Join us to reflect on Australian’s linguistic past, and to learn how a language test emerged as a form of racial exclusion in the lead up to Federation.

Presenter: Dr Nadia Rook, Lecturer, School of Humanities, and Indigenous Studies, The University of Western Australia

Date: Friday 14 September 2018
Time: 4.30pm-5.30pm (with drinks afterwards)
Location: Building 104, Room 102 (near Common Ground Cafe), Curtin University

Since April 2017, the Turnbull government have been attempting to pass legislation to make a University-level English test a pre-requisite for migrants to gain citizenship. These controversial attempts were in the news again recently, when Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge stated that ‘the government will seek to expand English-language tests and require a demonstrated commitment to Australian values.’ But given that English is not officially Australia’s national language, what is the moral and ideological basis for such language-based techniques of immigration control? This talk gives historical context to the conflation of English ability with national identity. We travel to the streets and courtrooms of colonial Melbourne, to listen to how South Asian migrants were remaking a language-scape both fluid and fixed in English language dominance in the 1890s, the decade before the White Australia Policy came into force.

RSVP: By Wednesday 12 September 2018 to

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