Refugee Policies and Narratives in the Globalised Era

The Case of Australia


Keywords: Global refugee crisis, Australian immigration policies, Australian refugee narratives, Transmodernity, Cosmopolitisation, Abject cosmopolitanism


One of the effects of globalisation has been population mobility as a result of famine, climate warming and war conflicts, among other things. This flow of refugees, however, is often seen as a menace to the rule of law and human rights concomitant with the Western lifestyle. Refugees are no longer regarded as human beings and victims, but rather as danger, even as potential terrorists, which has led many governments, including the Australian, to detain them indefinitely in detention centres where they are confined in inhuman conditions. The main aim of this paper will be to describe Australian immigration policies and how contemporary Australian narratives on and by refugees are reflecting this situation, mainly by analysing a selection of texts from three recently published collections, namely, A Country Too Far (2013), They Cannot Take the Sky (2017) and Seabirds Crying in the Harbour Dark (2017), and Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains (2018).


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Author Biography

Dolores Herrero, Department of English and German Philology University of Zaragoza

olores Herrero is Senior Lecturer of English Literature at the Department of English and German Philology of the University of Zaragoza. She got her Accreditation for Full Professorship in October 2014. She currently teaches: an undergraduate course on Victorian literature and another one on postcolonial literatures in English; and one Master course on postcolonial literature.

Dolores Herrero is a member of a competitive research team currently working on transmodern paradigm in contemporary fiction in English and whose head is Professor Susana Onega. She has published articles and book chapters on Victorian and postcolonial literature --in particular Australian and Indian authors, such as Mudrooroo, David Malouf, Peter Carey, Merlinda Bobis, Roberta Sykes, J. Turner Hospital, Gail Jones, Satendra Nandan, Meena Alexander and Jhumpa Lahiri,, to name but a few-- and film and cultural studies.

She was the Secretary of EASA (European Association of Studies on Australia) from September 2011 till September 2015, and Head of the English Department (University of Zaragoza) as of October 2016.

She has co-edited, together with Marita Nadal, the book Margins in British and American Literature, Film and Culture (1997); together with Sonia Baelo, the books The Splintered Glass: Facets of Trauma in the Post-Colony and Beyond (2011) and Between the Urge to Known and the Need to Deny: Trauma and Ethics in Contemporary British and American Literature (2011). Her more recent published articles/book chapters include.“Remembering the Way Back Home: The Role of Place in Wendy Law-Yone’s The Road to Wanting (2010)”. María Jesús Martínez Alfaro and Silvia Pellicer Ortín, eds. Memory Frictions in Contemporary Literature. London and New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Forthcoming;

“Merlinda Bobis’s Fish-Hair Woman: Showcasing Asian Australianness, putting the question of justice in its place. Journal of Postcolonial Writing52.5: 610-21. DOI: 10.1080/17449855.2016.1202562 (2016): 1-12. ISSN: 1744-9855 (Print) 1744-9863 (Online) Journal homepage: To be reprinted in hardback monograph format in December 2017/January 2018 by Routledge (SPIBs programme) with the title Mediating Literary Borders: Asian Australian Writing. ISBN: 978-1-138-57081-8; “Oranges and Sunshine: The Story of a Traumatic Encounter”. Humanities (Open Access journal, Monographic on “Decolonizing Trauma Studies”) 4.4 (2015): 714-25. ISSN: 2076-0787; “Chris Womersley’s Bereft: Ghosts that Dwell on the Margins of Traumatic Memory”. Anglia: Journal of English Philology 133.3 (2015): 511-27. ISSN: 1865-8938; “Crossing The Secret River: From Victim to Perpetrator or the Silent/Dark Side of the Australian Settlement”. Atlantis 36.1 (Revista de la Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos) (2014): 87-105. ISSN: 0210-6124; “Plight vs. Right: Trauma and the Process of Recovering and Moving beyond the Past in Zoë Wicomb’s Playing in the Light (2006)”. Trauma in Contemporary Literature: Narrative and Representation. Eds. Marita Nadal and Mónica CalvoLondon and New York: Routledge. 2014: 100-115. ISBN13: 978-0-415-71587-4 (hbk); 978-1-315-88050-1 (ebk); “Merlinda Bobis’s The Solemn Lantern Maker: The Ethics of Traumatic Cross-Cultural Encounters”. Coolabah 10 (e-Journal of the Australian Studies Centre, Barcelona) (2013): 107-17 . ISSN 1988-5946; “Rabbit-Proof Fence: Surviving Loss and Trauma through Testimony and Narration”. In Narrating Nomadism: Tales of Recovery and Resistance. Ed. Ganesh Devy, Geoff Davis and K.K. Chakravarty. New Delhi and Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge. 2013: 81-91. ISBN: 978-0-415-81180-4; “The Phantom and Transgenerational Trauma in Elizabeth Jolley’s The Well”. In Engaging with Literature of Commitment. Vol. 2. Eds. Gordon Collier, Marc Delrez, Anne Fuchs and Bénédicte Ledent. Rodopi: Amsterdam and New York. 2012: 201-16. ISBN: 978-90-420-3509-6; “The Australian Apology and Post-Colonial Defamiliarization: Gail Jones’s Sorry”. Journal of Postcolonial Writing. 47.3 (July 2011): 283-295. ISSN: 1744-9855.

She has been Visiting Professor at the University of Hyderabad, India. 25th January-11th February 2007. Academic funding: UPE (University Programme of Excellence); at the Universities of Wollongong and ANU (Australian National University, Canberra), Australia. July 2010-December 2010; at the University of Tezpur (Assam, India). 26th January-6th February 2013.

She was also the editor of Miscelanea: A Journal of English and American Studies from 1998 till 2006.


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How to Cite
Herrero, D. (2021). Refugee Policies and Narratives in the Globalised Era: The Case of Australia. International Journal of English Studies, 21(2), 101–121.