The essays in Australia and the Wider World bring together a lasting contribution to the story of Australia and the history of ideas in this country.
Since the 1960s Neville Meaney has been asking probing questions about social change and the rise of nationalism, especially as found in the making of Australia's self-image and its engagement with the world. His efforts to unravel what he once called 'the riddle of Australian nationalism' have raised important, and often unsettling, challenges for Australians. Bringing together the cultural, intellectual, political and diplomatic dimensions of the national experience, Meaney's work has been dominated by two overarching and interconnected questions: how Australians should resolve the tension between the ‘community of culture’ and the ‘community of interest’ and how they should reconcile their British heritage with their Asian moorings?
A number of topics standout out in the essays – racial discrimination and immigration, the evolution of Australia's Pacific policy, the coming of the Cold War, doubts about the American alliance, the Communist threat and relations with Asia, notably Japan. His treatment of all of them shows how Australia was involved with the wider world and how politicians and policymakers responded to these momentous issues.
If, as Neville Meaney once wrote, the purpose of studying the past is ‘to clarify the argument, mediate the passion and enlighten the judgment’ then these essays, when considered singly or together, will undoubtedly have an enduring value.
James Curran is a professor of history at the University of Sydney and a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy.
Stuart Ward is an associate professor in the Centre for Australian Studies at the University of Copenhagen.
Understanding the Asian century
1. Modernisation and nationalism: a historical perspective on east Asian geopolitics
Britishness and Australian nationalism
2. Britishness and Australian identity: the problem of nationalism in Australian history and historiography
3. Britishness and Australia: some reflections
4. ‘In history’s page’: myth and identity
Asia and White Australia
5. ‘The yellow peril’: invasion scare novels and Australian political culture
6. The end of ‘White Australia’ and Australia’s changing perceptions of Asia, 1945–1990
7. Australia and Japan: a comparative history
Australia in the world
8. The problem of ‘Greater Britain’ and Australia’s strategic crisis 1905–1914
9. Frederic Eggleston on international relations and Australia’s role in the world
10. Dr H.V. Evatt and the United Nations: the problem of collective security and liberal internationalism
Select list of publications by Neville Meaney
Size: 250 × 176 × 15 mm
Copyright: © 2013
Publication: 20 May 2013