North American Department - Australian Studies Centre

About ASC
IEAS became a designated Australian Studies Centre in 2007. It is a member and motivator of the Australian Studies Regional Network. ASC (under the aegis of the North American Department and the Department of British Studies) offers courses and supervises thesis work in Australian literature, culture, history, politics, film, and drama. It also organises and coordinates lectures by visiting scholars from partner institutions in Hungary, Europe, and Australia. ASC promotes understanding Australia and the Asia-Pacific region by encouraging research (by faculty as well as by students willing to invest energies in such extracurricular activity), by training future teachers in regular courses, and by advising the public on various Australia-related affairs.

Teaching Australian Studies in the Institute of English and American Studies of the University of Debrecen was launched in September 1991. Assistant Professor Ágnes Tóth was instrumental in organising the program and teaching the courses. A generous donation of books and teaching material by the Sir Robert Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, London, motivated and activated by Professor Richard Nile, still forms the core of our Australian Studies library. Dr. Nile also served as Program director for the first year. For his invaluable assistance, he was named Director of Australian Studies in Hungary. An inaugural conference of the European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA) was organised in May 1992 in Budapest and Debrecen, with special focus on teaching Australian Studies in Australia and abroad. It produced the “Debrecen Declaration” sent to the Australian Government asking for aid for the European Australian studies programs. In 2005, Debrecen had the honour of hosting EASA again for their 8th biennial international conference, on “ReVisions of Australia: Histories, Images, Identities.”

From among the several distinguished scholars who visited the institute and gave lectures, Dr Glenda Sluga (UNSW; official aid for 3 terms) and Professor Portia Robinson (Macquarie University, Sydney; 1 month) need to be specially mentioned, the latter of whom also donated collections of books to the library and supervised thesis work. Also visited and lectured here: Patrick Buckridge (Griffith U), Shirley Walker (U of New England), Kate Darian-Smith (U of Melbourne), Portia Robinson (2x), Brian Matthews (U of Adelaide), Sylvia Lawson, David Lowe (Geelong), Tom Griffith (ANU), Gaye Poole (U of NSW), and Karen Hughes (U of Adelaide). The Australian Embassy in Budapest has recognised our work by ambassadorial visits, invitations to special events, and a regular yearly donation of books.

Courses in Australian Studies are offered for students in their 3rd and 4th specialization years and for students enrolled in the MA programme in North American Studies. Students can sign up for required courses in "New Cultures/Literatures in English," of which Australia is one option. These optional courses are highly popular, which means that classes are regularly overbooked. We are proud to say that about half of our graduates will have attended seminars with Australian content. About 80-100 students per year attend such courses regularly.

Since 1992, about 50 undergraduate theses were written about aspects of Australian literature, culture and history. National student research gold medal was awarded for a thesis about Australian historiography (1996). One university doctoral thesis (about Australian literature, 1997) and one PhD thesis (about social history and politics, 2003) was successfully defended. Another PhD thesis (about culture and film) is going to be submitted soon.

Some courses taught (retrospectively):

  • Highlights in Australian Literature 1 (19th c.)
  • Highlights in Australian Literature 2 (20th c.)
  • Australian Colonial Literature
  • Australian Short Story
  • 20th-Century Women Novelists
  • Australian Cultural History
  • Celluloid Myths
  • Highlights of the New Australian Cinema
  • Australian and American Frontier Films
  • Australian Social and Political History
  • Images of Australia: Voices, Representations, Identities
  • Indigenous Australia: Indigeneity in Poetry and Fiction
  • Variations to Multiculturalism: Canada and Australia
  • Australian Social History
  • Postcolonial Drama

involved in teaching about Australia:

  • Dr. Ágnes Tóth (assistant professor - literature, culture, film)
  • Dr. Gabriella Espák (assistant professor - social and political history, literature)
  • Dr. Péter Szaffkó (associate professor, Director of the Debrecen Summer School - drama)

Our faculty have published in national and international academic journals, have participated in regional and international English and Australian Studies conferences and have been executive members of the European Association for Studies of Australia. Our publishing and academic network includes European cities, such as Barcelona, Toulouse, Copenhagen, Lecce, Bergen, Cracow, Klagenfurt, Timisoara (the list is by no means complete). We have research relations with Curtin University, WA, and many links to Macquarie University, the University of NSW, the University of Queensland, and Deakin University among others.

Publications within the house have to showcase volume 23 of Hungarian Studies in English, edited by Richard Nile and Zoltán Abádi-Nagy, which published articles produced on the basis of presentations at the 1992 conference. A special Australian double issue of the Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies (vol. 12, no. 1-2), presenting refereed articles from the 2005 EASA conference, was published in 2007, guest edited by Gabriella Espák.

Last update: 2023. 07. 31. 09:14