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Title: Natural disaster and writing the (political) self: the memoirs of Julia Gillard and Anna Bligh
Contributor(s): Williamson, Rosemary  (author)
Publication Date: 2018
Early Online Version: 2018-01-26
DOI: 10.1080/14790726.2017.1418383
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Abstract: The premise of this article is that political memoir may affirm or alter readers’ attitudes toward the memoirist and the societal norms embodied by her. This rhetorical function may extend to influencing views of the natural environment. Two political leaders faced one of Australia’s worst natural disasters in 2010-2011, when floods damaged much of the state of Queensland. Each leader reflects on the experience in her memoir: former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in My Story (2014), and former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh in Through the Wall (2015). Textual analysis of each reveals that natural disaster is a meaningful event in the political life story. Some ethical questions arise, however, around the perpetuation of tropes that characterise nature as a hostile other in Bligh’s memoir. The article argues that those who write about the interplay between human lives and the natural environment, and teachers of writing, should consider alternatives suited to a time when anthropogenic climate change is expected to cause more frequent and severe natural disasters. Advocating this approach is situated within a growing field of interdisciplinary scholarship on writing about non-human others, including the natural environment.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: New Writing, 15(4), p. 442-451
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 1479-0726
Field of Research (FOR): 190402 Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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