What, you’ve never heard of Marginasia? Don’t worry – neither have we.
But if “marginalia” describes the notes in the margin of a book or other text, then Peril is curious to explore writing in the margins of Asia, our so-called Marginasia.
We are open for submissions for this edition until 10 July 2015.
For a continent bounded by Europe and the Arctic, Pacific and Indian oceans, covering some 41,440,000 sq. km and encompassing almost 50 discrete nations, some could argue we have more to gain by questioning “Asia” – what it is; where it begins and ends; who defines it and who belongs to it – rather than reducing it to an easy set of symbols to be read by an audience that wants to simplify “the other”.
For Australia, “Asia” has most commonly been conceptualised as “South East Asia”, and our regional politics, trade dynamics and socio-cultural exchanges have historically been with that region. But is this really the full story of Asia and Australia?
Afghan camel riders came to Australia in the 1860s, while Australian armed forces continue their difficult engagement with protracted conflict in that country to this day. As successive Australian governments engage with countries like Israel, Iraq, Iran, and most recently, with Turkey for the ANZAC commemorations, has the Australian understanding of “Asia” evolved? At the same time, our current government has announced its renewed energy to help “people to disengage from extremist activities” and its intent to combat radicalisation with education and community partnerships as a part of the “global fight against terrorism”. Much of that energy (and funding) is directed at countries on the physical and geo-political margins of Asia, and in ways that some have argued contribute to the marginalisation of Asian populations in Australia, particularly those identified with the Islamic faith.
Or is Australia itself the ultimate “Marginasia”? A place that has long asked itself if it is a part of Asia. A question that has led to tense and complex outcomes for its immigration, defence and foreign policy, with contentious relations between its self-perception and realities.
We welcome your stories of Asia in the margins, the scribbles and notes that are your inter-textual markings, the new writing and new forms that trouble the centre, the memoirs and reflections that (re)define the boundaries.
If you’re not sure if your ideas fit our brief, please feel free to get in touch via email.
And please don’t forget our submission guidelines!