International: Engaging the World with Australian Studies

The National Centre for Australian Studies recognises Australia’s place in the global community maintains numerous partnerships with organisations around the world, including the British Australian Studies Association, the Indian Association for the Study of Australia, the European Australian Studies Association and associations for the study of both Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand in China and the United States. In 2013 Monash University hosted the annual International Association for Australian Studies Conference in Melbourne. You can access our global partners at International Australian Studies Association, and the European Association for Studies of Australia,

The link to London, Dublin and beyond

As a member of the Commonwealth and a former British colony, Australia has a long and historic association with the United Kingdom. The National Centre for Australian Studies regularly contributes to research projects, conferences and occasional publications fielded by the British Association for Australian Studies. We also have a longstanding association with the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies in King’s College, London. Professor Bruce Scates, Director of NCAS, has served on the Board of the Menzies Centre since 2008; in 2015 he delivered the prestigious Menzies Lecture. The Menzies Centre hosts vibrant scholarly exchange between Australia and the UK and several Australian Studies scholars have secured research fellowships with the Centre.  In 2016, Dr Agnieszka Sobocinska will deliver the distinguished Reese lecture.


via Wikimedia Commons

The Republic of Ireland also hosts Australian Studies, a reflection of the long and enduring connection between Australia and Ireland. NCAS scholars are regular visitors to University College, Dublin, where the Keith Cameron Chair of Australian Studies is based. In 2014, Professor Erik Eklund, former Head of the School in which NCAS was then located, took up the Cameron Professorship in Ireland. In 2016, Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Professor Bruce Scates, Director of the National Centre for Australian Studies, will be exploring new partnerships in Dublin, Galway and Belfast.

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The Copenhagen connection

The National Centre for Australian Studies has forged strong and enduring links with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Since 2006, scholars from the Centre have participated in research and teaching programs at Copenhagen and from 2009 Danish students have attended Study Abroad program at Monash specially designed to meet their interests and needs. Monash scholars, Professors John Rickard, Sue Kossew and Christina Twomey have held the Distinguished Visiting Chair in Australian Studies at the University of Copenhagen in recent years and Dr Tom Heenan has held a visiting fellowship there.

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Journeys to Japan

There is a vibrant Australian Studies Centre at the University of Tokyo and staff at the National Centre for Australian Studies have advised the Australian and Japanese government on the selection and funding of Professorial appointments. In 2008, NCAS in collaboration with Monash University’s Centre for Japanese Studies and the Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, secured funding for three fellowships to enable Japanese scholars to visit Australia. The first visiting Japanese scholar was Professor Keiji Sawada from Waseda University, Tokyo.

Japan image

Passage to India

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From the foundations of European settlement, to creation of a large Indian diaspora in Australia today, cultural and economic exchange with the subcontinent has been as an important theme in Australian history. Scholars from the National Centre for Australian Studies regularly present at conferences hosted by the Indian Association for the Study of Australia, including keynote address to the gathering in Kolkata in 2013. Monash University Faculty of Arts has also sponsored several of these conferences and funded visits by Indian researchers to Australia, most notably Professor Deb Narayan Bandhyopadhy, now Vice Chancellor of Bankura University in West Bengal. Research at the Centre incorporates and engages India, evident in Dr Ruth Morgan’s comparative studies in environmental history and Dr Tom Heenan’s examination of India/Australian sporting rivalries. At the request of the Australian government, the National Centre for Australian Studies hosted the Australia India Fellowship Program, Monash leading a consortium of five universities to promote scholarly collaboration. In 2017, Bankura University is planning a co- hosted conference with Monash.

Anzac Exchanges

C 6 Turkish Helles memorial and flags

Anzac serves as a foundation myth for Australia and Turkey alike and in the lead up to the Centenary of 2015, the National Centre for Australian Studies secured a series of Australian Research Council Grants examining the enduring cultural impact of the Gallipoli Landings. The National Centre for Australian Studies has partnered with Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University (COMU), Turkey’s Gallipoli University, to establish the COMU Australia Centre. Monash University provided much of the centre’s library – a gift by NCAS Adjunct Professor Ken Inglis. It also managed teaching exchanges between both centres’ staff. Since 2008, COMU has received visits by Monash students researching the Anzac campaign. In 2015, Monash and COMU hosted an international conference to mark the Centenary of the Gallipoli landings. Featuring 90 papers from 24 different countries, the conference showcased international scholarship on the Great War.

France and Belgium

C 7 Walking back from Le Hamel

French engagement with Australia dates from voyages of discovery in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth, expeditions that encountered new landscapes, new peoples and helped chart the coastline of the Australian landmass. That interest in the Antipodes is evident today and a growing number of French students, including students from Monash’s prestigious partner, Science Po, enrol in Australian Studies units every year. Research collaborations with France have been strengthened by the Centenary of the Great War, and the appointment of Professor Jay Winter, formerly of Yale and Cambridge University, as a distinguished visiting professor at Monash. The Director of the National Centre for Australia Studies, Professor Bruce Scates, is involved in joint studies of the tragic aftermath of the Somme, as well as leading the History of Anzac Day project. He is also a member of the international Research Council of the Historial de la Grande Guerre, and a contributor to the highly regarded French journal, L’Histoire. The National Centre for Australian Studies is exploring teaching and research collaborations with Aix Marselles and in 2015 Dr Matthew Graves lectured Monash students on the politics of collaboration at the Monash Study Centre in Prato.

The Centenary has also fostered Australian Studies connections with Belgium. The battlefields and commemorative sites of Flanders are visited each year in the Beyond Gallipoli Study tour and the Centre has established an internship program with Ieper’s world-class museum, ‘In Flanders Fields’. Monash students research battles on the salient, contribute to gallery development and place the Australian experience of the Great War in a transnational context.

Trans-Tasman crossings

Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand enjoy a close and enduring relationship. From the nineteenth century to today there has been a continuous exchange of people, ideas and even cultural icons. Australia and New Zealand share the experience of war, depression and the challenge of lasting reconciliation between Indigenous and non Indigenous peoples. Scholars at the National Centre for Australian Studies have taught in Aotearoa/New Zealand and research many aspects of the trans-Tasman relationship.

In 2008 Professor Bruce Scates (Director of NCAS) delivered the distinguished Keith Sinclair Memorial Lecture at the University of Auckland, examining shared aspects of the Anzac experience. This laid the basis of one of the largest ARC linkage grants funded in the Humanities. Community outreach on the history of Anzac Day project includes guest appearances on Maori television in a major documentary on cultural exchanges.

Australia and North America

‘Nawarrun – Oenpelli Python and Barramun – Saratonga’; an Aboriginal bark painting by David Milaybuma. Presented to the Edward A. Clark Center for Australian Studies, University of Texas, Austin, USA by the Australian Prime Minister, the Honourable RJ Hawke, to mark the Centre’s foundation, June 1988. Used with permission.

Scholars at the National Centre for Australian Studies explore many aspects of the relationship between Australia, Canada and the United States. The cultural, political and cultural exchanges between these countries are an area of continuous inquiry: a steady stream of students from North America attend our teaching programs and the Centre hosts visit from Canada and the USA alike.

NCAS scholars have visited Australian Studies Centres in Austin Texas and Washington DC, delivered funded keynote addresses and participated in international symposia fielded in both Canada and the USA. In 2012, Professor Bain Attwood, another Monash scholar based in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University, was appointed to the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University for the 2012-2013 academic year. In 2016, the National Centre for Australian Studies will receive a visit from Dr Rhonda L. Evans, Director, Edward A. Clark Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies. Planning is underway for ANZSANA’s 2017 meeting, which is likely to be held in Washington, D.C.  To learn more about ANZSANA and become a member, visit

Northern Neighbours

Macassan fisherman from the islands of Indonesia were amongst the first visitors to Australia. They came to gather Trepang from the waters of northern Australia and established trade and cultural exchanges with Aboriginal people. Australia has always been a part of Asia and gained much from our ongoing relationship with neighbours to our North. Today, students from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia form a large proportion of Monash University’s diverse international student intake and the University has established a dynamic campus in Kuala Lumpur. Monash was also the first Australian University to take an active research interest in Indonesia, and now hosts the Australia Indonesia Centre, a partner centre with NCAS. .


NCAS scholars regularly visit the region and facilitate both student and exchanges and scholarly collaborations – including formal collaborations with the Australian Studies Centre at Thammasat University, Bangkok. In 2014, Dr Agnieszka Sobociinska, the Deputy Director of NCAS and an expert on cultural exchanges with Asia, secured funding under the New Colombo Plan, subsidising study tours of Indonesia and consolidating Monash links with universities in Bandung, Yogjakarta and Jakarta. Dr Jemma Purdey, of the Australia Indonesia Centre, has now been appointed to NCAS, complimenting our research and teaching interests in this exciting field. The Asia Pacific is also the focus of tourism research conducted by National Centre of Australian Studies, most notably Dr Joseph Cheers studies of eco tourism and development in Fiji and PNG. In 2016, Drs Joseph Cheer and Agnieszka Sobinchinska, and Assoc. Prof. Nathalie Nyugen, Deputy Director of the National Center for Australian Studies will attend the first Thammasat Annual Academics and Post Graduate Conference focused around the theme of ‘Asia-Pacific Century: Exploring the Difference’.

China Collaborations

Today, economic growth in China underpins Australia’s prosperity as a nation- but long before the advent of the Asian century, China was central in how Australia defined itself. The National Centre for Australian Studies has established a close working relationship with the Australian Studies Centre at Beijing Foreign Studies University and supports the work of many like institutions across the country. We regularly host delegations from China, embark on research collaborations, and promote the work of the Australia China Council. Dr Agnieszka Sobociinska, the Deputy Director of NCAS, has coauthored with Professor David Walker, visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Peking University in Beijing, and their pioneering cross cultural scholarship has been translated into Mandarin. The BHP Billiton Chair of Australian Studies was created by Peking University, the Australia-China Council (ACC), and the Foundation for Australian Studies in China (FASIC) in 2011 to enhance Australian Studies across China and Asia more generally. Monash University also has a campus in Suzhou, where the Faculty of Arts teaches masters courses on interpreting and translation.

Under the Tuscan Sun


The Monash Study Centre in Prato, just outside Florence, hosts many of the National Centre for Australian Studies’ activities in Europe. Monash students are based there during study trips abroad, and enjoy guest lectures from Australian Studies scholars across the EU as well as excursions to sites of shared significance for Italy and Australia. In 2010, the Prato Centre hosted ‘Found In Translation: Textual Explorations of Australia and the World’, a multidisciplinary international conference organised by the National Centre for Australian Studies in collaboration with the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics. The conference ran for 5 days and drew on scholars from Australian studies, translation studies, journalism, literature, indigenous studies, politics, film, history and cultural studies based at universities both within and outside Australia, with significant representation from Europe and Italy in particular. In 2014 the Monash Prato Centre also hosted the Annual European Association for Australian Studies conference, ‘Encountering Australia: Transcultural Conversations’, again a collaboration between NCAS and other Australian Studies scholars in the Faculty.

The Monash Prato Centre’s activities also involve public outreach. In 2015, the Prato Centre – in association with the National Centre for Australian Studies – hosted public screenings of ‘The Water Diviner’ and ‘Oh, What a Lovely War’, initiatives to address the Anzac Centenary.

Read more about the activities of the Monash Prato Centre…