The Australasian Association for Literature is a newly founded group whose goal is to promote scholarship in literature, and a deeper understanding of how literature develops its own ways of thinking about the world. These ways of thinking — the understandings of literary forms and the effects these can have — will vary from work to work, but insofar as they are effective they allow those works to interact with individuals and societies in significant and varied ways. AAL, then, has an interest in how works of literature might be seen to interact both with the contexts from which they emerge and those with which they come into contact: be they intellectual contexts or socio-historical contexts.
We have a particular interest in how literature interacts with other disciplines and intellectual standpoints (such as science, philosophy and history) and encourage contributions that seek to understand what works of literature can do (how they affect us, and why). Yet we take works of literature seriously as important objects, and see these works themselves as the focus of study in this society, rather than as a means of illustrating ideas drawn from other disciplines, or as simple outcomes of social forces. That is, we understand works of literature to be active things that make us think rather than passive things about which we might reflect and this understanding underlies our affirmation of the ongoing importance of careful scholarship related to literary works.
While the conferences we stage will be primarily conducted in the English language we welcome contributions that consider works of literature written in any language and at any period. We are further committed to building a dialogue and sense of community between those committed to literary scholarship across Australia and New Zealand.