Lifetime membership awarded to Anne McLaren

Anne McLaren is retired Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Melbourne. Anne is an expert on popular literature, oral traditions, folk culture and Chinese women. Her main research interest is Chinese popular culture from the late imperial to the contemporary period, with a focus on the oral and ritual traditions of Chinese women, Chinese performance arts, traditional popular fiction, print culture in late imperial China and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Anne has made a sustained contribution to Asian Studies in Australia. She has authored or edited eight books and special journal issues and serves on the board of Asian Ethnology (Nanzan); Nan Nu: Men, Women and Gender in China (Leiden); Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, (ANU); and CHINOPERL (Chinese Oral and Performing Literature, USA). He recent monographs include: Environmental Preservation and Cultural Heritage in China (2013); Performing Grief: Bridal Laments in Rural China (2008) and a special issue of Asian Ethnology, ‘Interpreting the Sinitic Heritage: Ethnography & Identity in China & S.E.Asia’ (2017).

 The international standing of her research has been recognised through funding from the Australian Research Council (2009-2012) and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation (2012-15) and her international collaborations. She has engaged in research collaborations with scholars from East China Normal University, Shanghai, as Research Fellow in the Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage; University of Pennsylvania, Comparative Perspectives on Materiality and History of the Book in China and East Asia; University of Ohio, Chinese Theater: Texts and Performance; Academia Sinica Taiwan: Rediscovering Nüshu Women’s Script. In recognition of her contributions she was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, in 2010.   

Anne has also made valuable contributions to the Asian Studies Association of Australia. She served as secretary for the sub regional association the Chinese Studies Association of Australia, Councilor of the Association. She has also assisted the Association with monitoring language studies enrolments around the country since 2003 and regularly reporting on this issue. In 2011, for example, she produced the report ‘State of Asian Language Teaching in Australian Universities, and in 2020 contributed to our most recent reports Reviewing the state of Asian Studies in Australia, in her article Chinese Studies in Australian Universities: A Problem of Balance.

Professor Mclaren’s latest book is Slow Train to Democracy: Memoirs of Life in Shanghai, 1978 to 1979 (2020).

From Professor Anne Mclaren:

I am very surprised but of course delighted to be offered lifetime membership of ASAA.

I believe I attended the very first meeting ever of ASAA, some time in the mid 1970s at the ANU.  I can recall another ASAA conference, also held at the ANU, where Bob Hawke was an honoured guest. Over the decades I have missed very few ASAA conferences. The ASAA gave me to make many friends around the country and the ability to network on joint projects. ASAA has added a great deal to my life. I am very pleased and honoured to accept lifetime membership of the ASAA.

A few years ago I worked together with people in European languages on some joint research projects. At one point they asked me to make a presentation on the ASAA because there is no comparable body representing European languages and studies in Australia. When I told them of the biennial conferences, the newsletters, the refereed journal, the policy briefs and advocacy, and the numerous publication series, all published by well-regarded publishers, they were really impressed. This made me realize that the ASAA is a really successful example of an academic organization, although membership has always been relatively small.