Culture and Politics in Asia and the Middle East

Inter-disciplinary research in the context of Asia and the Middle East

The Culture and Politics in Asia and the Middle East (CPAME) thematic group is constituted by a group of world-leading researchers and emerging scholars who come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds but share research interests in Asia and the Middle East.

The group regularly hosts international and national events with a focus on Australia and its relationship with Asia, the Middle East and beyond. By continuing to foster research and institutional links with leading universities, think tanks and NGOs in Asia and the Middle East, the group seeks to facilitate interactions among researchers and promote collaborative research especially around the following issues:

  • The varied and rapidly changing nature of civil society, democracy and governance in contemporary Asia and Middle East;
  • Defining 'Asia' and the 'Middle East' and examining how the broader region has been variously constructed and understood in the 'West' in general and in Australia in particular;
  • Understanding the theoretical and policy challenges of cross-cultural literacy in the Australian context;
  • The complex and overlapping histories of these regions and their myriad languages, cultures, political movements and economic models;
  • The contested and fluid nature and causes of regionalism and 'power shifts' in Asia and the Middle East and their implications for international relations and Australia's regional engagement;
  • Understanding how the 'Asian Century' is imagined and represented in the West and within the region itself;
  • Promoting innovative undergraduate teaching and the supervision of higher degree work in the field;
  • Utilising inter-disciplinary approaches and methodologies as the basis for understanding the complexities of the region.

Knowledge, desire and power in global politicsKnowledge, Desire and Power in Global Politics: Western Representations of China's Rise

Chenxin Pan

How is the rise of China perceived in the West? Why is it often labelled as 'threat' and/or 'opportunity'? What are the implications of these China imageries for global politics? Taking up these important questions, this ground-breaking book argues that the dominant Western perceptions of China's rise tell us less about China and more about Western self-imagination and its desire for certainty. Then Chengxin Pan expertly illustrates how this desire, masked as China 'knowledge', is bound up with the political economy of fears and fantasies, thereby both informing and complicating foreign policy practice in Sino-Western relations. Insofar as this vital relationship is shaped not only by China's rise, but also by the way we conceptualise its rise, this book makes a compelling case for critical reflection on China watching. Knowledge, Desire and Power in Global Politics is the first systematic and deconstructive analysis of contemporary Western representation of China's rise. Setting itself apart from the mainstream empiricist literature, its critical interpretative approach and unconventional and innovative perspective will not only strongly appeal to academics, students and the broader reading public, but also likely spark debate in the field of Chinese international relations.

Furthering Australia-China Engagement

Diplomatic relations between Australia and China have now entered the fifth decade. Buoyed by close economic links, this crucial relationship appears to be healthy and growing. But is there room to further strengthen and develop this relationship? How could Australia and China better engage with each other in political, strategic, cultural, educational as well as economic realms? What are the opportunities and challenges that face this relationship in the new century?

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