Disappearing Nation: Loss and Engagement in Australia's Encounter with Asia

Prof David Walker
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The intellectual foundation of the case for Australia to engage Asia was laid in the 1930s when it became increasingly apparent that the nation's future would be influenced, perhaps determined, by events in the Asia-Pacific region. This paper examines the faltering history of engagement from the 1930s and the resistance to Australia becoming 'part of Asia'. Critics of engagement maintained that the more Australia became part of Asia the less 'Australian' it became. The paper will examine the competing claims of 'Asia' and 'Australia' and the anxieties associated with the alleged loss or disappearance of the nation.

Keywords: Nationalism and History, Australian Studies, National Identity, History and its Futures
Stream: History, Historiography, Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Prof David Walker

Professor, Professor of Australian Studies
Faculty of Arts, Deakin University


David Walker is Professor of Australian Studies at Deakin University. He has research interests in Australian social and cultural history and edits the journal, Australian Cultural History. He is currently researching Australian perceptions of Asia from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The first of two volumes on this subject is to be published by University of Queensland Press in April 1999 as Anxious Nation: Australia and the Rise of Asia, 1850 to 1939. With Professor Joan Beaumont he is researching the Second World War and Memory. Professor Walker has extensive experience in the development of Australian Studies programs in PRChina, Japan and Indonesia.

Ref: H06P0118