Dr Alison Broinowski, formerly an Australian diplomat,
has written and edited nine books about the interface between Australia
and Asia. She is a Visiting Fellow at ANU and UNSW, a Council member
of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (NSW) and a
member of the Orientalists Society of Australia. She lectures in
Macquarie University’s Masters program in International Relations.
Her most recent book, with James Wilkinson, is The
Third Try: Can the UN Work? (Scribe, 2005). Her forthcoming
book, Allied and Addicted (Scribe, 2007) considers the Australian-American
Is there an Asian Renaissance?
Among the ideas that all peoples seem to share,
beyond societal boundaries, one is of particular interest to Oriental
scholars: the rebirth of individuals and civilizations. The idea
of Asian renaissance or revival became a rallying cry and a source
of national pride in countries resisting European imperialism in
the late 1800s; it was used by Japan to claim leadership of Asia
in the 1930s; India and Indonesia invoked it in the 1950s in the
cause of Afro-Asian non-alignment; Southeast Asian countries picked
it up in the 1980s. Whether there is an Asian renaissance, and whether
it resembles its European namesake, or not, influential Asian thinkers
have not given up on the renaissance theme. The paper considers
the claims of several of them that the 21st century is the century
of Asia, and considers ways in which that may or may not turn out
to be true.