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Australia, America and the Fulbright Program
Authors: Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby

This book recounts the history of the Fulbright Program in Australia, locating academic exchange in the context of US cultural diplomacy and revealing a complex relationship between governments, publicly funded research and the integrity of academic independence. The study is the first in-depth analysis of the Fulbright exchange program in a single country. Drawing on previously unexplored archives and a new oral history, the authors investigate the educational, political and diplomatic challenges experienced by Australian and American scholars who won awards and those who managed the complex bi-national program. The book begins with the scheme’s origins, moves through its Australian establishment during the early Cold War, Vietnam War dilemmas, civil rights and gender parity struggles and the impacts of mid-to-late twentieth century belt-tightening. How the program’s goal of ‘mutual understanding’ was understood and enacted across six decades lies at the heart of the book, which weaves institutional and individual experiences together with broader geopolitical issues. Bringing a complex and nuanced analysis to the Australia–US relationship, the authors offer fresh insights into the global influence of the Fulbright Program. It is a compelling account of academic exchange as cultural diplomacy. It offers a critical appraisal of Fulbright achievements and limitations in avoiding political influence, integrating gender and racial diversity, absorbing conflict and dissent, and responding to economic fluctuations and social change.

The reach of empire

Drawing on the latest contemporary research from an internationally acclaimed group of scholars, this book examines the meanings of 'law' and 'imperialism'. The book explores the effects of the presence of indigenous peoples on the modification, interpretation and inheritance of British laws and the legal ideology by white law-makers. It offers a brief history of imperial law, focusing ultimately on its terminal failure in colonialism. The first part of the book presents the processes of colonialism's legality, the internal dynamics of law's theories, the external politics of law's rule. A brief history of imperial law, focusing ultimately on its terminal failure in colonialism, follows. The second part foregrounds racial differentiation at the heart of colonialism, and the work of law(s), courts and legislatures. It helps in defining a colonial population and in categorizing and excluding colonized populations from citizenship in specific localities. The central theme of the third part of the book is conflict: of collision between differing legalities and concepts of justice. The focus is on legal principles and evidence, and on narrative as imperial power. The fourth part explores and analyzes specific historical instances where law and history intersect, challenging European paradigms of sovereignty and fairness from the perspective of indigenous rights. Colonialism lives on in settler societies and other so-called 'postcolonial' states. It lives in continuing conflict over natural resources, daily reconstitution of gender and 'race', and the ongoing challenge to the veracity of indigenous evidence in courtrooms.

Abstract only
Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby
in Academic ambassadors, Pacific allies
Negotiating the Fulbright Agreement
Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby

The Australian Fulbright Program began in a period of deepening Cold War tensions. US suspicions of the Australian Labor Party government and Australian negotiators’ suspicions of US cultural diplomacy shaped the negotiations which began as early as 1946. The Australians sought more equality of representation in the administration of the program of educational exchange than the United States was initially prepared to allow. After a protracted period of discussions and much delay the Australian Agreement was signed into existence in 1949 with equal representation and better terms than other countries had achieved.

in Academic ambassadors, Pacific allies
Politics and teething issues
Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby

The Australian Fulbright Program was implemented after the election of the Menzies’ Liberal Party government. As Australia’s Cold War deepened the Menzies government signed other treaties with the United States, establishing the ANZUS Alliance. Administration of the program of educational exchange had to be established amid attempts at political influence and resistance from university staff who still looked to England for prestige and career advancement. The terms of the Australian Fulbright Agreement ensured a sound foundation, more autonomy meant the appointment of Australian staff to administer the program and who understood how to reach the Australian university researchers to participate.

in Academic ambassadors, Pacific allies
Choosing a Fulbright scholar
Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby

Tensions between Australia and the United States over administration of the Fulbright Program soon became apparent in contests over which researchers should be given awards. The United States retained control over the decisions within the Board of Foreign Scholarships in Washington and on occasion exerted pressure about the kind of scholars that were wanted. Australian selection committees tended to favour scientists, the United States wanted to send humanities and social science scholars as more appropriate interpreters of culture. From these discussions we can see what US cultural diplomacy looked like and what influences were brought to bear.

in Academic ambassadors, Pacific allies
Programming academic fields
Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby

A vital aspect of the Fulbright Program’s history is showing how the program influenced changes, especially in the development of academic fields. The field of research emphases in awards reveals how tensions between the United States and Australia could surface in regard to what might be seen as changing national preoccupations. Australia at first struggled to attract humanities and social science scholars as it was not seen to be very attractive, and Americans preferred Europe or countries in Asia. Fulbright awards were nevertheless valuable in developing fields that made Australia the focus of study, e.g. Australian literature.

in Academic ambassadors, Pacific allies
Cold War governance and the public university
Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby

During the Cold War the Fulbright Program was considered an effective arm of US ‘soft power’ and cultural diplomacy. The United States saw Australia as strategically valuable in the Asia-Pacific region of the world and under the Menzies Liberal Party government, Australia shared the US military and defence agenda. How could the Fulbright Program maintain its independence from government interference in the powerful force of Cold War geopolitics? Australia’s Fulbright board held strongly to the importance of independence and the role of academics to ensure that.

in Academic ambassadors, Pacific allies
At war in Vietnam
Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby

By the early 1960s the original Fulbright Agreement had expired and a new one was negotiated, as a bi-national agreement with the Australian government providing equal funding. This was signed in 1964, in the context of increasing military intervention in the war in Vietnam by both the United States and Australia. Under the ANZUS and SEATO treaties, signed the previous decade, Australia was a keen ally of the United States in Vietnam. The Fulbright Program and the Australia–US alliance were pursued simultaneously by the Australian government. Senator Fulbright visited Australia, criticised the alliance and became a leading dissenter to the Vietnam War. Academics on educational exchange also became active in the anti-war movement.

in Academic ambassadors, Pacific allies
Academic ambassadors interpret ‘mutual understanding’
Alice Garner and Diane Kirkby

The Vietnam War posed significant challenges to academics on educational exchange who were expected under the Fulbright Program to be ambassadors as well as researchers. The CIA surveillance of the anti-war movement and political interference in the administration of the Fulbright Program from government caused academics in both Australia and America to defend the autonomy of the program. How did scholars interpret the ambassadorial expectation when they were opposed to their government’s foreign policy? Many also found they could not speak critically of their national government without antagonising their hosts. Living up to the Fulbright Program’s ideal of achieving ‘mutual understanding’ was very much a matter of learning by experience, to be interpreted by scholars for whom research was actually the priority.

in Academic ambassadors, Pacific allies