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Diversity

NOTE: During 2007 the Australian (Howard) government continued down its path away from the “M” word, changing the name of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) to Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIC?). Even so, “The current policy – Multicultural Australia: United in Diversity” remains on the DIAC site. Someone noticed the unfortunate acronym then…

General Resources


Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education — “open-access e-journal published twice a year for international scholars, practitioners, and students of multicultural education, EMME is committed to providing a forum in which scholarly and practical ideas can be exchanged to strengthen the theories and practices of multicultural education.”
Cultural Issues from All About Counselling.
Face the Facts— This is the third edition of Face the Facts, published for the Australian Government by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission in 2003.
What is Australian multiculturalism? from Face the Facts:

Australia is made up of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Multiculturalism celebrates this diversity and recognises the challenges and opportunities that come with it. The main principles of Australia’s policy of multiculturalism are:

  • Responsibilities of all – all Australians have a civic duty to support those basic structures and principles of Australian society which guarantee us our freedom and equality and enable diversity in our society to flourish.
  • Respect for each person – subject to the law, all Australians have the right to express their own culture and beliefs and have a reciprocal obligation to respect the right of others to do the same.
  • Fairness for each person – all Australians are entitled to equality of treatment and opportunity. Social equity allows us all to contribute to the social, political and economic life of Australia, free from discrimination, including on the grounds of race, culture, religion, language, location, gender or place of birth.
  • Benefits for all – all Australians benefit from productive diversity, that is, the significant cultural, social and economic dividends arising from the diversity of our population. Diversity works for all Australians.
  • diversity

    Racism No Way— lots of information, including resources on the various communities and cultures in Australia.
    Color Blind: Teaching Tolerance— a new US site worth looking at.
    NSW Charter of Principles for a Culturally Diverse Society.
    The Migration Heritage Centre of NSW values and promotes our diverse cultural heritage.
    Australian Multiculturalism for a New Century: Towards Inclusiveness — great Australian government report 1999.
    Woglife: lively forum for young Australians from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
    Bondi District ESL and Multiculturalism Site: Valuable links to more government documents, translations in community languages, other schools, and much more.

    Some Sydney school communities

    A good place to find more information is Wikipedia: a multilingual project to create a complete and accurate free content encyclopedia. Another good one is SBS World Guide

    … What is multiculturalism? by Bikhu Parekh (1999).

    We instinctively suspect attempts to homogenize a culture and impose a single identity on it, for we are acutely aware that every culture is internally plural and differentiated. And we remain equally sceptical of all attempts to present it as one whose origins lie within itself, as self-generating and sui generis, for we feel persuaded that all cultures are born out of interaction with and absorb the influences of others and are shaped by wider economic, political and other forces. This undercuts the very basis of Afrocentrism, Eurocentrism, Indocentrism, Sinocentrism and other kinds of centrisms, all of which isolate the history of the culture concerned from that of others and credit its achievements to its own genius.

    From a multiculturalist perspective, no political doctrine or ideology can represent the full truth of human life. Each of them — be it liberalism, conservatism, socialism or nationalism — is embedded in a particular culture, represents a particular vision of the good life, and is necessarily narrow and partial. Liberalism, for example, is an inspiring political doctrine stressing such great values as human dignity, autonomy, liberty, critical thought and equality. However, they can be defined in several different ways, of which the liberal is only one and not always the most coherent…

    See the symposium on democracy in culturally diverse societies of which Parekh’s talk is part. Lord Bhiku Parekh is a member of the British House of Lords. He was earlier Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Hull and authored among others two major books on the political philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.

    See also this Tripod blog item.

    Asia as a whole

    Asia Source: from the Asia Society (USA). A really excellent site, especially for students from Year 10 up. See especially Arts and Culture.
    expressions — poems and stories by young Asian writers. (City University Hong Kong)
    1. Chinese
    Amy Wu, “Passing the cultural identity test”, a feature article from the Boston Christian Science Monitor January 2003: For five years I was different, neither American nor Chinese, neither black nor white, yin nor yang. It bothered me for a while, for the Chinese couldn’t figure me out, and the expatriates didn’t want to figure me out. Who was I?
    China the Beautiful: Ming Pei’s site explores Classical Chinese Art, Calligraphy, Poetry, History, Literature, Painting and Philosophy.
    About Chinese Culture
    Mandarin Tools: Chinese language and culture.
    Sinologic–another Chinese cultural and language site.
    Chinese poetry in Chinese and English
    Have fun and profit from this On-line English-Chinese Dictionary

    2. Korean

    See also Report on the Korean Student Forum 2004 originally on the Tripod Blog, but now part of an entry here reflecting on the Virginia Tech tragedy of April 2007.
    When asked by non-Koreans as to “where I’m from” or “what nationality I am”, I usually answer ‘Korean’. In contrast, when I am dialoguing with people who were born and raised in Korea, it is no longer sufficient to answer simply ‘Korean’. So writes Paul Yunsik Chang of Harvard Divinity School in a thoughtful essay published in 1998, but no longer online.
    Soul to Seoul – “The first time I returned to Korea after I had been adopted in 1966 at the age of five to the U.S. was in 1984. I participated on a tour sponsored by the adoption agency I had been adopted through. I was twenty-four, confused &searching for my Korean identity I had lost in the eighteen years I spent in the suburbs of New Jersey & rural New England where my adoptive family lived…” An interesting true story.
    Korea Infogate: portal to lots of information. (Commercial site.)
    Korean Quarterly nominated for national award: The 2002 Utne/Independent Press Association Independent Press Award for Ethnic Issues Coverage (USA). Ideas, opinion pieces, short stories, poetry, photography and other articles. Look at the links page! (Senior students.)
    David Mason’s San-shin Website: Korean Mountain-spirits and Mountain-worship.
    A Generation in Transition: A study of Korean-American youth
    Korea. A cross cultural communication analyzed. by James P. Kim, from Asian EFL Journal June 2002. Mainly of interest to teachers.

    3. India and neighbours I have carefully avoided overtly political sites here, not always an easy task.
    Indian Heritage: “Indian Heritage is a non-commercial site, wherein I attempt to collect and provide information on all topics relating to Indian art, culture and tradition in my spare time.”
    Internet Indian History Sourcebook from Fordham University in the USA: very comprehensive. NOTE: this link is currently broken; I will check it again later.
    Bengali Poetry (English translation).
    Tamil Heritage Foundation: A non-governmental non-political, non-profit organization formed in Boeblingen, Germany. See also An introduction to Tamil Heritage Foundation.
    Sri Lanka: Lonely Planet Guide.
    Pakistan: Lonely Planet Guide/font>

    Shouldn’t there be more???

    Indeed there should!

    I have made a start here with the largest cultural groups currently at the school where I have worked. If you have suggestions for me, please write, or see me, or comment on the guest book.

    About World Literature will lead you to writing from and about many other cultures and places — even Australia!

    Mr. Ashok Dilwali, the renowned Indian photographer who resides in Delhi, took this photo: “Almost looks like a Chinese painting, but is a rare view of fog in a flash of sunlight near Solan in a cold wintry morning.”

    Voices! is the Multicultural Pavilion’s Intercultural Poetry E-Journal. It was inspired by Edwin Markham’s poem, Outwitted:

    He drew a circle that shut me out —
    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout;
    But Love and I had the wit to win:
    We drew a circle that took him in!

    Exploring Asian-Australian/Asian Identities

    I have noticed there is a significant number of senior students who are keen to explore this issue, especially through the study of literature or through their own writing. It is an issue much discussed at University level. Here is a quick trawl through some of the relevant sites.

    Please note some of these may prove challenging. They are recommended mainly for good Advanced and Extension English students.

    “Forming a cultural identity: what does it mean to be ethnic?” — Originally prepared for ‘Youth Workers Unplugged’ in New Zealand: interviewees come from Maori, Indian, Greek, and ‘Pakeha’ (Anglo) families in Wellington. Could give some ideas to spark your own.
    Someone’s Private Zoo: Asian Australian Women’s Writing by Tseen-Ling Khoo
    ECHOES OF HOME: Memory and mobility in recent Austral-Asian art by Christine Clark, curator of the Museum of Brisbane’s Echoes of Home: Memory and mobility in recent Austral-Asian art, 2005. The exhibition is currently touring to seven major galleries in city and regional centres throughout Australia (2006-2008).
    Professor Ien Ang has written much about “living between Asia and the West.” If you can stand a dose of postcolonial theory-based language, you may find her work interesting. The link is to an article called “Migrations of Chineseness” in SPAN, Journal of the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies
    Number 34-35 (1993). The whole issue (edited by Vijay Mishra) is online. Recommended for top Year 12 Advanced or Extension students (and teachers of course.)

    Why still identify ourselves as “Overseas Chinese” at all? Why still tribalize ourselves? The answer depends on context: sometimes it is and sometimes it is not useful to stress our Chineseness, however defined.

    Professor Ang’s book, On Not Speaking Chinese: Living Between Asia and the West (London, Routledge 2001) may also interest you. There is a conversation between Ang and Maxine McKew in The Bulletin Vol 120 No 12 2002. (Subscriber only now.)
    Learn a little about Ouyang Yu, Chinese-born Australian poet, novelist and critic.”He writes with insight about the dilemmas of transnational artists and intellectuals caught between different literary, cultural and linguistic traditions.” See also this Tripod Blog entry.
    Eurasian Australian writer Brian Castro talks about his experience of language and culture: Language marks the spot where the self loses its prison bars–where the border crossing takes place, traversing the spaces of others.
    Henry Chan, Rethinking the Chinese Diasporic Identity: Citizenship, Cultural Identity, and the Chinese in Australia.
    Asia-Pacific Arts: an online magazine from UCLA Asia Institute.
    “Issues of Tradition and Modernity in Korean-American Literature” by Carolyn So, Assistant Professor of Korean Language and Literature, Claremont-McKenna College.
    Index of South Asian Writers Writing in English: just a list, but may guide your reading.
    Monsoon Magazine: Here are some links on South Asian literature and culture worth looking into.
    Persimmon: Asian Literature, Arts, and Culture: Persimmon aims to both inform and entertain. Its mission is to bring to readers insights into Asia not readily available elsewhere. It features established writers, as well as exciting new voices, and presents: contemporary Asian literature in translation (short stories, excerpts from novels, excerpts from memoirs, poetry), feature articles on both cultural and social issues.
    Junoon, a Pakistani rock and roll group: gives insight into the complexity that is Pakistan, and Islam, in a postmodern world. Not uncontroversial, but intelligent people like to think about such things, don’t they?
    Introduction to Postcolonial Studies from Emory University in the USA.
    borderlands e-journal from Adelaide University. “Although our beginnings are modest, we hope that over time you will be able to view writings cutting across and between politics, media, literature, history, law, science, medicine, philosophy, economics, music, film and more, along with incisive debate about contemporary culture.” For teachers and tertiary students.

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    4 responses to “Diversity

    1. ninglun

      March 17, 2007 at 8:50 pm

      Tell me if you find dead links, and tell me any others you might recommend.

       
    2. Ivy

      October 31, 2007 at 6:16 pm

      hey there
      this is a great site ^^ i stumbled on it while trying to research stuff for my ext english 2 major work…. but i think the third link in the ‘Exploring asian-australian identites’ section: “Asian-Australian Fiction by Alison Broinowski, Faculty of Asian Studies Australian National University.” is a dead link/// i got an error page/ this page could not be found when i clicked on it.

       
    3. ninglun

      October 31, 2007 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks, Ivy. Yes that site seems to have gone. I have substituted another one.

      Glad you have found it useful. It began as a support page for some students at SBHS doing Extension 2 English a few years ago. 🙂

       
    4. ninglun

      July 10, 2008 at 11:55 pm

      We have of course some revival of the greater openness to the idea of diversity, thanks to the November 2007 Rudd victory. There have been positive changes, notably the February 13 Apology to the Stolen Generation, and the ending of the iniquitous and unnecessary Pacific Solution on asylum seekers. Let’s see how things go…

       

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