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Racial Folly »

A Twentieth-Century Aboriginal Family

Authored by: Gordon Briscoe
Publication date: February 2010
Briscoe’s grandmother remembered stories about the first white men coming to the Northern Territory. This extraordinary memoir shows us the history of an Aboriginal family who lived under the race laws, practices and policies of Australia in the twentieth century. It tells the story of a people trapped in ideological folly spawned to solve ‘the half-caste problem’. It gives life to those generations of Aboriginal people assumed to have no history and whose past labels them only as shadowy figures. Briscoe’s enthralling narrative combines his, and his contemporaries, institutional and family life with a high-level career at the heart of the Aboriginal political movement at its most dynamic time. It also documents the road he travelled as a seventeen year old fireman on the South Australia Railways to becoming the first Aboriginal person to achieve a PhD in history. For more information on Aboriginal History Inc. please visit aboriginalhistory.org.au.

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 2, Number 1, 2010 »

Publication date: February 2010
East Asia Forum Quarterly grew out of East Asia Forum (EAF) online, which has developed a reputation for providing a platform for the best in Asian analysis, research and policy comment on the Asia Pacific region in world affairs. EAFQ aims to provide a further window onto research in the leading research institutes in Asia and to provide expert comment on current developments within the region. The East Asia Forum Quarterly, like East Asia Forum online, is an initiative of the East Asia Forum (EAF) and its host organisation, the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research (EABER) in the Crawford School of Economics and Government in the College of Asia & the Pacific at The Australian National University.
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Gunnar Landtman in Papua »

1910 to 1912

Authored by: David Lawrence, Pirjo Varjola
Publication date: January 2010
Despite poverty and neglect the coastal Kiwai of the northern Torres Strait and Fly estuary are a strong and vibrant people with a long tradition of work in the marine industries of the Torres Strait. Regrettably their current social, economic and political problems are marginal to both Papua New Guinea and Australia. Gunnar Landtman’s research, undertaken between 1910 and 1912, is still a foundation stone for understanding the position of the Kiwai today. In those two years in Papua, Landtman managed to record a large collection of valuable legends and stories, many of which are still told today. He travelled widely throughout the Torres Strait, the southwest coast of Papua and the Fly estuary and even to the Gulf District. He made a comprehensive collection of Kiwai material culture now housed in the Museum of Cultures in Helsinki and a second, duplicate set for the Cambridge Museum. He also collected some of the earliest examples of Gogodala material culture available for research. In 1913, he published, Nya Guinea färden [New Guinea expedition], a detailed travelogue of his work and life among the Kiwai and, while he wrote a substantial corpus of work on the Kiwai in English, Swedish and Finnish over the next twenty years, this personal account in Swedish has not been translated into English before. It forms a crucial link between Landtman’s serious academic works and his intimate personal journey of discovery. The aim of this book is to bring the personal face of the serious anthropologist to greater attention. David Lawrence began studying the Gunnar Landtman collections held by the National Museum of Finland when he was researching customary exchange across the Torres Strait for his doctorate at James Cook University. He was also fortunate to be able to spend two years of fieldwork in the Fly estuary region and visited nearly all the communities described by Landtman. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Resource Management in Asia/Pacific program of The Australian National University and has published works on Kakadu National Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Introducing China »

The World's Oldest Great Power Charts its Next Comeback

Authored by: Ron Huisken
Publication date: January 2010
China’s transformation has been patiently, methodically and very deliberately constructed by a leadership group that has equally carefully protected its monopoly on power. Today’s China is proceeding with great seriousness and determination to become a first-rank state with a balanced portfolio of power and no major vulnerabilities. China takes itself very seriously and is inviting the world to overlook the formidable hard power assets it is determined to acquire in favour of simply enjoying the fruits of its market and trusting in the sincerity of its rhetoric on being determined to become a benign and peaceful new-age major power.

Reite Plants »

An Ethnobotanical Study in Tok Pisin and English

Authored by: Porer Nombo, James Leach
Publication date: January 2010
Reite Plants is a documentation and discussion of the uses of plants by speakers of the Nekgini language, a people who reside in the hinterland of the Rai Coast in northern Papua New Guinea. High quality images and detailed information about traditional customary practices using plants provide a unique entry into understanding Nekgini social and cultural life. The book contains a discussion of the ownership of plant knowledge in the context of both local and contemporary global trends. As a dual language, co-authored text, the book is a unique contribution to the ethnobotany and anthropology of Melanesia. Reite Plants represents the product of a long term collaborative work between the authors. This book makes an important contribution … Nombo and Leach provide an exciting example of how much a deeper exploration of cultural context adds to the field of ethnobotany. It will make very good company with the classic ethnobiological collaborative work of Saem Majnep and Ralph Bulmer on the birds and animals of the Madang highlands. — Robin Hide, The Australian National University

The Early Prehistory of Fiji »

Publication date: December 2009
I enjoyed reading this volume. It is rare to see such a comprehensive report on hard data published these days, especially one so insightfully contextualised by the editors’ introductory and concluding chapters. These scholars and the others involved in the work really know their stuff, and it shows. The editors connect the preoccupations of Pacific archaeologists with those of their colleagues working in other island regions and on “big questions” of colonisation, migration, interaction and patterns and processes of cultural change in hitherto-uninhabited environments. These sorts of outward-looking, big-picture contextual studies are invaluable, but all too often are missing from locally- and regionally-oriented writing, very much to its detriment. In sum, the work strongly advances our understanding of the early prehistory of Fiji through its well-integrated combination of original research and the reinterpretation of existing knowledge in the context of wider theoretical and historical concerns. In doing so The Early Prehistory of Fiji makes a truly substantial contribution to Pacific and archaeological scholarship. Professor Ian Lilley, The University of Queensland

Phoenix from the Ashes? »

Publication date: December 2009
The continued existence of the Russian defence and arms industry (OPK) was called into question following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. Industry experts cited the lack of a domestic market, endemic corruption, and excess capacity within the industry as factors underpinning its predicted demise. However, the industry’s export customers in China, India and Iran during those early years became the OPK’s saving grace. Their orders introduced hard currency back into the industry and went a long way to preventing the forecasted OPK collapse. Although pessimistic predictions continued to plague the OPK throughout the 1990s, the valuable export dollars provided the OPK the breathing space it needed to claw back its competitive advantage as an arms producer. That revival has been further underpinned by a new political commitment, various research and development initiatives, and the restoration of defence industry as a tool of Russian foreign policy. The short-term future of the Russian OPK looks promising. The rising domestic defence order is beginning to challenge the export market as the OPK’s most important customer. Meanwhile, exports will be safeguarded by continued foreign demand for niche Russian defence products. Although the long-term future of the OPK is more difficult to predict, Russia’s solid research and development foundation and successful international joint military ventures suggest that the current thriving trend in exports is likely to continue. Russia represents the next generation of affordable and rugged military equipment for the arsenals of the developing world. Coupled with Russia’s growing ability to rearm itself through higher oil prices and a more streamlined defence industry, the future of the OPK looks bright.

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 1, Number 3, 2009 »

Publication date: December 2009
East Asia Forum Quarterly grew out of East Asia Forum (EAF) online, which has developed a reputation for providing a platform for the best in Asian analysis, research and policy comment on the Asia Pacific region in world affairs. EAFQ aims to provide a further window onto research in the leading research institutes in Asia and to provide expert comment on current developments within the region. The East Asia Forum Quarterly, like East Asia Forum online, is an initiative of the East Asia Forum (EAF) and its host organisation, the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research (EABER) in the Crawford School of Economics and Government in the College of Asia & the Pacific at The Australian National University.
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Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform: Volume 16, Number 4, 2009 »

Edited by: William Coleman
Publication date: December 2009
Agenda is a refereed, ECONLIT-indexed and RePEc-listed journal of the College of Business and Economics, The Australian National University. Launched in 1994, Agenda provides a forum for debate on public policy, mainly (but not exclusively) in Australia and New Zealand. It deals largely with economic issues but gives space to social and legal policy and also to the moral and philosophical foundations and implications of policy. Subscribe to the Agenda Alerting service if you wish to be advised on forthcoming or new issues.

Australian Humanities Review: Issue 47, 2009 »

Edited by: Monique Rooney, Russell Smith
Publication date: December 2009
Australian Humanities Review is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal featuring articles, essays and reviews focusing on a wide array of topics related to literature, culture, history and politics.