The other alongside: suburban mangroves and the postcolonial lean of the swampy gothic

Judith, Kate ORCID: (2021) The other alongside: suburban mangroves and the postcolonial lean of the swampy gothic. In: Returning to the Gothic Ocean: Maritime, Marine and Aquatic Uncanny in Southern Waters, 12 Feb 2021, Townsville; Melbourne, Australia.


This paper will explore how the gothic folded into the suburbs by the mangroves that edge the Cooks river in Sydney troubles the colonial values expressed in the river. Named after Captain James Cook, this river was forced into the service of colonial ambitions from the early years of British settlement. Its concreted channels, reengineered entrance, and metal embankments still mark colonial values and violence across the geography of Sydney’s southern suburbs. The river’s returning mangroves now perform some of the compelling functions of the gothic within this suburban environment by asserting their otherness alongside. In a typically gothic manner, that otherness does not remain rivers-edge. It leans across and folds into the suburbs in numerous ways. Some of these ways suggest the sinister – the malevolent smell, the waves of summer mosquitoes possibly harbouring hidden viruses, the way things disappear into the dark mud. Others suggest a competing alien agency, as the mangroves insist upon their own muddy and accommodating ecological values that contrast with many of the plans of urban development and riverside recreation. The dark and twisted mangroves alongside disturb suburban slumber into anxiety, but also into sensitivity towards the dispossessed and marginalised, and towards the possibilities of more-than-human worlds and post-colonial futures.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 42479
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Lecture)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Virtual conference.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ College (8 Jun 2020 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - USQ College (8 Jun 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2021 05:39
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2021 05:39
Uncontrolled Keywords: gothic, mangroves, postcolonial
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190402 Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4406 Human geography > 440610 Social geography
50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5003 Philosophy > 500304 Environmental philosophy
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1303 Ethics > 130303 Environmental ethics
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280116 Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only