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Teachers' Cultural Maps: Asia as a “Tricky Sort of Subject Matter” in Curriculum Inquiry

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Abstract

The refocussing of Australia–Asia relations is manifest in a combination of national policy moves in Australia. Parallel shifts have been made in Europe, the United States, Canada and New Zealand. In Australia, the curricular response to this shift has become known as “Asia literacy.” This study is drawn from a wider project that explores representations of Asia literacy in both espoused and enacted policy. Teachers in this study are welcoming of Asia literacy, however lack confidence in their ability to engage with it as “tricky sort of subject matter” that requires significant theoretical work to “know Asia,” and “Asian culture” in an “authentic” way. A seemingly insurmountable barrier is created by assumptions that knowledge of Asia can be discretely inserted into curriculum. Critical reflection on residual imperial notions that are evident in such assumptions can in turn open new possibilities to theorise curricular responses to Asia literacy.

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