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This his special double issue of Australian Literary Studies has two aims: to mark the fiftieth year of publication of the journal, as a resource for scholars of Australian literature; and to provide a kind of 'snapshot' - or collection of snapshots - of the discipline of English at universities in the Australasian region. Busy trying to understand how literary narratives might be read, and how to teach the reading of literature, academics have spent litde time writing about the ways in which university and policy environments encourage or limit the discipline, even if discussing these at length informally. Part of the disciplinary ecology shaped by institutional conditions is the journal, a place for the promulgation of scholarship. Laurie Hergenhan's memoir of editing Australian Literary Studies for the first forty years sets out the history of the journal, including the crucial role played by James McAuley and A.D. Hope, as well as the material conditions of funding and production.