Australia’s Asia provides an original, compelling and often surprising account of Australia’s multiple responses to Asia over the last 150 years.
Asia has long been at or near the centre of Australian thinking. For many, Australia’s much-discussed proximity to Asia appeared as a threat. Shadowy Asian figures seemed to lurk around the edge of the continent, biding their time.
Yet proximity also offered new opportunities for trade, travel and cultural exchange. A great number of Australians were fascinated by Asian societies and cultures, relishing the opportunities they offered for new ways of seeing and comprehending the world.
From the late nineteenth century, competing visions of Australia’s relations with its region have jostled for attention on the national stage and in private lives.
Every now and then a book comes along that forces us to reconceptualise our national history, to see that history, and thus ourselves, in a new way, and to understand how we failed to see what is now so strikingly obvious. Australia’s Asia should be credited as one of these landmark collections.— Peter Cochrane, The Australian
This is the first sustained collection of writings on Australian perceptions of Asia in over twenty years. Australia’s Asia provides a critical overview of the field, integrating the carefully selected articles into an important statement for the twenty-first century.— Adrian Vickers, Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, University of Sydney
Australia’s Asia could not be a more timely publication, coming on the heels of the government’s recently released White Paper on Australia in the Asia Century…As the best history does, Australia’s Asia makes the link between past and present in ways that move us forward in the work of replacing emptiness with intellectual plenty.— Nicholas Jose, Sydney Review of Books