Indonesian studies at the Australian National University: Why so late?

Anthony Reid*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    The Australian National University was founded in 1948 to develop 'subjects of national importance to Australia'. Its Research School of Pacific Studies ivas intended specifically to make good the ignorance of the areas to Australia's north which had proved costly during the Pacific War. In Melbourne there were a few people like Herb Feitb, mostly students of MacMahon Ball, who immediately saw the challenge of Indonesia. The question that needs answering is why the mandate of ANU did not produce a school or centre of Southeast Asian Studies, or even much significant individual scholarship on Indonesia, until the late 1960s. Why did Australia not build in the twenty jears after the war anything remotely comparable to the Centres the Americans established at Cornell, Yale, Michigan, Wisconsin and Berkeley? How, nevertheless, did the ANU gradually find its way to becoming a centre without a Centre.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51-74
    Number of pages24
    JournalRIMA: Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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