Transpacific Visions: Connecting Pacific Histories Between North and South

Associate Professor Christine Winter4, Associate Professor Yasuko Kobayashi2, Dr Shinnosuke Takahashi3, Dr Alexander Brown1,5

1Japan Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan, 2Ritsumeikan University, Osaka, Japan, 3Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, 4Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, 5University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia


This panel examines transpacific history, through transnational connections between the Southern and Northern hemispheres in the twentieth century. It sheds lights on ‘vertical’ trans- hemispheric connections occurring in the Pacific Ocean which enable us to imagine transpacific space. The emerging field of transpacific studies has focused primarily on ‘horizontal’ perspectives which link the United States with East Asia. However, transpacific history cannot be fully comprehended without including what we call ‘vertical’ cross-hemispheric connections. Research on the Pacific often defines it by reference to state economic or political activities (e.g. APEC, TTP). This panel, on the contrary, defines the Pacific as a contact zone where multiple uneven connections inscribed by ordinary people transcend national borders, going beyond actions taken by states. The transpacific space is a hybrid space which produces multiple contested connections and histories. Transpacific histories are created in an uneven, politically and emotionally charged space through interaction between hegemonic power and local people’s response to that power. Only when our attention turns to cross-hemispheric connections made by ordinary people in the Trans-Pacific space can this bumpy and rocky transpacific history be drawn.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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