Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
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NEWSLETTER NO. 33         SPRING 2006


ANZSANA & AAALS Meet in Montreal
For a second year running, the Australia & New Zealand Studies Assn. of North America (ANZSANA) and the American Assn. of Australian Literary Studies (AAALS) met concurrently and jointly, this year on April 6-8 in Montreal’s Fairmont Hotel. Some 70 scholars and students attended the two conferences, and they were joined by a quintet of officials representing the Australian,  Canadian, and New Zealand governments.

At a joint conference dinner in a pleasant Old Montreal restaurant, Prof. Helen Irving, from Sydney University's Law School and who has been this year's holder of the Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard, delivered a sparkling keynote address dealing with the distinctive role of the Constitution in American political culture. At a joint reception on the preceding evening, remembrances of the late Robert Ross – notably a letter from his wife Anita – were shared, and glasses were raised to honor Robert.

Plans to hold concurrent conferences of ANZSANA and AAALS again in 2007 were discussed and are now in the hands of the two associations' presidents and boards. The probable venues, in late March 2007, will be the Australian and New Zealand embassies in Washington, with assistance by the Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University.


Australia to Create a U.S. Studies Center
During his visit to Washington in mid-May, Prime Minister Howard announced his government's intention to create, contingent on private sector donations, a A$25 million U.S. Studies Centre, to be located at an Australian university. The aims, in Howard's words, are to "increase the awareness of the study of American politics and government, promote collaborative research between institutions in Australia and the U.S., and operate as a think tank for the Australia-America relationship." The center's location will apparently be decided after a competition by interested universities collaborating with their respective state or territory governments.


Message from the Director
Have you ever seen a large academic department move? I now have, and it is a memorable experience. As more or less my last act as chair of UT-Austin's Government Dept., I've just overseen the department's move from a building that approximates a rabbit warren, where it was located on an "interim" basis for 35 years, to a palatial building complex in which, I trust, the department will reside for this century's duration.
But getting 60 faculty members with, collectively, tens of thousands of books, a dozen department staff with countless files, and a hundred Ph.D. students with insouciant comments about the world taped to their office doors, plus more computers and printers than Michael Dell sees in a year, shifted a few hundred yards is a rather daunting task. Faculty members were of course given months of advance warning, but on the evening before the move many were hastily examining materials squirreled away over academic lifetimes and asking "Will I ever really need these books and stacks of molding newspapers and magazines again?" The most frequent answer was, "Well, maybe I’d better keep this stuff…just in case."  Books and materials were packed into crates, stacked four high on dollies, and the faculty member who won the prize for most prodigious keeper of academic heirlooms used 157 crates! 

What, does all this have to do with the Clark Center? It's just a way of noting that my five years as department chair are at an end, so that I will attend to the Center in a more concerted way hereafter. Or, at least, I'll do that once I take the 2006-07 academic year off to re-tool. I plan to spend the coming fall semester in Europe attending – you guessed it – half a dozen conferences, from France and Italy to Russia, and from Germany and Norway to Ukraine. All have to do with my writing about political elites – my other scholarly life. But I'll likely spend part of the spring 2007 semester in Australia, where I hope to initiate collaborative projects between the Clark Center and its Australian counterparts.

When I'm in Europe this fall, Frances Cushing, who has pretty single-handedly run the Clark Center during my chair years, will remain at the controls. And I know that Jason Pierce, Rhonda Evans Case, and the board members of ANZSANA are already well advanced in planning next spring's conference in cooperation with AAALS leaders.

I can report, in conclusion, that the UT-Austin campus is for the moment empty and quiet – only the sound of Government Dept. faculty emptying crates and beseeching computer support staff to "Get me back up!" breaks a post-Commencement reverie. I hope that where you are is even more serene.


John Higley

Briefing of the US Ambassador Designate to Australia
In late April, Dr. Higley and Dr. Rhonda Evans Case, a graduate of UT-Austin and a  specialist on Australia's legal system, participated in a day-long briefing of Robert D. McCallum, the Associate Attorney General of the U.S. and President Bush's nominee for the US ambassadorship in Canberra. The briefing was organized by the State Department to take stock of U.S.-Australia relations, the two countries' Asia-Pacific interests, as well as main aspects of Australia's political and legal scene. Dr. Evans Case, who has been teaching this year at Claremont's McKenna College and will be Assistant Professor at Eastern Carolina University from this fall, flew in from Brussels, where she had been at a conference about human rights issues in the European Union. On the day following the Washington briefing, she and Higley met with officials in the Australian Embassy and the State Department to canvas U.S.-Australia relations further.


"The Other Special Relationship"
Dr. Higley is participating in a two-part conference that assesses the current and prospective state of the Australia-U.S. relationship. The conference's first part took place in late March at Dickenson College in Carlisle PA and the National Defense University in Washington. Its second part will be held at Griffith University in Brisbane and the ANU in early July. Among the Australians participating in the conferences are some of the relationships best-known observers: Rob Ayson, Michael Evans, Paul Kelly, Brendon O'Connor, Don Russell, Brendon Taylor, Bill Tow, and Michael Wesley. Scheduled keynote and dinner speakers for the Brisbane-Canberra conference are Alexander Downer, Kevin Rudd, and General Angus Houston, Chief of the ADF.


Pam Ryan's Beyond Fear Premiers
In addition to managing two organizations centrally concerned with Australian and American affairs – Issues Deliberation Australia, and Issues Deliberation America – Dr. Pam Ryan, who is a faculty affiliate of the Clark Center, has spearheaded an international research project that explores the psychological impact of fear and terror in today’s world. She and her collaborators have made a feature documentary film, entitled Beyond Fear: Finding Hope in the Horror, which is to be shown in a variety of American and Australian venues. Dr. Ryan recently hosted the film's gala American premier in Austin’s beautifully restored Paramount Theater.


Australia Day in Berrima
Australia Day found Prof. Roy Mersky, Director of the Tarlton Law Library at UT-Austin and a faculty affiliate of the Clark Center, in Berrima, the quaint Southwest Tablelands town halfway between Canberra and Sydney. A world authority on law libraries, Prof. Mersky has advised the ANU and Melbourne universities libraries, among others in Australia, about their operations. He and his Australian wife, Rosemary Bunnage, were visiting friends in Berrima, so they joined the screeching cockatoos, flag-waving children, and thousands of Sydney-siders who motored out to celebrate Australia's national day.

Prof. Mersky has recently penned the Foreword to J.M. Bennett's biography of Sir Henry Wrenfordsley, which appears in Bennett's monograph series on Lives of the Australian Chief Justices, a series supported by the Tarlton Law Library. 


John Wells
For many years one of the most dedicated supporters of Australian Studies in North America, John Wells has recently accepted a job as Director of Off Campus Studies at Wells College. He assures everyone that the identity of names between his and his new employer has no larger meaning! But alas, John's job change means that he will be less active in Australian Studies. His personal e-mail:


Recent Clark Center Visitors
Tony Buti, Murdoch University Faculty of Law, who presented a paper on "'The Stolen Generations' and Reparations," co-sponored by the Center and UT's Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice.

Dr. James Jupp, Australian National University, who presented a paper on "Terrorism, Immigration and Multiculturalism: the Australian Experience," to a UT-Austin conference on immigration policies.

Dr. Brendon O'Connor, Griffith University and this spring's Fulbright Alliance Scholar, who attended a UT conference on "The Globalization of Suicide Terrorism."

Katherine O'Connor, Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor of Griffith University, who accompanied  Dr. O'Connor. 

YACKER Is published in the fall & spring by The Edward A. Clark Center for Australian & New Zealand Studies,
Harry Ransom Center 3.362
The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78713-7219
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This Newsletter was not printed with state funds.

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