Schech S, Haggis J, 1998, "Postcolonialism, identity, and location: being white Australian in Asia?" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 16(5) 615 – 629
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Postcolonialism, identity, and location: being white Australian in Asia?
Susanne Schech, Jane Haggis
Received 11 June 1997; in revised form 4 November 1997
Abstract. In this paper we explore the nature and degree to which Australian imaginings of self in Asia have altered since the 1960s. We do this in two ways. First, an analysis of Christopher Koch's two novels, The Year of Living Dangerously and Highways to a War, is used to establish the parameters of change in Australian imaginings of themselves in Asia. This analysis of literary texts, we argue, can be used to develop an analytical framework for considering Australian aid policies to Asia as cultural texts, and the extent to which such policies can be seen to be part of a redefinition of Australian settler society towards a postcolonial understanding of the 'white self'. In the second part of the paper we offer a preliminary analysis of how Australian overseas-aid policies have begun to acknowledge the fact of Australia's geopolitical location. We argue that these cultural texts reveal a repositioning of Australian identity which remains caught within a terrain of whiteness.
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