|Chapter :||Introduction: Australian Literature as Postcolonial Literature|
settler cultures “a place on the table of cultural repression, dispersal, and interpellation” (157). Interestingly, Young does not cite the postcolonial theorists Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin (two of whom are Australian, and the third an Australian resident) despite the centrality to postcolonial studies of their work, especially The Empire Writes Back. Graham Huggan, a leading postcolonial theorist and critic who has written extensively about Australian literature, notes in his recent book Australian Literature: Postcolonialism, Racism, Transnationalism that “[i]t is sometimes forgotten that one of the foundational critical texts for postcolonial literary studies, The Empire Writes Back … was written by three Australians” (28).5 Henry Schwarz, an American critic, argues that The Empire Writes Back “canonized” the term “post-colonial” in academia (14). Gaurav Desai and Supriya Nair, the editors of Postcolonialisms: An Anthology of Cultural Theory and Criticism, also present a version of postcolonialism that favors Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean and largely excludes the settler colonies. The words “Australia” and “Australian” do not even appear in the index to Desai and Nair's collection, and of the thirty-seven essays presented in the anthology, only one deals with Australia. Moreover, the essay that focuses on Australia, Pal Ahluwalia's “When Does a Settler Become a Native? Citizenship and Identity in a Settler Society,” does not address a single work of Australian literature. The non-Australian neophyte student of postcolonial studies encountering Desai and Nair's anthology could certainly be forgiven for believing that Australian literature is not postcolonial literature, for that is the message that the collection sends.
Anna Johnston and Alan Lawson argue that “the exclusion of settler colonies from postcolonial analyses” constitutes “an erasure of colonial difference and complexity” (367). They contend, moreover, that “[t]he argument that settler colonies are not admissible as postcolonial … involves a privileging of one kind of colonial experience over others,” forestalling “an understanding of the various manifestations of colonial activity” and functioning as “a kind of postcolonial exoticism” (367). Thus, to exclude Australia from the realm of the postcolonial is to literally and metaphorically narrow the field, limit the breadth and depth of