Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Conference to grapple with major cultural issues

Conference to grapple with major cultural issues

Some big questions surrounding the politics of culture, will be raised at a conference being hosted by the University of Canterbury’s School of Culture, Literature and Society next month.

The Biculturalism or Multiculturalism conference, run in association with the Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand (ACSANZ), is being held in Our City O-Tautahi from 1 to 3 September and has attracted a distinguished line-up of speakers from throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Simon During (Johns Hopkins University), whose many books on cultural studies are used as university text books, will get the conference under way with his paper on the global contexts influencing the theorising of culture in Aotearoa/New Zealand today.

Another notable speaker on the first day is Professor of Anthropology Ghassan Hage (University of Sydney) who will give a seminar on multiculturalism in the shadow of the war on terror, a timely topic in light of recent acts of terrorism in London.

In all there will be more than 40 papers during the intensive three-day event with delegates spoiled for choice in a number of parallel sessions.

Topics covered will include 21st century citizenship, the commodification of cultural identity, Asia in Australasia, First Nation rights and immigrant cultures, cultural hybrids, the Pacific diaspora, and the performance of mainstream media in a bicultural framework. The conference will look at the differing but overlapping histories of the terms biculturalism and multiculturalism in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Conference organiser Associate Professor Mark Williams (Culture, Literature and Society) said the terms biculturalism and multiculturalism drew attention to an argument in countries where colonial histories still shaped thought and where the effects of immigration had not been assimilated.

“They indicate an unresolved conflict between indigenous sovereignty and immigrant rights. The preference for one or the other implicates the role of the state in shaping ideas of nationalism as whole countries seek to rebrand themselves.”

While New Zealand is officially bicultural, Professor Williams said this could all hang on the result of the upcoming general election, with the National Party indicating they wish to scrap all notions of a bicultural nation and a number of political parties announcing their intentions to put a deadline on Treaty claims.

“If we won’t be a bicultural country, will we become officially a multicultural country? Surely we don’t want to be considered a monocultural country again. There are some urgent questions our country needs to look at.”

Professor Williams said the conference would be about “applying real pressure to the questions being raised not just arriving at easy solutions.”

“We will look at discussion of New Zealand’s cultural options, not only by focusing on New Zealand itself, but by looking at what is happening in other similar societies. One of the other things the conference will address in various ways is the interface between biculturalism and multiculturalism.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>


New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news