Australia from 1788 to the Present

David Walker, BHP Billiton Chair Professor of Australian Studies

The course presents a systematic overview and interpretation of Australian history, society and culture, including an examination of Aboriginal Australia, an exploration of key themes in the historical development of the Australian nation and the settlement of the world’s driest continent. It introduces the process by which ideas about racial purity gave way to a belief in multiculturalism and diversity. This course maps the process by which a society that began with a strong attachment to British values and cultural traditions has adapted to the rise of Asia. In recent years, China has become Australia’s major trading partner, while Australia is a significant source of investment income in China. Chinese immigrants have now overtaken the immigrants from the United Kingdom as the major source of migrants in contemporary Australia. There is every reason to believe that the relationship between Australia and China will become increasingly strong over the coming decades. Given this history and the importance of the bilateral relationship, it is a particularly opportune time for Chinese students to gain a better understanding of Australia’s history and present role in the world.


Australian Society & Culture

Associate Professor Zhang Hua

The course ‘Australian Society and Culture’ presents an overview of Australia that enables students to have a sound understanding of this country from a global perspective. Moreover, the use of documentaries, film and selected reading materials in class helps students strengthen their English proficiency. Australia is one of the world’s oldest landmasses and has been populated by human beings for an estimated 60,000 years. Australia’s particular history determines its defining characteristics as a culture. It has become a country of multiple cultures. China is Australia’s largest trading partner while Australia is China’s seventh largest trading partner. The economies of the two countires are complimentary. A deep understanding of Australian economy and culture can help us learn from the experiences of Australian progress and share Australian multiculturalism. As a key point of multiculturalism, the course aims to increase students’ abilities in terms of cross-cultural sensitivity, awareness and embracing cultural differences in order to broaden international horizons and vision. In the present age of globalisation, cross-cultural awareness and embracing differences are vital qualities for a modern citizen in the 21st century.


PKU Summer School 8th July- 1 August 2013

David Walker, BHP Billiton Chair Professor of Australian Studies and Dr Chen Changwei

Student summer course

Over the 2013 Summer students came from Peking University and from other universities in Beijing. The course presented a systematic interpretation and overview of Australian history, society and culture up until the present. After discussing Aboriginal Australia, the course explored key themes in the historical development of this nation including the difficulties of settlement in the world’s driest continent. The course also mapped the process by which a society that began with a strong attachment to Britain and a belief in racial homogeneity slowly evolved to a society that now strongly supports multiculturalism and diversity. It examined how Australian beliefs, values and trading traditions have changed with the rise of Asia and most particularly with the development of China which is now Australia’s major trading partner.




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