Asia expert to deliver perspective of ‘Asian Century’ in north


Professor Sharon Bell
CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Sharon Bell will deliver the second 2013 Charles Darwin University Professorial Lecture on July 30

A senior academic, documentary filmmaker and anthropologist with more than 40 years of engagement with Asia will deliver the second 2013 Charles Darwin University Professorial Lecture on July 30.

CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Sharon Bell will reflect on experiences that shaped her research while also offering alternative perspectives on the Australian Government’s “Australia in the Asian Century” White Paper.

Professor Bell has worked with international agencies such as the World Bank, the Sri Lankan University Grants Commission and AusAid on institutional capacity-building projects.

“Over a professional lifetime there have been many influences that have shaped my research, but the most profound and enduring has been the two years’ anthropological fieldwork I undertook in a village in Sri Lanka in the late 1970s,” Professor Bell said.

“In my Professorial Lecture I will only make passing reference to my own research in the social sciences, which has traversed a wide terrain, from post-colonial Sri Lanka to the changing circumstances of women in the Sciences and the Academy. Although, I will draw on my own experience to inform and interrogate the perspectives I present.”

Professor Bell’s lecture entitled “Our Asian Centuries: Provenance and Proximity” will interrogate the concept of “proximity”.

“The ‘Asian Century’ is seen as an Australian and regional opportunity, as ‘the tyranny of distance’ is being replaced by the prospects of proximity,” Professor Bell said.

In this lecture it is argued that Australia’s engagement with Asia has been, and continues to be, characterised by both inclusion and exclusion, where hostility and fear as well as generosity and compassion have powerfully defined Australia’s place in the region.

“Over time, complex flows of people, knowledge and culture have been embraced and disrupted and the perspective from Northern Australia has often looked very different to that of the Southern states of Australia.”

Professor Bell holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Sydney. She is a current recipient of an Australian Research Council grant on Women in the Scientific Research Workforce. She also continues the research on post-colonial Sri Lanka that began with her doctoral studies.

The Professorial Lecture will be held on July 30 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm in the Nitmiluk Lounge, Level 4, Parliament House. The event is free, but seats are limited and RSVPs are essential. RSVP by July 26 to E: or T: 08 8946 6554.

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