Research

Was the first orangutan a cretin?

When Western observers first encountered a red ape from Indonesia in the 17th century, they named it 'orangutan', from Malay words meaning 'person of the forest'. Yet Malays never used this term.

» read more

Rethinking economy and democratisation

It’s usually stated as fact that economic growth leads to democratisation. However when we consider democratisation as a strategic outcome, the opposite is true.

» read more

The difficult position of 'yoga fiction'

As 'yoga fiction' floods the literary marketplace, it changes the way we think about one of India’s most popular cultural exports, paradoxically making India both more and less visible.

» read more

Asia Pacific ideas

Our College has some big thinkers and some big ideas about Asia and the Pacific. Below you’ll find a selection of some our most remarkable findings. It’s a tasty selection of ideas to get you thinking... and exploring, commenting on and sharing.

The decline of China and India

459
likes
China and India might be regarded as this century’s rising powers, but in the globalisation of research and development their leverage vis-à-vis the United States is declining.

New Guinea is as Asian as it is Pacific

7
likes
What do you get when the divide between ‘Pacific’ and ‘Asia’ isn’t a divide at all?

Decentralised conservation: money talks

3
likes
To improve conservation, decentralised systems must take financial motivations into consideration.

Nuclear war can't be controlled

2
likes
Command and Control systems can't be relied upon to prevent an all-out nuclear exchange.

Paramilitaries make me nervous

3
likes
Armed paramilitaries are part of the problem rather than the solution in Thailand's insecure areas.

Torture is okay under Anglo-Indian law

2
likes
While formally prohibited in Anglo-Indian law, torture is institutionalised in British post-colonial states.

Was the first orangutan a cretin?

15
likes
When Western observers first encountered a red ape from Indonesia in the 17th century, they named it 'orangutan', from Malay words meaning 'person of the forest'. Yet Malays never used this term.

Asia’s middle-income peasants

5
likes
The popular image of Asian peasantry is no longer a useful one for understanding the political dynamic in much of the region.

Rethinking economy and democratisation

7
likes
It’s usually stated as fact that economic growth leads to democratisation. However when we consider democratisation as a strategic outcome, the opposite is true.

When is trust more important than money?

3
likes
When it comes to winning votes, it’s the economy, stupid. But economic performance does not correlate with democratic support. When it comes to democracy itself, political trust outweighs economic conditions.

Pages

Hard lessons in soft power

10
likes
Increasingly Asian states are investing in public diplomacy, through Facebook, Twitter, traditional media and academic and cultural exchanges, to build “soft power”.

Japan: citizen science vs nuclear crisis

6
likes
Fukushima’s ordinary citizens are taking science into their own hands, helping to unravel mysteries that experts failed to solve.

Sanskrit is dead? Not by a long shot

3
likes
Picture a crowd of up to 20,000 people sitting entranced for seven days by stories of the deity Krishna. And the source of such captivation? Sanskrit.

Just how Chinese is Chinese philosophy?

1
likes
Chinese philosophy is conventionally presented as a system that exported ideas to neighbouring cultures. But what if it was an importer of ideas as well?

Killers flaunt atrocities on film

1
likes
The study of the 1965-1966 massacres in Indonesia can never be the same again following the release of the film The Act of Killing (2012).

The sustainability of creativity?

1
likes
Across South Asia, members of hereditary artisan communities trace descent from the Hindu deity Vishwakarma, ‘Universe Maker.’ Might such enduring stories carry insights to sustain creativity?

Indian religion: encountering new worlds

1
likes
What happened when a nineteenth-century Jain monk met a Christian missionary? Thanks to a unique Hindi manuscript, we know the answer.

Death and dissolution in the Pacific

1
likes
Pacific funerary rites complete the dissolution of social ties so that new life and new social relations can begin.

High stakes of Korea's Human Treasures

2
likes
In South Korea, the system of appointing Human Treasures in the traditional performing arts scene has led to cut-throat competition.

The Dongson boat burial

3
likes
In 2004, during joint Australian-Vietnamese excavations of the site of Dong Xa, we unearthed a Bronze Age boat-coffin belonging to the Dongson culture.

Pages

Japan: environmentalism with global reach

1
likes
Historians are only beginning to appreciate the contribution of Asia Pacific activists to modern environmentalism.

Pages

Indian religion: encountering new worlds

1
likes
What happened when a nineteenth-century Jain monk met a Christian missionary? Thanks to a unique Hindi manuscript, we know the answer.

The Dongson boat burial

3
likes
In 2004, during joint Australian-Vietnamese excavations of the site of Dong Xa, we unearthed a Bronze Age boat-coffin belonging to the Dongson culture.

China's new borders

2
likes
The story of China's struggles is told in the constantly changing borders of the region’s historical maps.

Finding justice in transitional justice

1
likes
War crimes trials of more than 5,600 Japanese soldiers after the Second World War were a landmark in establishing the notion of war crimes in international law.

Japan: environmentalism with global reach

1
likes
Historians are only beginning to appreciate the contribution of Asia Pacific activists to modern environmentalism.

The Army's post-Vietnam rehabilitation

1
likes
The Vietnam War constrained successive governments’ willingness to employ the Australian Army abroad but gradually, the Army regained government’s confidence.

Pages

Peace with a price tag

6
likes
In the India-Myanmar borderlands, governments seek to buy peace from rebellious ethnic groups.

China: there goes the neighbourhood

2
likes
In China, middle-class homeowners engage in ubiquitous ‘not-in-my-back-yard’ (NIMBY) neighbourhood disputes that replicate the political and social practices of the country’s regime.

New Guinea is as Asian as it is Pacific

7
likes
What do you get when the divide between ‘Pacific’ and ‘Asia’ isn’t a divide at all?

The eternal division of Korea?

5
likes
Ethnic ties are increasingly irrelevant for young people in their conception of the South Korean nation.

Are we trading women's rights for peace?

13
likes
In Afghanistan, human rights advocates speak of women’s rights being ‘traded away’.

Hard lessons in soft power

10
likes
Increasingly Asian states are investing in public diplomacy, through Facebook, Twitter, traditional media and academic and cultural exchanges, to build “soft power”.

Decentralised conservation: money talks

3
likes
To improve conservation, decentralised systems must take financial motivations into consideration.

Paramilitaries make me nervous

3
likes
Armed paramilitaries are part of the problem rather than the solution in Thailand's insecure areas.

An Australian suffragette goes to Korea

2
likes
Belle Menzies’ life as a suffragist and foreign missionary helped to shape modern womanhood.

Whose rule of law in Muslim Mindanao?

2
likes
The Philippines is an Asian rule of law success story. But the real test comes in 2013-14, when the Acquino administration finalises a peace settlement with separatists in Mindanao.

Pages

Finding justice in transitional justice

1
likes
War crimes trials of more than 5,600 Japanese soldiers after the Second World War were a landmark in establishing the notion of war crimes in international law.

Pages

Updated:  11 January, 2015/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team