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BLUE STOCKING LECTURE | Locating Australia? How students view Australia's region


Presented by Professor Philippa Mein Smith, University of Tasmania

Start Date

24 Aug 2017 12:30 pm

End Date

24 Aug 2017 2:00 pm


Room 210 Social Science Building, Sandy Bay Campus

RSVP / Contact

ALL WELCOME. For enquiries, please contact Assoc Prof Penny Edmonds or Dr Kristyn Harman

The Blue Stocking History Seminar seeks to showcase and promote esteemed women historians and their work in women's history or any related history field.

Australian MapAbout the Seminar

Over the past three years I have coordinated and taught an inter-disciplinary, History-led, foundation-level unit, HAA001 ‘Understanding this Region’, to students in the Pre-Degree program at the University of Tasmania. This unit is designed to broaden the students’ world view, beginning with Tasmania’s and Australia’s place in the world. I soon learnt that some students understand ‘this region’ to mean a part of Tasmania, or Australia at most, rather than looking outwards to bigger spaces, such as Australia’s region and wider oceanic neighbourhood.

As part of the unit assessment I set a simple task: to ask students to find a map that matched their understanding of Australia’s and Tasmania’s region, to name their preferred concept of the region, and to justify their choice. In doing so, they were asked to refer to two or more of the following terms for the region: Asia-Pacific; Asia; Australasia; Oceania; and Indo-Pacific.

This paper analyses the results of this assessment exercise, completed by 427 students over the three years 2015 to 2017. The paper considers students’ views of ‘this region’; how far students identified with and related to the Pacific Ocean and associated connections, and how far to Asia; and the reasons they gave for their choices. It addresses the significance of their outlook for the Australian curriculum, and whether these findings would be replicated across Australia. Will you, too, be surprised at what I found?

About the Presenter

Philippa Mein Smith is Professor of History, Head of History and Classics, and Co-Director of CAIA (the Centre for Colonialism and its Aftermath) at the University of Tasmania. She has long been interested in the idea of understanding this region. Examples include co-authoring A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000) with Donald Denoon for Blackwell’s History of the World series; a section on maps in Philippa Mein Smith, Peter Hempenstall and Shaun Goldfinch, Remaking the Tasman World (Christchurch: Canterbury University Press, 2008); and an article, ‘Mapping Australasia’, History Compass 7, no. 4 (2009): 1099-1122

When | Thursday 24 August 2017, 12.30-14.00pm

Where| Room 210 Social Science Building, Sandy Bay Campus  

ALL WELCOME: For enquiries about the History seminar series please contact Assoc Prof Penny Edmonds or Dr Kristyn Harman.


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