start with the “the island-continent.” the encircling oceans are little greater than a backdrop for the dramas that ensue on dry land. this can be the 1st e-book to show its awareness to the oceans and coastlines that make and remake the bounds of Australia via occasions similar to the arriving of asylum seekers’ boats, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Bali bombings and maritime peacekeeping missions within the Pacific. opposed to the imperatives of warfare, protection, reduction and catastrophe, a variety of configurations of our bodies, boats, borders and seashores testify to the ability and the boundaries of Australia’s insular illusion.
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Additional info for Australia and the Insular Imagination: Beaches, Borders, Boats, and Bodies
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. Insularity, recoded as Englishness, registers as a protean and adaptable discourse that shifts from being “land-bound” and “soil-bound” to signify as a moral and racial attribute. Gaunt’s references to the realms of “stubborn Jewry” and English monarchs’ far-flung renown for “Christian service and true chivalry” foreshadow later imperial claims to religious and cultural superiority over other unredeemed parts of the globe.
Here Macknight’s reference to the “ideology of a whole continent for one people” is usefully glossed by Winichakul’s discussion of “territoriality”: We all know how important the territoriality of a nation is. Unarguably it is the most concrete feature, the most solid foundation, literally and connotatively, of nationhood as a whole. There are innumerable concepts, practices, and institutions related to it . . the concept of integrity and sovereignty; border control, armed conflict, invasions, and wars; the territorial definition of national economy, products, industries, trade, tax, custom duties, education, administration, culture, and so on .
6 This vision of the ocean as free and open space takes hold at a high point in the collaboration between sea power, mercantilism, and empire. Similarly, the hegemonic understanding of the sea as “global” space is accomplished at the same historical moment when Britannia, imagined as a small, solitary island, imperially rules the waves. The linked inscriptions of the ocean, the beach, and the island in Australian national imaginaries reproduce and rework these broader contradictions and disavowals.