Associate Professor Catriona Elder appointed Visiting Professor at University of Tokyo

19 February 2013

Associate Professor Catriona Elder
"It will be different thinking and teaching about Australia from outside the nation", says Associate Professor Catriona Elder.

Associate Professor Catriona Elder from the Department of Sociology and Social Policy has been appointed Visiting Professor in Australian Studies at the University of Tokyo, a position she will commence this October. The role sits within the Japanese University's Centre for Pacific and American Studies (CPAS).

"I know the Centre is a friendly and exciting place to work - with so many interesting scholars," says Associate Professor Elder. "Their Department of Sociology is also outstanding, so I'm very much looking forward to my time there."

A leading scholar in the field of 20th-21st century Australian cultural identity, especially relations between Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, Associate Professor Elder will be teaching these topics outside of Australia for the first time.

"It will be different thinking and teaching about Australia from outside the nation. I have plenty of new ideas to share. However, I also expect to learn a great deal from being in Japan and working with my students", she says.

In addition to teaching, Associate Professor Elder will also use this trip as an opportunity to continue her research, which spans a variety of areas, from migration, to Indigenous knowledge and reconciliation, to forbidden love.

"I have been researching love, romance and popular culture recently, and thinking about romance fiction and nations; the idea of forbidden love. This emerged from some of my earlier work that explored the context of Australian servicemen who fathered children while in Japan after WWII. I am planning to meet with Japanese scholars who do similar research in the Japanese context".

It was Catriona's own father's posting to Japan at that time that got her interested in this period.

"My father was posted to Kure in Japan after WWII. I always remember looking at his photographs and listening to his stories of his time there. He sometimes laughs that the fast train he took all those decades ago must be so quick these days that it arrives before it leaves. I have now written a little bit about this period and I am sure he will visit me and we will have a trip to Kure as part of my time in Japan."

The Visiting Professor in Australian Studies is supported by the Australia-Japan Foundation(AJF), a non-statutory, bilateral foundation in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which aims to strengthen Australia-Japan relations.

Professor Kate Darian-Smith, AJF Board member and chair of the Selection Committee, said 'We are thrilled with the appointment of Associate Professor Elder, as she will bring her deep knowledge of Australian society to Tokyo University and contribute to the building of scholarly links between Australia and Japan'.

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