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Joan Grant

Joan Grant

Dr Joan Grant is an academic, book editor and writer.  From 1985 she taught a graduate course in contemporary Asian history and politics at Monash University and also from 2001-05 in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Canberra, to young diplomats from Australia and Asia/Africa. In 1990 she became Executive Officer of Monash Asia Institute, where she is now Adjunct Research Associate.  She edited the Asian Studies Association of Australia Review and was an editor at Eastern Universities Press (Singapore), and Rigby Publishers, McPhee Gribble, and Sisters Publishing (Melbourne). Her publications include The Australopedia (Penguin/McPhee Gribble, 1988) - the official Children’s book of the Australian Bicentennial, winner of the Children’s Book of the Year Honour Book, 1999 - Worm Eaten Hinges (Hyland House, 1990) - an account of a year teaching in Shanghai during the Tiananmen student revolt - Cat and Fish (Lothian/Hachette, 2003) - winner of the 2004 Australian Children’s Picture Book of the Year award - and Cat and Fish Go to See (2005).  Dr Grant has also published articles, book reviews and poetry in a range of newspapers and journals.  She has served on the Australia China Council, and on the Boards of Asialink and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and on the Council of the Institute of International Affairs, and is currently on the Board of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, where she also teaches English and chairs the Policy Committee.

Joan Grant reviews ‘The Cambridge Companion to Modern Chinese Culture’ edited by Kam Louie

March 2009, no. 309 01 March 2009
Imagine a street with a neo-Gothic church, a fish and chip shop, and bronze statues of Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, and Shakespeare. Someplace in England? No, it’s Thames Town, a satellite on the outskirts of Shanghai. German, Czech, Spanish, Scandinavian and American suburbs are also planned, to cater to the new Chinese middle class, for many of whom, like the Chinese for most of th ... (read more)

Joan Grant reviews 'Ching Chong China Girl: From fruit shop to foreign correspondent' by Helene Chung

July–August 2008, no. 303 01 July 2008
When journalist Helene Chung grew up in Hobart in the 1960s, there were fewer than one hundred Chinese living there, and her complicated family seemed to include almost all of them. Her great-grandfather came to Australia for gold, but succumbed to opium. He was rescued by her grandfather, who worked in the Tasmanian tin mines, founding a small dynasty as brothers and cousins arrived with their mu ... (read more)

Joan Grant reviews 'Undiplomatic Activities' by Richard Woolcott, illustrated by David Rowe

December 2007–January 2008, no. 297 01 December 2007
Are ambassadors anachronistic these days, or do top-secret cables and personal finesse still outflank headlines and blogs? In his new book, Richard Woolcott, one of Australia’s most experienced former diplomats, quotes a French colleague who believes that ‘we have become a combination of travel agent, messenger boy, and inn keeper’. Yet Woolcott’s autobiography, The Hot Seat (2003), exempl ... (read more)

Joan Grant reviews 'From Vienna to Yogyakarta: The Life of Herb Feith' by Jemma Purdey

July–August 2011, no. 333 29 June 2011
Jamie Mackie’s recent death was a sad reminder of a time when enthusiasm for Asian studies mirrored the Australian government’s developing perception that the future lay in ‘our’ part of the world. The small cohort of academics who initiated these studies were genuine pioneers. For instance, Mackie, in the decades after 1958, became founding Head of Indonesian Studies at Melbourne Universi ... (read more)

Joan Grant reviews 'Finding Santana' by Jill Jolliffe

February 2011, no. 328 01 February 2011
On YouTube, the guerrilla fighter Nino Konis Santana is presented Che Guevara style, in fatigues with beret and rifle, against the East Timorese flag. Villagers sing his praises in the local dialect of Lospalos, his remote birthplace. Santana, both a national and a folk hero, holds a revered place in a country which desperately needs unifying symbols. He became the rebels’ operational commander ... (read more)