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Australian Studies Maurice French USQ

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Australian Studies


In the last twenty years there has been an enormous growth in Australian Studies in Great Britain, Europe, North America and in some parts of Asia. impelled by the bi-centennial celebrations in 1988 the Australian Federal government established a major Australian Studies centre in London and sponsored a visiting chair at Harvard University.

Since then, significant programs have been sustained at a number of universities: Dublin, Wales, Potsdam, Nijmegan in Europe, Oregon, Penn State, Texas and Georgetown in the USA; British Columbia in Canada; Otemon GAkuin in Japan, and east China Normal University. Many European universities from Budapest to Venice-offer some Australian content in their Curriculum. Some scholars, such as  Xavier Pons in France and Henry Albinksi in America, have established international reputations for their expertise in matters Australian.

Perhaps you are already studying Australian literature, history, politics, visual and performing arts, or the environment in one of these admirable programs. Or perhaps You have a burning ambition to climb Uluru, dive the Barrier Reef, or go whitewater rafting in the Tasmanian wilderness. Or does your university require you to spend a semester 'studying abroad?' Then why not take the opportunity to study Australia first-hand 'Down Under?' 

The next few years, indeed, will be interesting times to live and study in Australia. Having recently observed the bicentenary of European settlement, and about to celebrate the centenary of Federation and the Australian Commonwealth, the nation is devoting itself to major issues such as the adoption of a republican constitution, recognition of the rights of the indigenous peoples, conservation of the environment, or what it means to be 'Australian' in a multicultural society that has drawn its citizens from every continent of the world. Australia is now a maturing nation-continent, shaping its own distinctive culture in a  unique environment in the antipodes. 

Australia's universities provide a range of study opportunities that can lead to a formal qualification, such as a Certificate in Australian Studies for the one semester 'study abroad' student, or a three year Doctor of Philosophy for the serious scholar. Alternatively, for research students with limited time, the 12-18 month research masters degree is ideal. Each university will offer all relevant subjects at the first degree level. 

However, if you are interested in postgraduate research, then you might select that University which has strengths in your particular area of interest. However, it is important to note that many of the universities outside the metropolises of the state capitals will have the added advantage of smaller classes, direct contact with staff, and lower costs of living in a semi-rural or coastal environment. Many programmes will also allow you to combine formal study with leisure travel. All Australian universities are established by government legislation with their awards recognised internationally. so standards and quality are assured. 

Australian studies down under are also sup- ported by substantial cultural infrastructure. Generous government grants have resulted  in the publication of key reference ad archival works. literary and social histories, canonical texts and bibliographic guides. Simultaneously. there has been an upgrading of many facilities: the National Library. National Gallery, Australian Archives and National Film Library in Canberra collect a range at materials; the Mitchell Library and Dixson Gallery in Sydney specialise in Australian literary, history and art; and the Fryer Library in Brisbane collects original literary  manuscripts. 

In short, the overall academic infrastructure-tailored courses of study, research archives, scholarly publications, well-qualified specialist staff-has never been more highly developed or more user friendly. Australia is the logical place to study Australia. So come on down! -   


Maurice French

Faculty of Arts

University of Southern Queensland

Tel: 00 612 4631 2100

Web: www.usq.edu.au