ANU Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies

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Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies
Established 1946
Location Canberra, Australia
Website RSPAS home

The Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS) was originally founded in 1946 as part of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.[1]

History[edit]

First known as the Research School for Pacific Studies (RSPacS), the research school began as one of the foundation schools of the Institute of Advanced Studies at ANU.[2] In the late 1940s Raymond Firth, an eminent international scholar from the London School of Economics, was asked to join a group of other academics to advise on the creation of the first research schools within the ANU. Other leading scholars in the group included Mark Oliphant (physical sciences), Keith Hancock (social sciences), and Nobel prize-winner Howard Florey (medical sciences). Firth was responsible for advising on regional studies, especially Pacific studies. Following the recommendations of this group, a number of research schools were established at the ANU to serve as national centres of study in Australia in the post-war period.

During the next several decades the RSPacS built up a strong international reputation for work on Pacific studies (including Papua New Guinea) and Southeast Asia. The first Director and first professor of economics in the RSPacS was Sir John Crawford. Crawford's interests in development in Asia set a direction for economics in the research school. He was also widely recognised as an excellent academic administrator who served as both Vice-Chancellor, and later Chancellor, of the ANU.[3] The work of the research school during this period was strongly interdisciplinary. For example, as well as research in economics, international relations, human geography and anthropology in the Asia-Pacific region, another major development of the school was the creation of the Pacific Linguistics publishing unit by Professor Stephen Wurm in the early 1960s. Since the estblishment of the unit, Pacific Linguistics has published several hundred volumes of dictionaries, grammars, and other linguistic studies on the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Oceania and Southeast Asia.

In the earlier form of the research school, staff of the RSPacS were frequently involved in public discussion about Pacific and Asian affairs[4] Also the genesis of the RSPAS can be seen in comments by Bruce in 1952[5] Due to the earlier focus on Pacific studies, the RSPacS supported research locations with housing for visiting researchers; the Suva Flats in Fiji were one such location[6] For a range of reasons, including significant changes in the balance of power in Southeast Asia in the late 1960s and the following decade, during the 1970s and 1980s there was a decline in Asian regional studies in Europe and North America. Partly as a result, many scholars from North America and Europe with an interest in Asia spent time at the ANU to work within the RSPacS. Well-known scholars from North America who visited the school in the 1970s and 1980s included Professor Bruce Glassburner (economics, University of California, Davis), Professor Anne Krueger (later the chief economist of the World Bank and first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund), Professor Herb Grubel (Simon Fraser University, Canada), and many others.

During the 1970s and 1980s an increasing proportion of the work of the school shifted to Southeast Asia from the Pacific. Many scholarly books, journal articles and other studies were produced following research in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and so on. Reflecting the fact that "the balance of research activity in the School ... has shifted significantly from the Pacific towards Asia in recent years and will continue to do so", in 1994 the name of the school was changed to the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS)[7] RSPAS developed along multidisciplinary lines, encompassing anthropology, archaeology, economics, history, human geography, international relations, linguistics, political science,[8] resource management and strategic defence studies.[9] Over time, within the overall departmental structure of the school, certain special areas of study emerged such as the Indonesia Project which focused on studies of the Indonesian economy as well as other aspects of developments in Indonesia.

At various stages internal ANU and external factors affected the school – such as in 1997 when it was announced that the school was required to reduce staff numbers[10]

In 2010, following a major review of the organisational arrangements within the ANU, the RSPAS was reduced in status in line with other changes to other research schools across the ANU. Shortly afterwards, a new College of Asia and the Pacific[11] was established which took over much of the work of former RSPAS.[12][13]

Publications and outreach[edit]

During its existence, scholars from the RSPacS and RSPAS produced a large number of books and journal articles as well as various other publications that reported on its work and subjects within its scope[14][15][16][17] For example, one of the major achievements of the research school was the establishment of the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies by Professor Heinz Arndt in the mid-1960s. Now in publication for over 40 years, the Bulletin has documented the development of the Indonesian economy and is today the leading international journal dealing with the economic development of Indonesia.[18]

Other work on the region included support for the major annual Indonesia Update conference in Canberra where Australian and overseas experts discussed the state of development in Indonesia. The Update conference, which is now organised within the College of Asia and the Pacific, leads to the publication of a conference volume. During the 1980s and 1990s, the RSPAS was joint publisher of the conference volume in cooperation with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies[19] in Singapore.[20]

The number of linked publication series of the staff RSPAS is of considerable size covering its scope – with publications relating to Australian, Pacific, and Asian subjects [21] However following the change in arrangements in the ANU in 2010, some projects effectively closed down.[22]

Pandanus Books was a publishing arm of RSPAS which produced a range of significant publications relative to south east Asian studies, it was wound down in 2006[23]

Internet

A significant presence for the RSPAS on the internet was the RSPAS-based work Asian Studies WWW Monitor supported by Dr T.Matthew Ciolek. The Monitor was established in April 1994 and operated until January 2011.[24][25] Later, the Pacific Studies WWW Monitor (ISSN 1443-8976) modelled on the Asian Studies monitor was established in April 2000.

Conferences

Subject areas of the conferences that RSPAS conducted or shared with other bodies were extensive in their coverage of Pacific and Asian areas of interest to Australia,[26] this also subsequently attracted researchers with experience who would go on to work in Australian government agencies or authorities, or otherwise government would co-opt RSPAS staff onto their bodies.[27] Of significance of the government relationship between RSPAS and the government is the title of the doctoral these by van Konkelenberg who wrote about The relationship between the Australian National University's Research School of Pacific Studies and the federal government 1946–1975.[28]

Resources of the School[edit]

Collections

The various divisions or sections within RSPAS had collections of materials in relation to the study areas that were on a par or complementary with that held by the National Library of Australia[29][30]

Coombs Building

For much of its history, the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies was housed in the Coombs Building, a notable architectural icon on the ANU campus. The building, named after leading Australian economist H.C. Coombs, was officially inaugurated on 11 September 1964. A set of interlinked hexagons –- originally two, with third added later, together with a lecture theatre and extension—the Coombs Building was the hive in which research and teaching were carried out on the Asia-Pacific region.[31]

Directors[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Foreign Policy Research Institute, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies; retrieved 2011-05-16
  2. ^ The historical background to the foundation of the Research School of Pacific Studies within the ANU is documented in Stephen Foster and Margaret Varghese, The Making of the Australian National University, 1946–1966, St Leonards: Allen and Unwin, 1966; Reprinted ANU E Press, 2009.
  3. ^ A volume edited by L.T Evans and J.D.B Miller, Policy and Practice: Essays in honour of Sir John Crawford, Canberra, ANU Press, 1987, provides an appreciation of the man and his work.
  4. ^ ""Should Send Observers To Peking".". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 22 May 1954. p. 2. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  5. ^ "AUSTRALIA HAS BECOME THE BRIDGEHEAD BETWEEN EAST AND WEST.". Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954) (Burnie, Tas.: National Library of Australia). 24 October 1952. p. 3. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies; Grimshaw, P. G; Australian National University. Pacific Manuscripts Bureau (1971), Records of the Australian National University, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Suva Flats, Fiji, 1971–2005, retrieved 17 November 2012 
  7. ^ ANU heritage, "RSPS," p. 3 citing "Minutes of the 251st meeting of the Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies," 18 November 1993; retrieved 2011-05-16
  8. ^ Australian Political Studies Association (APSA); retrieved 2011-05-16
  9. ^ ANU heritage "RSPS," p. 1
  10. ^ Shorter, Damon (1997) Research school to cut staff by 25% – ANU Reporter, Volume 28, No.6, Wednesday 25 June 1997, p.1 – the Division of Archaeology and Natural History was predicted to be closed down, and the reason given was Federal government funding cuts at that time
  11. ^ http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/
  12. ^ ANU, Office of the Vice-Chancellor, University Structure; retirieved 2011-05-16
  13. ^ Kipnis in his introduction to his book dates the demise of RSPAS as 31 December 2009 Kipnis, Andrew B (2011), Governing educational desire : culture, politics, and schooling in China, The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-43755-2 
  14. ^ Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (2000), Quarterly bulletin, Australian National University, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ISSN 1443-7104 
  15. ^ Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (1997), The Asia-Pacific magazine, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, ISSN 1329-6663 
  16. ^ Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (1996), New Asia-Pacific review, Dragon Media, Inc, retrieved 17 November 2012 
  17. ^ Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (2000), Conversations : occasional writing from the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, ISSN 1444-0849 
  18. ^ Arndt has documented the work surrounding the development of the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies in his memoire, A Course Through Life: Memoire of an Australian Economist, Canberra, National Centre for Development Studies, ANU, 1985.
  19. ^ http://www.iseas.edu.sg/
  20. ^ http://www.crawford.anu.edu.au/acde/ip/publications/publications_ius.php
  21. ^ http://coombs.anu.edu.au/RPN/rspas-print-archive.htm
  22. ^ Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (2005), China heritage newsletter, China Heritage Project, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, retrieved 17 November 2012 
  23. ^ Pandanus Books to Wind Down, Bookseller + Publisher Magazine 85 (9), April 2006: 9, ISSN 1833-5403 
  24. ^ The journal, a pioneering and the only publication of this kind in the world, provided virtually daily abstracts and reviews of new/updated online resources of significance to research, teaching and communications dealing with Asian Studies. This timely, reliable and impartial information was published by the Internet Publications Bureau, RSPAS, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. – from http://coombs.anu.edu.au/asia-www-monitor.html
  25. ^ The Best of The Asian Studies WWW Monitor – http://asia-www-monitor.blogspot.com.au/
  26. ^ Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies; Australian National University. Research School of Pacific Studies (1994), Annual report, Australian National University, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ISSN 1442-1852 
  27. ^ Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (2000), Directory of research, Pandanus Books, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ISSN 1443-7090 
  28. ^ Van Konkelenberg, Jude Nicholas (2009), Australia's Cold War university : the relationship between the Australian National University's Research School of Pacific Studies and the federal government 1946–1975, retrieved 17 November 2012 
  29. ^ ANU Research School of Asian and Pacific Studies. Cartographic Services (2004), Index to Papua New Guinea 1:100,000 topographic survey maps held in Cartographic Services, up to 2004. Topography, retrieved 17 November 2012 
  30. ^ Australian National University. Pacific Manuscripts Bureau (1980), Tam-tam, 1980–1984, Tam-tam, retrieved 17 November 2012 
  31. ^ The Coombs: A House of Memories, is a set of some thirty-five personal recollections by scholars and staff who spent time in the building. Coombs, H. C. (Herbert Cole), 1906–1997; Lal, Brij V; Ley, Allison; Australian National University. Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (2006), The Coombs : a house of memories, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ISBN 978-1-920942-88-5 
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h ANU heritage, "RSPS," p. 5; retrieved 2011-05-16
  33. ^ =ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Governance

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]