David Walker: Listening to China

david walker.png

This is a history of race, white prestige and belonging in a world shaken and transformed by decolonisation. These changes thrust the perplexing ‘mind of Asia’ to the fore. The psychology of Asia was often seen as the elusive key to understanding the region, rather than social and economic circumstances. With Britain’s withdrawal to Europe came a greater need for accommodation with Asia, leading to insistent calls for a better understanding of Asia. Responding to these challenges, Australia introduced a range of schemes which sought to position Australia as an Asia-friendly neighbour and not, as some critics in Asia claimed, an arrogant white intruder.
— STRANDED NATION, by David Walker
David Walker’s Stranded Nation is a recommended read for anyone, politicians and students alike, seeking to know the history of Australia’s agonising over Asia; how it began, how it evolved and the passionate and colourful characters involved. Stranded Nation is told with authority, insight and wit, and the satisfying readability of a good novel, and that makes it great history.
— Stephen FitzGerald, writer, sinologist and Australia’s first Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China

David Walker grew up in small mining town in South Australia in the post war years.

He became an academic in Australian studies, looking at how Australians have perceived Asia over the decades.

In his childhood, Asia was thought of as a threatening and exotic place, looming over Australia.

But at the same time, there were voices urging Australia to embrace its Eurasian future.

Some years ago, David was appointed the Chair of Australian Studies at Peking University.

When he took the job, he was almost entirely blind.

Further Information

Stranded Nation is published by UWAP

Duration: 53min 6sec

Broadcast: Wed 24 Apr 2019, 11:00am


David Walker


Presenter: Richard Fidler

Executive Producer: Carmel Rooney

Researcher: Nicola Harrison

Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/david-walker/11027416