David Walker

It is perhaps not surprising that historians, as they edge towards retirement, should consider the possibility of reviewing their own life history. So, for example, among the generation of postwar historians, Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Bernard Smith added powerful stories to our stock of Australian childhoods, while W.K. Hancock and Manning Clark, managing two volumes apiece, focused more on the life trajectory and career path. Now, at a time when there appears to be a growing appetite for biography and memoir, one senses that another generation of historians might be sizing up the options.

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Those fortunate enough to hear Professor Liu Haiping speak on ‘Universities in a Changing China’ in Melbourne last month were given much food for thought. As Dean of the School of Foreign Studies at Nanjing University he has been at the centre of a period of rapid change in Chinese higher education.

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