The transported imagination: Australian interwar magazines and the geographical imaginaries of late colonial modernity

Kuttainen, Victoria, Liebich, Susann, and Galletly, Sarah (2015) The transported imagination: Australian interwar magazines and the geographical imaginaries of late colonial modernity. In: [Presented at the Annual International Conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations]. From: DH2015: Global Digital Humanities: the annual international conference of the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, 29 June - 03 July 2015, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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In the 1920s and 1930s, glossy, quality magazines brought a flair of cosmopolitanism, glamour and exoticism to Australian readers. Travel, especially across the Pacific, was a key component of general interest magazines of this era, which opened up a new world beyond Australia's shores to readers, whether travellers themselves or aspirational armchair travellers. This project explores Australia's geographical imaginary and representations of travel as expressed in popular print culture to question the status of cultural nationalism as the dominant ideology of the period. It conceptualizes modern mainstream magazines as mediated portals through which contemporary readers could observe the historically changing conception of the Pacific during the golden age of passenger liner travel. By utilising digital mapping and network visualisation methods this project draws attention to the emerging transpacific imaginary these magazines capture to interrogate and problematise existing notions of Australian culture and illuminate the highly interconnected nature of the periodical marketplace in this period. The interwar period in Australia is often identified as seeing the emergence and consolidation of nationalism, reflected not least in cultural and literary expressions that emphasised the nation. Yet, this period was also characterised by high levels of travel and mobility; passenger liners and a bourgeoning tourism and cruising industry allowed unprecedented numbers of Australians to cruise and cross the Pacific. While much scholarly attention has focussed on the development of Australian literary culture from the 1940s onwards, the literary output of Australian writers in the period immediately before, and especially writing in commercial outlets like mainstream magazines, has largely been overlooked.

Specifically, this project builds upon our manual collection and collation of metadata on the content of three Australian magazines: The Home (1920-42), BP Magazine (1928-42), and Man (1936-74). By digitally mapping the content of these magazines – ranging from short stories, feature articles and travel writing, to book and film reviews, society notes and advertisements – a distinct Pacific imaginary emerges, that encompassed places in South and South East Asia as well as the Pacific Islands, and reached north as well as east. Displaying the content spatially reveals the larger patterns of Australia's Pacific-mindedness but also the nuanced differences in geographical representations according to genres and magazine titles. Network visualisation techniques and tools allow us to recreate the publishing and authorial networks that existed both within and across these three magazines in the 1920s and '30s, revealing new print culture hierarchies and offering new modes of understanding print culture between the wars. By imagining these publications as information "networks" comprised of links and nodes between places, products, and people, we can better comprehend the cultural work these magazines undertook and the imaginative sway they held over readers’ perceptions of the Pacific region.

Item ID: 44840
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Keywords: periodicals, magazines, Pacific, advertising, digital humanities, digital mapping
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Funders: Margaret and Colin Roderick
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2016 01:51
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200104 Media Studies @ 50%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media @ 50%
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