Reconceptualising the ‘Other’ in Australian Universities

Xianlin Song, Gregory McCarthy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

22 Citations (Web of Science)


Within the context of global mobility, the status of Asian students is defined by mixed temporalities, as all historical differences are mediated by a common narrative of European intellectual thoughts. One of the casualties of this tendency, grounded in a developmentalist construct of Asia and the west, is the way these students are categorised by a variety of ‘anachronistic’ practices as part of a pre-modern world. Such a conceptual framework deems Asian international students automatically remedial, while the education Australian universities ‘sell’ is regarded as ‘universal’, belonging to a higher order of teleology. Through a close examination of the ‘Chinese learner’ paradox, this chapter contextualises the implications for the international newcomer on campus in an environment where there has been a market-based homogenisation. It situates Said’s specific concept of Orientalism within Chakrabarty’s general theory of developmentalism. Rejecting the neoliberal ‘social imaginary’ and notion of ‘universal human history’, this chapter argues that differences in cultural background neither do consequentially assume out of time with contemporary norms, as defined by the technologies of the capitalist market; nor do they imply a ‘positional superiority’ for Australian universities, which acts against the transformative potential of transcultural education both in theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntercultural Masquerade
Subtitle of host publicationNew Orientalism, New Occidentalism, Old Exoticism
EditorsRegis Machart, Fred Dervin, Minghui Gao
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer-Verlag London Ltd.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-662-47056-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-662-47055-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameEncounters between East and West: Intercultural Perspectives
ISSN (Print)2364-6721


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