To the Islands: White Australia and the Malay Archipelago since 1788

To the Islands: White Australia and the Malay Archipelago since 1788

by Paul Battersby
     
 

To the Islands offers a unique perspective on the evolution of economic, social and political interconnections between Australia and its island region spanning two centuries, from the early years of British colonization to the present day. The book advances the argument that globalizing processes are drawing Australia incrementally closer to modern day South East

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Overview

To the Islands offers a unique perspective on the evolution of economic, social and political interconnections between Australia and its island region spanning two centuries, from the early years of British colonization to the present day. The book advances the argument that globalizing processes are drawing Australia incrementally closer to modern day South East Asia and the wider Asia Pacific. While globalization is a term commonly associated with the twentieth century world, this study traces the history of Australia's regionalisation back to the nineteenth century; to the lived experiences of Australian travelers, tourists, prospectors, mining entrepreneurs in the Netherlands Indies, Malaya and Siam or Thailand as it is known today. To the Islands challenges the orthodox view that Australia's relations with its regional neighbors were insignificant before the outbreak of war in the Pacific in 1941. By the early 1900s, Java was a popular tourist destination for Australians while Malaya and Siam were emerging as major Australian foreign investment destinations. In placing economic and social interactions ahead of political and security concerns in the analysis of Australia's regional relations, the book highlights the role of non-state actors and people-to-people connections in shaping the contours of Australian diplomatic engagement with South East Asia and the South West Pacific. To the Islands is an essential book for advanced students and researchers of the history and politics of the Asia Pacific and Australia.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Australians and persons interested in Australia will find this book a useful guide to further reading on this topic. Recommended.
Journal Of Southeast Asian Studies
A multifaceted book, it is structured chronologically around the thematic organisation and analysis of a vast array of mostly Australian primary sources. Particularly useful for the personal accounts, as well as for the mass of trade data, charts and statistics it contains, the books is a very valuable addition to the history of Australia's engagement with Asia.... It is a very useful resource for academics and policymakers alike and contributes new evidence about the extent of ordinary Australians' connections to Asia. Some years ago, I convened an Engaging Asia course at the Australian National University—I wish this book had been available then.
Choice
Australians and persons interested in Australia will find this book a useful guide to further reading on this topic. Recommended.
Alison Broinowski
Australia's historical interactions with Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific are something of a blind spot, onto which Paul Battersby's book turns a much needed searchlight. Setting out to write Australia into regional affairs, it puts today's events in the context of past modes of transportation, investment, security, and travel, as well as economic and territorial rivalries. To the Islands covers two centuries of Australian engagement informatively, entertainingly, and accessibly. It offers a wider perspective and a disincentive to any who might want to write the region off.
Kevin Hewison
To the Islands is a fascinating account of Australia's relations with Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands in the 19th and 20th centuries. Usually, Australia is best remembered for its niggardly and obnoxious White Australia Policy. In this book, Paul Battersby tells a far more complex and an altogether more nuanced story of Australian tourists, businessmen and political leaders and their encounters with the region. The White Australia Policy is an important part of this story, as is the fear, racism and colonial mentality that drove it, but Paul Battersby also alerts us to the important relationships that underpinned the little studied linkages Australians developed throughout the region. To the Islands is an original contribution to the scholarship on Australian-Asian relations. Paul Battersby provides a new perspective that places Australia in a global system of production and exchange, mining the archives for some new and interesting data. He also 'populates' this relationship with accounts of the Australians who encountered the region. Some were undoubtedly colourful characters, but Battersby also introduces his readers to the more average Australian and their experiences of the region. The book is well-researched, well-illustrated, and well-written. Fascinating and important.
Donald Denoon
Battersby's excitement is laudable, and infectious.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739120521
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
02/03/2010
Pages:
266
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Battersby is senior lecturer in globalisation and cultural diversity at RMIT University.

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