Australian social sciences in the Asian century

2012 bnr



The Issues Paper for the Australian Government’s White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century highlights the need for a deeper intellectual engagement with Asia. This year’s Annual Symposium focuses on this pressing national concern, and the challenges for the social sciences.

How can we foster social science practitioners who are aware of, and willing to learn from, the diverse social science traditions in the region? What is the relevance of such an engagement to theory and methodology in the social science disciplines, to the study of a broad range of societies (including Australia), and to addressing contemporary issues which cross national borders?

Improved Asia literacy will enhance Australia’s capacity to develop cultural and trade relationships in the region, and give Australian universities a comparative advantage in the Asian Century. This Symposium will be of interest to academics from all disciplines, policy-makers, business leaders, the media, and educators.

Specific aims of the Symposium were:

  • to present the diversity of the social sciences in the region
  • to bring diverse ways of doing social sciences into dialogue with each other
  • to consider the role of Australia-based social scientists in mediating between different ways of doing social sciences in the region
  • to provide an intellectual, social scientific framework for calls to engage with the Asia-Pacific region and to develop Asia literacy
  • to consider the role of the social sciences in addressing pressing transnational social concerns in the region, and
  • to examine the implications of the forthcoming White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century for Australia’s higher education system and social scientists in particular.


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