The BHP Billiton Chair Professor of Australian Studies at Peking University in Beijing, was created by Peking University, the Australia-China Council (ACC), and the Foundation for Australian Studies in China (FASIC) in 2011 to enhance Australian Studies at Peking University and to support Australian Studies Centres located at other Chinese universities and research institutes.

The Chair program was created with the generous support of Peking University, BHP Billiton and FASIC. The Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the ACC and Universities Australia acknowledge and support the Chair program.

Current Chair: Professor Gregory McCarthy


Greg portrait smallProfessor McCarthy holds a Personal Chair of Australian Politics at the University of Western Australia. His main research interests and extensive publications are on Australian politics and political culture. His research focuses on transitional change within and between nations, exploring how material, cultural and political forces create instability and how nations, institutions and people adapt to uncertainty. His seminal book Things Fall Apart: A History of the State Bank of South Australia, analysed the dynamic relations between global financial change and its dramatic effect on public banking in Australia. Recently, he has written on the internationalisation of Australian higher education effected by Chinese students studying in Australia, and the steady growth of Australian students studying in China. He has also explored the political implications of the conversion of Australian higher education from an elite to a mass education system. In addition, he has investigated the international relationship between Australia and China as read through the policies of contemporary Australia governments.

His professorship at the University of Western Australia compliments that university’s strong commitment to research and teaching in Australian studies and his appointment as the BHP Billiton Chair of Australian Studies at Peking University coincides with the Harvard Chair in Australian Studies being held by the renowned University of Western Australia academic, Professor Philip Mead.

Inaugural BHP Billiton Chair of Australian Studies at Peking University, Professor David Walker (March 2013 – January 2016)

david walker

As a well-established professor of Australian Studies at Deakin University, Professor Walker has written extensively on Australian representations of Asia. His prize-winning book Anxious Nation: Australia and the Rise of Asia, 1850 to 1939 (UQP, 1999) has been translated into Chinese and published by China Renmin University Press (2009). An English edition was published in India in the same year and a Hindi translation will be published in 2014. He is the co-editor with Agnieszka Sobocinska of Australia’s Asia: From Yellow Peril to Asian Century (UWA Publishing, 2012).

A collection of his Asia-related essays has been published under the title Encountering Turbulence: Asia in the Australian Imaginary (Readworthy, 2013). His recently published personal history, Not Dark Yet, was translated into Chinese by Professor Li Yao and published by The People’s Literature Publishing House, Beijing, in 2014. Professor Walker is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.