Newsletter No. 51 (July 2007)

The 10th Biennial CSAA conference

“Celebrating Australian China Scholarship”, Griffith University, 27-29 June 2007 Celebrating C.P. Tang’s retirement

Irina Chou

Asian Collections, National Library of Australia

The 10th biennial CSAA conference, Celebrating Australian China Scholarship, was held at Griffith University in Brisbane to celebrate the achievements of working academics, writers and artists. More than 130 people from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Hong Kong and China attended the conference. Most of them are academics and postgraduate students from universities and research schools. Some I have met before when they visited the National Library as part of the Asia-Pacific Week program at the ANU. I was surprised to know that there are so many people doing China related researches. They invariably rely heavily on the library information and services provided by librarians like us.

The conference was officially opened around 6 p.m. on 27 June with the opening address entitled “Beijing Reoriented: an Olympic Undertaking”, by ANU Professor Geremie Barme. The keynote address on 28 June, "Past and Present", was a joint presentation by Associate Professors John Makeham and Antonia Finnane. The presentation was mainly to celebrate their achievements. John Makeham from ANU won the prestigious Joseph Levenson prize in 2005 for his book Transmitters and Creators: Commmentators and Commentaries on the Analects (2003). Antonia Finnane from University of Melbourne won the same prize in 2006 with her book Speaking of Yangzhou: A Chinese City, 1550-1850.

The last keynote address, “Visual Histories”, on the last day of 29 June, was again a joint presentation by two of Australia’s foremost artists and writers, Guan Wei and Sang Ye. Guan Wei discussed a visual art installation on Zheng He’s voyages as part of the Great Wall Exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. Sang Ye’s presentation was on a heritage project in China.

Apart form the opening and keynote addresses, there were six parallel panels in each of the 3 panel sessions every day. each panel session with three to four presentations. Each panel session focused on a particular theme and they were all very interesting. I attended the following six panel sessions:
  • China’s Middle Class Formation
  • The New Rich in China
  • Part of Fabric: Grassroots Christianity in China Today
  • Governing Bodies I
  • Living Overseas: Chinese in Australia and New Zealand
  • Traditional China: Culture and Society
  • From these presentations, I realised the importance of our work in the library. Our work has been assisting them in doing their researches. We not only have to properly catalogue new China-related materials, but also have to carefully handle and preserve historic materials. It has become very important to make these materials searchable online through the internet. We have to be very careful to make materials available either by entering data online or digitising them. What we do in the library have a great impact on the researches by academics, postgraduate students and the general public.

    Editor's note: There will be more conference reports in the next newsletter. Watch this space!

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