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Australian Travellers in the South Seas »

Authored by: Nicholas Halter
Publication date: 2021
This book offers a wide-ranging survey of Australian engagement with the Pacific Islands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Through over 100 hitherto largely unexplored accounts of travel, the author explores how representations of the Pacific Islands in letters, diaries, reminiscences, books, newspapers and magazines contributed to popular ideas of the Pacific Islands in Australia. It offers a range of valuable insights into continuities and changes in Australian regional perspectives, showing that ordinary Australians were more closely connected to the Pacific Islands than has previously been acknowledged. Addressing the theme of travel as a historical, literary and imaginative process, this cultural history probes issues of nation and empire, race and science, commerce and tourism by focusing on significant episodes and encounters in history. This is a foundational text for future studies of Australia’s relations with the Pacific, and histories of travel generally.

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How Local Art Made Australia’s National Capital »

Publication date: August 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.

Bridging Australia and Japan: Volume 2 »

The writings of David Sissons, historian and political scientist

Publication date: August 2020
This book is volume two of the writings of David Sissons, who first established his academic career as a political scientist specialising in Japanese politics, and later shifted his focus to the history of Australia–Japan relations. In this volume, we reproduce his writings on Japanese politics, the Pacific War and Australian war crimes trials after the war. He was a pioneer in these fields, carrying out research across cultural and language borders, and influenced numerous researchers who followed in his footsteps. Much of what he wrote, however, remained unpublished at the time of his death in 2006, and so the editors have included a selection of his hitherto unpublished work along with some of his published writings. Breaking Japanese Diplomatic Codes, edited by Desmond Ball and Keiko Tamura, was published in 2013, and the first volume of Bridging Australia and Japan was published in 2016. This book completes this series, which reproduces many of David Sissons’ writings. The current volume covers a wide range of topics, from Japanese wartime intentions towards Australia, the Cowra Breakout, and Sissons’ early writings on Japanese politics. Republished in this volume is his comprehensive essay on the Australian war crimes trials, which influenced the field of military justice research. Georgina Fitzpatrick and Keiko Tamura have also contributed essays reflecting on his research. Sissons was an extraordinarily meticulous researcher, leaving no stone unturned in his search for accuracy and completeness of understanding, and should be considered one of Australia’s major historians. His writings deal not only with diplomatic negotiations and decision-making, but also the lives of ordinary and often nameless people and their engagements with their host society. His warm humanity in recording ordinary people’s lives as well as his balanced examination of historical incidents and issues from both Australian and Japanese perspectives are hallmarks of his scholarship.

On the Frontiers of History »

Rethinking East Asian Borders

Authored by: Tessa Morris-Suzuki
Publication date: August 2020
Why is it that we so readily accept the boundary lines drawn around nations or around regions like ‘Asia’ as though they were natural and self-evident, when in fact they are so mutable and often so very arbitrary? What happens to people not only when the borders they seek to cross become heavily guarded, but also when new borders are drawn straight through the middle of their lives? The essays in this book address these questions by starting from small places on the borderlands of East Asia and looking outwards from the small towards the large, asking what these ‘minor pasts’ tell us about the grand narratives of history. In the process, it takes the reader on a journey from Renaissance European visions of ‘Tartary’, through nineteenth-century racial theorising, imperial cartography and indigenous experiences of modernity, to contemporary debates about Big History in an age of environmental crisis.

Fluid Matter(s) »

Flow and Transformation in the History of the Body

Publication date: August 2020
Once upon a time, doctors across Eurasia imagined human beings in ways that strike us today as profoundly strange and alien. For over 2,000 years, they worried anxiously about fluids to which our modern doctors spare hardly a thought (such as sweat, phlegm and qi) and they obsessed over details (such as whether a person’s pores were open or closed) whose meaning and vital importance have now largely faded from memory. Through a series of case studies from Europe, India, China, Mongolia and Japan, Fluid Matter(s) suggests ways to make sense of this strange and dimly remembered past, and urges us to reflect anew on the significance of fluids and flows in the history of medicine. The book also urges us, more generally, to reimagine the way in which we narrate history. The articles here are essays, in the original French sense. They are exploratory trials, experiments to illustrate some of the ways in which digital texts can go beyond the affordances of print. They test visual effects that are inconceivable on a paper page, but that are easily conjured on an electronic screen. Fluid Matter(s) is the first work of its kind: a study that narrates the body’s past in a form that embodies new futures for narrative.
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What’s France got to do with it? »

Contemporary memoirs of Australians in France

Authored by: Juliana de Nooy
Publication date: July 2020
While only one book-length memoir recounting the sojourn of an Australian in France was published in the 1990s, well over 40 have been published since 2000, overwhelmingly written by women. Although we might expect a focus on travel, intercultural adjustment and communication in these texts, this is the case only in a minority of accounts. More frequently, France serves as a backdrop to a project of self-renovation in which transplantation to another country is incidental, hence the question ‘What’s France got to do with it?’ The book delves into what France represents in the various narratives, its role in the self-transformation, and the reasons for the seemingly insatiable demand among readers and publishers for these stories. It asks why these memoirs have gained such traction among Australian women at the dawn of the twenty-first century and what is at stake in the fascination with France.

China Dreams »

Edited by: Jane Golley, Linda Jaivin, Ben Hillman, Sharon Strange
Publication date: April 2020
The year 2019 marked a number of significant anniversaries for the People’s Republic of China (PRC), each representing different ‘Chinese dreams’. There was the centennial of the May Fourth Movement — a dream of patriotism and cultural renewal. The PRC celebrated its seventieth anniversary — a dream of revolution and national strength. It was also thirty years since the student-led Protest Movement of 1989 — dreams of democracy and free expression crushed by government dreams of unity and stability. Many of these ‘dreams’ recurred in new guises in 2019. President Xi Jinping tightened his grip on power at home while calling for all citizens to ‘defend China’s honour abroad’. Escalating violence in Hong Kong, the ongoing suppression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and deteriorating Sino-US relations dominated the headlines. Alongside stories about China’s advances in artificial intelligence and geneticially modified babies and its ambitions in the Antarctic and outer space, these issues fuelled discussion about what Xi’s own ‘China Dream’ of national rejuvenation means for Chinese citizens and the rest of the world. The China Story Yearbook: China Dreams reflects on these issues and more. It surveys the dreams, illusions, aspirations, and nightmares that coexisted (and clashed) in 2019 in China and beyond. As ever, we take a cross-disciplinary perspective that recognises the inextricable links between economy, politics, culture, history, language, and society. The Yearbook, with its accessible analysis of the main events and trends of the year, is an essential tool for understanding China’s growing power and influence around the world.

Roars from the Mountain »

Colonial Management of the 1951 Volcanic Disaster at Mount Lamington

Authored by: R. Wally Johnson
Publication date: April 2020
Mount Lamington broke out in violent eruption on 21 January 1951, killing thousands of Orokaiva people, devastating villages and destroying infrastructure. Generations of Orokaiva 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.

Re-imagining Japan after Fukushima »

Authored by: Tamaki Mihic
Publication date: March 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.

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.