Dragon Tails 2009


Dragon Tails: Re-interpreting Chinese-Australian Heritage
9–11 October 2009
Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Victoria

In 1984, noted historian Jennifer Cushman challenged researchers to move beyond the prevalent one-dimensional approach to understanding the Chinese presence in Australia, which primarily examined Australia’s attitudes towards the Chinese. Since then, researchers have taken up this challenge and sought to understand the Chinese ‘on their own terms’. New sources have been uncovered and new approaches have been applied to reveal the complex picture of Chinese community cultures, identities and race relations in Australia.

While we can no longer say that the history of the Chinese in Australia is hidden or neglected, where do these new stories fit within the wider narrative of Australian history? What are the challenges involved in communicating and interpreting these new perspectives, with their inherent complexity and contradictions, to broader audiences? One of the major aims of the Dragon Tails conference is to bring together these new historical understandings about early Chinese-Australians, and consider their place within broader histories of Australia and the Chinese diaspora. Another aim is to create a forum for how these stories can be interpreted in the classroom, and at cultural heritage sites and museums.

The Dragon Tails conference brings together a wide range of disciplines including history, archaeology, tourism, cultural studies, education, and museum/heritage studies. It also incorporates comparative inter-colonial and transnational perspectives of Chinese-Australian heritage and history.

The themes of this conference include:

Conference program

> full conference program (pdf, 306kb) – including list of speakers and abstracts