Publication Details

Rando, G, Expressions of the Calabrian diaspora in Calabrian Australian writing, Proceedings of Minorities and Cultural Assertions - Literary and Social Diasporas Conference, University of Wollongong, 8-10 October 2004.


Although a number of studies on Italian Australian literature have been produced they have to date taken little account of the perception of the diverse experiences of migrants from different Italian regions which display substantial linguistic and cultural diversity and have developed literary cultures both different from and coincidental to Italian national literary culture. The only extensive study that has examined the literary culture of a regional Italian migrant group in Australia is Rando La Cava (1983) which explores the oral dialect literature of the Aeolian communities in Wollongong, Sydney and Melbourne. Some general studies on Italian Australian literature have dealt with a few individual first generation Calabrian authors such as poet Luigi Strano and prose writer Alfredo Strano (both are cited in the Auslit database although their records need substantial updating) as well as the work of some second and subsequent generations writers such as John Bono and Teresa Crea (both also found in the Auslit database). This paper proposes to explore the extent to which texts produced by writers who are currently known to be of Calabrian origin demonstrate marked characteristics of what might be termed a Calabrian-Australian migration experience. Its point of departure are the theoretical issues raised by Joseph Pivato and Snwja Gunew relating to the attendant cultural dislocations of writers whose geographical and/or cultural traditions are based in CALD contexts and proposing a return to questions of both origins and belonging given that interrogations of the national emerge from both local communities and global diasporas. The way ahead in terms of analysing cultural texts of any kind seems to be to denaturalise the classificatory categories invoked to stabilize and legitimate all types of nation-building