How Australia Is Studied in China

Amidst a cacophony of navel gazers seeking to define Australia through the mirror-gazing antics of our glorious elected representatives and a hand full of shock jocks, a new chance to reconsider the identify of our nation has arrived.

40 years after an Australian Studies Centre was established a Beijing Foreign Studies University, China how has more centres devoted to studying Australia than anywhere else in the world, with hundreds of scholars devoting their days to analysing policy and culture here. Despite the generation of scholars and the scope of activity, very little effort had been invested in understanding how Chinese scholars viewed us, until now.

University of Melbourne’s Dr Diane Hu and University of Canberra’s Professor Richard Hu have produced a new tome throwing open the door to Chinese centres examining Australia, How Australia Is Studied in China.

Dr Hu said the book was created in a 9-month sprint last year, with contributions from a wide range of scholars, looking at the impact of soft power policies as well as student and knowledge exchange.

The University of Sydney’s Professor David Goodman said the return of Chinese graduates to China after studying at the University of Sydney in the late 1970s provided, “the catalyst for an Australian studies community in China larger than in Australia itself.”

ANU’s Associate Professor Ben Hillman said that insights about how Australia is perceived by Chinese Centre of Australian studies was, “an important, yet poorly understood dimension of Australia-China relations”.

“Australian studies centres have proliferated at Chinese universities in recent years, and their staff are major commentators and influencers of public opinion about Australia. This volume is the first to examine the history and development of Australian studies in Greater China.”

Watch Future Campus interview with Dr Hu.



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