Author: John Morris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 20:57:07 +1000
Subject: QUERY: Wik, Hanson and Australian Studies offshore
Since you ask about Australian Studies in Japan, I will pass on what little I know. I myself am (was?) a historian of Edo Period Japan (c. 1600-1868). I teach "Japanese culture" at a small women's college in northeast Japan, and because I am Australian, I also have to teach about Australia. What little I know has come from learning on the job. My major source of books comes from bookshops who come around with catalogues of latest publications from whatever publishers they happen to have links with. There is precious little about Australian in the Japanese press; I still really don't know what the Wik thing all about (I figured out that it's about making grazing licences mean what they say), but where does the word even dome from? I'd never heard of Pauline Hanson until I started seeing her name on this net. These questions are largely rethorical, but the ANZAU net does mean a lot to someone in my position who is effectively isolated from an any constant and reliable sources of info. on what's happening in the southern hemishpere.
There are some scholars working on Australia in Japan, although I have no direct contact with them - no time on my part, mostly. There are a few uni. level texts on Australia/Australia history, but they are very dated methodologically (e.g. Aborigines come in a separate chapter at the end). Probably most people who work on Australia in Japan do it as a case study of a certain problem in a larger academic field, rather than do Australian Studies as such.
One good thing that has happened here is that it is now possible to borrow books from the National Library in Canberra through the Australia-Japan Foundation library (attached to the embassy in Tokyo). Until John Howard hears about it and axes it, this promises to provide one wonderful way of getting around the info. gap.
Since I am writing to you, I would like to venture one comment. It might be help to make the net more helpful to the minority of people in my kind of position if users of the net within Australia and New Zealand could keep us in mind in writing their contributions. In almost all cases dealing with current affairs within Australia, messages are posted without any explanation of context. An extra line to two to help those of us (or is it just me?) isolated from both Australia and the English language in general would often make comprehension a lot easier.
Miyagi Gakuin Women's College
[Editor: I asked John Morris to allow me to post this message about teaching Australian Studies in Japan to the wider list. I am glad he agreed. Perhaps there might be some other comments about teaching Australian Studies outside Australia.]
REPLY: Wik, Hanson and Australian Studies offshore
Author: Andrew Hassam <hassamal@LAMP.AC.UK>
Date: Sat, 17 May 1997 11:51:49 +1000
I'd echo what John Morris says about the importance of H-ANZAU to those of us involved in teaching Australian Studies outside Australia. I have found the list of most use to me when the debates have been sparked by contemporary issues (accepting of course the need for debates to be relevant to a history list). These send me off to the Web pages of _The Age_ to check the latest articles and the archives (_The Age_ usefully lists the Hanson and Wik articles). There are also some more reflective articles worth reading, as in the AIATSIS Native Title Newsletter; I've been collecting links to Aboriginal resources (http://www.lamp.ac.uk/oz/links.html) that would contain other material on Wik.
I was also grateful to Alan Ward for raising the issue of political involvement, particularly the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee appeal. I fully support its purpose, but such a posting does have the effect of making the list an Australian list. The use of 'we' in the postings makes assumptions, and sometimes I feel included but quite often not; I find myself observing Australian historians at work. One of the reasons behind Frank Poyas setting up the Australian Studies Network was to give a sense of 'we' to those of us teaching offshore who have been excluded from 'we Australians'. I wonder how the folk from New Zealand see the use of 'we' in the list.
We (at Lampeter) will be running a full BA programme in Australian Studies from October this year. We have built in a first-year course devoted to 'accessing Australia' which stresses our offshore dependence on the Web. But while the Web is good for current affairs, it's no substitute for books, and it is really not that easy to track down copies of [Russell] Ward's _The Australian Legend_ in Wales. Now if only H-ANZAU could broker a secondhand internet history bookshop--or perhaps there already is one?
Convenor, Australian Studies
University of Wales, Lampeter
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