Two roads diverging: critical junctures in Asia and the Pacific

Fri, 16 Nov 2012 13:35:00 +1100

ADRI researchers have wide-ranging interests, but one common theme appears to be that they are studying societies in Australia's region that are experiencing moments of 'critical juncture' - that is to say, they are approaching crossroads in their social, economic, cultural or political development.

Eight researchers from diverse disciplines including Anthropology, Education, Cultural Heritage studies, History, International Development and International Relations gathered at the Melbourne City Centre on Friday, 9 November to take part in a symposium that aimed to draw out the similarities and areas of cross-over among the societies undergoing changes in Myanmar, the Tibet Autonomous Region, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the smaller Pacific Island states, and elsewhere in our region.  The symposium was arranged by Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Gillian Tan and Dr Jonathan Ritchie, both of whom also contributed papers.

Based on this symposium, it seems clear that there is something worth developing in a cross-regional study of societies experiencing change.  Several of the papers presented will be published in the ADRI Working Papers series in the coming months, and discussions are taking place on the next steps to be taken to pursue this cross-disciplinary research interest, including potentially a major international conference examining key aspects of the question such as the way national identity is being constructed in the region.

ADRI researchers who participated in the symposium were Dr Sasi Iamsiraroj (International Development), Professor Damien Kingsbury (Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights), Dr Jonathan Ritchie (Contemporary Histories), Dr Craig Snyder (International Relations), Dr Gillian Tan (Social Theory and Social Change), and Dr Anthony Ware (Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights). Dr John Cripps Clark (School of Education) and Dr Philipp Schorch (Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific) were also valued participants.


Image of Goroka Boats in Papua New Guinea
Fishing boats at Daru, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. Image: Jonathan Ritchie
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20th August 2012