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How Local Art Made Australia’s National Capital »

Publication date: 2020
Canberra’s dual status as national capital and local city dramatically affected the rise of a unique contemporary arts scene. This complex story, informed by rich archival material and interviews, details the triumph of local arts practice and community over the insistent cultural nation-building of Australia’s capital. It exposes local arts as a vital force in Canberra’s development and uncovers the influence of women in the growth of its visual arts culture. A broad illumination of the city-wide development of arts and culture from the 1920s to 2001 is combined with the story of Bitumen River Gallery and its successor Canberra Contemporary Art Space from 1978 to 2001. This history traces the growth of the arts from a community-led endeavour, through a period of responses to social and cultural needs, and ultimately to a humanising local practice that transcended national and international boundaries.

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Roars from the Mountain »

Colonial Management of the 1951 Volcanic Disaster at Mount Lamington

Authored by: R. Wally Johnson
Publication date: 2020
Mount Lamington broke out in violent eruption on 21 January 1951, killing thousands of Orokaiva people, devastating villages and destroying infrastructure. Generations of Orokavia people had lived on the rich volcanic soils of Mount Lamington, apparently unaware of the deadly volcanic threat that lay dormant beneath them. Also unaware were the Europeans who administered the Territory of Papua and New Guinea at the time of the eruption, and who were uncertain about how to interpret the increasing volcanic unrest on the mountain in the preceding days of the disaster. Roars from the Mountain seeks to address why so many people died at Mount Lamington by examining the large amount of published and unpublished records that are available on the 1951 disaster. The information sources also include the results of interviews with survivors and with people who were part of the relief, recovery and remembrance phases of what can still be regarded as one of Australia’s greatest natural-hazard disasters.

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Re-imagining Japan after Fukushima »

Authored by: Tamaki Mihic
Publication date: 2020
The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster (collectively referred to as ‘3.11’, the date of the earthquake), had a lasting impact on Japan’s identity and global image. In its immediate aftermath, mainstream media presented the country as a disciplined, resilient and composed nation, united in the face of a natural disaster. However, 3.11 also drew worldwide attention to the negative aspects of Japanese government and society, thought to have caused the unresolved situation at Fukushima. Spurred by heightened emotions following the triple disaster, the Japanese became increasingly polarised between these two views of how to represent themselves. How did literature and popular culture respond to this dilemma? Re-imagining Japan after Fukushima attempts to answer that question by analysing how Japan was portrayed in post-3.11 fiction. Texts are selected from the Japanese, English and French languages, and the portrayals are also compared with those from non-fiction discourse. This book argues that cultural responses to 3.11 had a significant role to play in re-imagining Japan after Fukushima.

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Framing the Islands »

Power and Diplomatic Agency in Pacific Regionalism

Authored by: Greg Fry
Publication date: October 2019
Since its origins in late eighteenth-century European thought, the idea of placing a regional frame around the Pacific islands has never been just an exercise in geographical mapping. This framing has always been a political exercise. Contending regional projects and visions have been part of a political struggle concerning how Pacific islanders should live their lives. Framing the Islands tells the story of this political struggle and its impact on the regional governance of key issues for the Pacific such as regional development, resource management, security, cultural identity, political agency, climate change and nuclear involvement. It tells this story in the context of a changing world order since the colonial period and of changing politics within the post-colonial states of the Pacific. Framing the Islands argues that Pacific regionalism has been politically significant for Pacific island states and societies. It demonstrates the power associated with the regional arena as a valued site for the negotiation of global ideas and processes around development, security and climate change. It also demonstrates the political significance associated with the role of Pacific regionalism as a diplomatic bloc in global affairs, and as a producer of powerful policy norms attached to funded programs. This study also challenges the expectation that Pacific regionalism largely serves hegemonic powers and that small islands states have little diplomatic agency in these contests. Pacific islanders have successfully promoted their own powerful normative framings of Oceania in the face of the attempted hegemonic impositions from outside the region; seen, for example, in the strong commitment to the ‘Blue Pacific continent’ framing as a guiding ideology for the policy work of the Pacific Islands Forum in the face of pressures to become part of Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

Power, Protection and Magic in Thailand »

The Cosmos of a Southern Policeman

Authored by: Craig J. Reynolds
Publication date: October 2019
This biographical study of an unusual southern policeman explores the relationship between religion and power in Thailand during the early twentieth century when parts of the country were remote and banditry was rife. Khun Phan (1898–2006), known as Lion Lawman, sometimes used rather too much lethal force in carrying out his orders. He was the most famous graduate of a monastic academy in the mid-south, whose senior teachers imparted occult knowledge favoured by fighters on both sides of the law. Khun Phan imbibed this knowledge to confront the risks and uncertainty that lay ahead and bolster his confidence and self-reliance for his struggle with adversaries. Against the background of national events, the story is rooted in the mid-south where the policeman was born and died. Based on a wide range of works in Thai language, on field trips to the region and on interviews with local and regional scholars as well as the policeman’s descendants, this generously illustrated book, accompanied by short video clips, brings to life the distinctive environment of the lakes district on the Malay Peninsula.

Tulagi »

Pacific Outpost of British Empire

Authored by: Clive Moore
Publication date: September 2019
Tulagi was the capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate between 1897 and 1942. The British withdrawal from the island during the Pacific War, its capture by the Japanese and the American reconquest left the island’s facilities damaged beyond repair. After the war, Britain moved the capital to the American military base on Guadalcanal, which became Honiara. The Tulagi settlement was an enclave of several small islands, the permanent population of which was never more than 600: 300 foreigners—one-third of European origin and most of the remainder Chinese—and an equivalent number of Solomon Islanders. Thousands of Solomon Islander males also passed through on their way to work on plantations and as boat crews, hospital patients and prisoners. The history of the Tulagi enclave provides an understanding of the origins of modern Solomon Islands. Tulagi was also a significant outpost of the British Empire in the Pacific, which enables a close analysis of race, sex and class and the process of British colonisation and government in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Contested Terrain »

Reconceptualising Security in the Pacific

Authored by: Steven Ratuva
Publication date: September 2019
Contested Terrain provides a cutting-edge, comprehensive and innovative approach to critically analysing the multidimensional and contested nature of security narratives, justified by different ideological, political, cultural and economic rationales. This is important in a complex and ever-changing situation involving a dynamic interplay between local, regional and global factors. Security narratives are constructed in multiple ways and are used to frame our responses to the challenges and threats to our sense of safety, wellbeing, identity and survival but how the narratives are constructed is a matter of intellectual and political contestation. Using three case studies from the Pacific (Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands), Contested Terrain shows the different security challenges facing each country, which result from their unique historical, political and socio-cultural circumstances. Contrary to the view that the Pacific is a generic entity with common security issues, this book argues for more localised and nuanced approaches to security framing and analysis.

Everyday Revolutions »

Remaking Gender, Sexuality and Culture in 1970s Australia

Publication date: August 2019
The 1970s was a decade when matters previously considered private and personal became public and political. These shifts not only transformed Australian politics, they engendered far-reaching cultural and social changes. Feminists challenged ‘man-made’ norms and sought to recover lost histories of female achievement and cultural endeavour. They made films, picked up spanners and established printing presses. The notion that ‘the personal was political’ began to transform long-held ideas about masculinity and femininity, both in public and private life. In the spaces between official discourses and everyday experience, many sought to revolutionise the lives of Australian men and women. Everyday Revolutions brings together new research on the cultural and social impact of the feminist and sexual revolutions of the 1970s in Australia. Gay Liberation and Women’s Liberation movements erupted, challenging almost every aspect of Australian life. The pill became widely available and sexuality was both celebrated and flaunted. Campaigns to decriminalise abortion and homosexuality emerged across the country. Activists set up women’s refuges, rape crisis centres and counselling services. Governments responded to new demands for representation and rights, appointing women’s advisors and funding new services. Everyday Revolutions is unique in its focus not on the activist or legislative achievements of the women’s and gay and lesbian movements, but on their cultural and social dimensions. It is a diverse and rich collection of essays that reminds us that women’s and gay liberation were revolutionary movements.

Afterlives of Chinese Communism »

Political Concepts from Mao to Xi

Publication date: June 2019
Afterlives of Chinese Communism comprises essays from over fifty world- renowned scholars in the China field, from various disciplines and continents. It provides an indispensable guide for understanding how the Mao era continues to shape Chinese politics today. Each chapter discusses a concept or practice from the Mao period, what it attempted to do, and what has become of it since. The authors respond to the legacy of Maoism from numerous perspectives to consider what lessons Chinese communism can offer today, and whether there is a future for the egalitarian politics that it once promised.

Zhang Peili »

From Painting to Video

Edited by: Olivier Krischer
Publication date: June 2019
In 2014, New York-based artist Lois Conner gifted one of pioneering Chinese artist Zhang Peili’s last paintings to The Australian National University’s newly opened Australian Centre on China in the World. Never exhibited and thought lost, the reemergence of Flying Machine (1994) prompts an exploration of the relation between painting and video in the oeuvre of Zhang Peili. Given Zhang’s significance as a leading conceptual painter in the 1980s, then as a media art pioneer and educator in the 1990s and 2000s, Zhang Peili: From Painting to Video is also a nuanced study of broader developments in Chinese contemporary art’s history. Featuring contributions by historian Geremie R. Barmé, photographer Lois Conner, art historians John Clark, Katie Grube, and Olivier Krischer, and curator Kim Machan, these essays together challenge the narrative of Zhang as ‘the father of Chinese video art’, highlighting instead the conceptual consistency, rigour, and formal experimentation in his work, which transcends a specific medium. By equal measure, the book embraces longstanding connections as integral to its meaning, connections between artists, curators and researchers, collaborators, colleagues and friends through China and Australia.