From ‘Panda Diplomacy’ to Acrobat Diplomacy: China at the Brisbane’s Expo ‘88
Lunch lecture by William Peterson, IIAS fellow from Flinders University, Australia - By 1988, apart from cute pandas, the two things perhaps most adults in the West associated with post-Mao China were the “terra-cotta warriors” of Xi’an and the extraordinary skills of Chinese acrobats. This talk considers the impact of these two bookends of ancient and living cultures on an Australian public at the country’s first modern international exposition, a time when country began to recognize that it was connected by geography and destiny to the Asia Pacific.
Lunch lecture by William Peterson, IIAS fellow from Flinders University, Australia. (Picture Chinese acrobats: (c) Queensland State Library).
Please note: this lecture will start at 13:00 hrs. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required.
By 1988, a year before Tiananmen and after ten years of market reform, apart from cute pandas, the two things perhaps most adults in the West arguably associated with post-Mao China were the “terra-cotta warriors” of Xi’an and the extraordinary skills of Chinese acrobats. This talk will consider the impact of these two bookends of ancient and living cultures on an Australian public at the country’s first modern international exposition, a historical moment in which Australians were increasingly interested in this “sleeping giant” to the north and beginning to recognize that their country was not an antipodean appendage of Europe, but rather linked by geography and destiny to the Asia Pacific. (Picture of Chinese acrobats: courtesy and (c) Queensland State Library).
William Peterson is Senior Lecturer in Drama at Flinders University and former Director of the Centre for Theatre and Performance at Monash University in Australia. He was foundational academic staff in Theatre Studies at the National University of Singapore in the early 1990s. Author of Places for Happiness: Community, Self, and Performance in the Philippines (Hawai’i 2016) and Theatre and the Politics of Culture in Contemporary Singapore (Wesleyan 2001), he has published widely on religious performance in the Philippines, Māori and Pākehā theatre in Aotearoa/New Zealand, intercultural theatre practice and international theatre festivals. His current research focuses on Asian self-representation at international expositions.
Please register via the webform provided below If you would like to attend (by Tuesday 26 June 16:00 hrs if you would like IIAS to provide lunch).
About IIAS Lunch Lectures
Every month, one of the IIAS affiliated fellows will give an informal presentation about his/her work-in-progress for colleagues and others interested. Lunch lectures are sometimes also organised for visiting scholars.
IIAS organises these lectures to provide the research community with an opportunity to freely discuss ongoing research and exchange thoughts and ideas. Anyone with an interest in the subject matter at hand is welcome to attend and join the discussion.