From Here to Hiroshima: Writing a Cultural History of Occupied Japan

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    Date(s) - 2 Sep 2013
    2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    Meeting Room N702, Menzies Building, Clayton Campus

    Category(ies) No Categories

    Travels in Atomic Sunshine Book Cover

    Travels in Atomic Sunshine

    Robin Gerster

    A recoding of this paper may be downloaded here in MP3 format.

    In this presentation Robin Gerster discusses the process of writing his award-winning study of Australia’s role in the post-war occupation of Japan, Travels in Atomic Sunshine. For six years from early 1946, thousands of Australian servicemen, many accompanied by wives and children, participated in an historic experiment in nation rebuilding. Most were based near bomb-ravaged Hiroshima. A telling case study of Western military occupations of renegade ‘Oriental’ countries, the Occupation also proved a compelling human experience that revealed much about Australia itself. This was one of ‘the greatest head-on cultural collisions of modern times’, a domestic encounter between the people of two radically different nations that had only recently been locked in murderous conflict. Many Australians basked in the atomic sunshine of a vanquished and demoralised enemy; yet some surprising intimacies and legacies ensued. Prof. Gerster discusses how his research uncovered a multitude of contradictory stories, and how he went about assimilating them into an historical narrative.

    Robin Gerster

    Robin Gerster

    Robin Gerster is a Professor in the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies. His major publications include the literary study Big-noting (1987), the travel book Legless in Ginza (1999) and the cultural histories Seizures of Youth (1991) and Travels in Atomic Sunshine (2008). He has also published widely in Australian and international journals and newspapers. He is currently researching contemporary nuclear cultures in Australia and the US.

    Run by the HDR program in Creative Writing as part of the Literary and Cultural Studies Graduate Research program.