SEIS Academic Forum Series （No.754）
Forum on Intercultural Communication
The History of Cultural Exchanges, with Special Reference to Australia and China
Speaker: Jocelyn Chey
Date: December, 4, 2019 (Wednesday)
Venue: Room 115, School of English and International Studies
Cultural exchanges have been a regular feature of the development of civilisation since the beginning of history and the main motive force for the development of science and the arts. Archaeological work has shown that exchanges along the Silk Road go back at least to the Scythian and Persian Empires (from 7th century BCE on). Since the 19th century, exchanges between Japan, China, Europe and America have been basic to the spread of technology and the creation of modern states in Asia.
Generally speaking, “closed door” cultures have stagnated, while “open door” ones have thrived, but sometimes cultural exchange is voluntary and, sometimes, involuntary. Australian Indigenous culture was forced to accept new modes of thinking and a new way of life from “First Contact” with European colonisers. Such violent encounters may damage original cultures beyond repair. In recent decades, the multicultural society of Australia has benefitted greatly from bringing together diverse cultures and the results can be seen in various artistic forms.
Australia and China have enjoyed healthy cultural exchanges over many decades. Examples of scientific and artistic collaboration will be provided from various decades together with some personal anecdotes.
About the speaker:
Jocelyn Chey is a Visiting Professor at the University of Sydney, an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and a consultant on Australia-China relations. For more than 20 years, she worked on Australia-China relations in the Departments of Trade and Foreign Affairs and was posted three times in China and Hong Kong, concluding with appointment as Consul-General in Hong Kong (1992-1995). She was the first Executive Director of the Australia-China Council when it was founded in 1979. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2009 for her contributions to that relationship and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs. She has edited and co-authored two books on Chinese humour and published several articles on soft power and cultural diplomacy.