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The Australian National University

Pacific and Asian History

History as a discipline examines the meaning of the human condition by exploring experiences, memories and reconfigurations of the past, and by examining processes of political, social, economic, cultural, intellectual and environmental change over periods ranging from the very long to the very short. The work of the Department includes academic research, publication, undergraduate teaching and postgraduate supervision on a wide range of issues related to the histories and cultures of Asia and Oceania.

Our research is marked by close attention to documentary, oral, and visual materials. We combine particular empirical interests with reflection on the nature of historical inquiry, representation and writing in history and related disciplines. Our methods include the deep reading of texts for meaning and the rigorous practice of documentary study and criticism.

The distinctiveness of the Department of Pacific and Asian History lies in our direct engagement with Asian and Pacific societies on fundamental questions of identity and meaning. By emphasizing the resonances of past and present, the work of the Division forms an essential link between the College of Asia and the Pacific and the societies that it studies. A vigorous historical research presence in the College provides a temporal perspective on current developments in the Asia and Pacific region, contributing to the deep understanding of contemporary political, social and economic processes.

The Department's research fields include imperialism, international history, colonialism and revolution; modernity, postcolonialism, and globalization; the construction and subversion of global, national, local, diasporic, and other identities (including class, gender, ethnicity and religion); the nature of borders; the character of violence; visual representation and electronic media; the articulation of history and memory in national and popular cultures; relations between majority and minority cultures and societies; the history of ideas and technologies; shifting discourses on relationships between human society and the natural environment.

The Australian National University's History discipline has consistently been rated 5 (the highest possible ranking) in the regular ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia). The discipline has been ranked 15th in the world according to the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject and ranks number one across Australian universities for the subject. We share these honours with our colleagues in the School of History, CASS, which focuses primarily on Western history (including Australia). Visit the QS Top Universities website to find out which universities have performed the best in history this year.

Pacific and Asian History newsletter

Volume 1, Issue 2 July - February 2013/14

Volume 1, Issue 1 November - January 2012/13

Mailing address   Visiting Address
Department of Pacific and Asian History
School of Culture, History and Language
College of Asia and the Pacific
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 2601 Australia
  Coombs Building
Fellows Road
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 2601 Australia
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Updated:  20 February 2015/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language /Page Contact:  CHL webmaster