Australians and the Pacific Rim: The contested past in the popular fiction of Di Morrissey

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Abstract:

Former print and television journalist Di Morrissey is Australia's biggest-selling writer of popular fiction. Her novels incrementally construct an Australia re-shaped for the new century through the interplay of significant social forces and demographic shifts. Her imaginary also places Australian culture within a global network of affiliations generated by the colonial and imperial past, as well as by more recent strategic alliances, and encompasses some of the darker elements of Australia's collective inheritance. The critical reception of Morrissey's work, however, has hitherto been scant and dismissive. Yet the Pacific Rim novels - Tears of the Moon, Scatter the Stars, Kimberley Sun, Monsoon, and The Plantation - can be read within perspectives afforded by dark tourism research and theories of cognitive dissonance, revealing that they subvert widely received understandings of Australia's relationships within the Pacific region and constitute a subliminal force for public education.

Keywords: Broome, Western Australia; Pacific region; White Australia; dark tourism; ethnicity; pearling industry; reviewing culture; settler fiction

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ajpc.2.2.211_1

Affiliations: The University of Queensland

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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