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'Average Stray Aliens': An Average Australian Conversation on Eurocentrism

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Prompted by a recent error in an Australian newspaper, by which voice-recognition technology inadvertently transformed 'average Australians' into 'average stray aliens', this paper appears as a conversation about Eurocentrism between five participants, all of whom work in European studies as teachers and researchers in Australia, the place of 'stray aliens'. Our dialogue proceeded cumulatively in August 2001, with e-mail responses circulating between contributors. Our aim was to dislocate the debate about 'Europe' and 'Eurocentrism' away from the Eurocentre to one of Europe's blind spots, Australia. Emerging in the debate is a strong sense of the ways in which power and privilege inevitably accrue centrifugally: Eurocentrism affects and re-writes itself on us in ways perhaps unimagined in the Eurocentre. As a bid toward resistant practice against the centre, we have refrained self-consciously from explaining every local reference in our self-reflective, dialogic, and open-ended discussion about the ways 'Europe' and 'Eurocentrism' touch us as teachers, researchers and 'average stray aliens'.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2002

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