Michael Austin is currently a visiting fellow in literature at UNSW at the Australian Defence Force Academy Canberra. He's taught English Literature at Macquarie University, UNSW Canberra, and the ANU, and Media Studies at the University of Canberra. His main area of research is the relationship between law, politics and literature in twentieth-century Australian fiction. His PhD thesis investigated the representation of the domestic changes to the rule of law in a number of contemporary Australian novels. His present project looks at the literary construction of law and state power from a biopolitical perspective that includes the theoretical work of Hannah Arendt, Giorgio Agamben and Roberto Esposito.
The Australian government’s responses to the September 11 attacks introduced a new theme into Australian literature. Novels such as Andrew McGahan’s Underground and Richard Flanagan’s The Unknown Terrorist sought to address, in narrative form, threats to the rule of law…