Asian Studies

Understanding Asia and its growing impact on Australia and the world


The Asian Studies discipline at The University of Western Australia is a vibrant interdisciplinary research hub dedicated to rigorous academic investigation and reflection on the world’s most populous region.

United by a shared passion for producing cutting-edge research that advances the understanding of Asia’s diversity, dynamics, and decisive impacts on Australia and the world, our discipline explores an extensive range of research topics encompassing the region’s social, political, cultural, historical, and linguistic aspects. 


Whether exploring the complexities of Global China, the intricacies of Japan’s gender relations, the new horizon for Korean language education, the role of language in constructing Indonesia’s ethnic identities, or the implications of Southeast Asia’s social and political history, our researchers are committed to contributing to broader discussions on globalisation, social change, and the empowerment of marginalised communities through innovative empirical, theoretical, and methodological approaches. 

Our discipline also actively enhances the teaching-research nexus by pursuing and publishing evidence-based pedagogical innovations in and beyond the education of Asian languages and studies.

The discipline chair of Asian Studies is Dr Laura Dales.

Research strengths

Asian Languages and Literacy
We delve into the intricate tapestry of four major Asian languages: Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, and Korean. Our research examines the pedagogies and broader teaching and learning issues concerning language education. We also explore how languages shape and reflect the social, political, and cultural dynamics within Asian societies.
Asian Australians
We conduct ground-breaking research into the diverse and vibrant communities of Asian Western Australians, studying their contributions to Western Australia and beyond, their experiences of social changes, and the nuances of diaspora dynamics. Our work serves as a lens through which broader issues of multiculturalism are examined.
Australia-Asia Encounters and Engagements
We rigorously investigate the multifaceted interactions between Australia and Asia. Whether examining people flows, diplomatic relations, or cultural exchanges, our scholarship provides insightful perspectives into this dynamic and ever-evolving intercontinental relationship.
Gender and Identities in Asian Societies

We engage in a nuanced exploration of gender roles and identities in various Asian countries. Through meticulous study, we seek to unearth the complexities surrounding masculinity, femininity, gender representation, and broader gender issues, enriching the scholarship on gender and identities in Asian societies.

Social and Political Changes in Asia
Our research scrutinises the social and political metamorphoses that shape modern and contemporary Asia. From the rise of social movements to shifting cultural norms, we dissect the complex factors contributing to Asia’s rapidly evolving social and political landscapes.

Project highlights

Chinese communities in Western Australia: recording, analysing, telling community stories

Funded by the National Foundation of Australia-China Relations, this project applies cutting-edge digital humanity technologies to record, analyse, and showcase the stories of Chinese communities in Western Australia. It strives to capture these communities’ under-recognised contributions to Western Australia’s cultural and economic development.

Contact Associate Professor Yu Tao for more information.

Food and medicine culture in Asia

This project examines foods and herbs in “The Bencao Gangmu (1578)”, the most influential oriental medical compilations. It provides a multilingual glossary in Korean, Chinese and English to establish a comprehensive translation database and how ancient foods and herbs are used as medicine in Korean culinary culture.

Contact Dr Sunyoung Oh for more information.

Intimate relationships in contemporary Japan: before and beyond COVID

With marriage decline and delay, Japanese adults spend more of their lives single. This project looks at the features and functions of friendships and other intimate relationships beyond the family, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the intimate practices of singles and perceptions of being single and “doing things alone”.

Contact Dr Laura Dales for more information.


Contact the School of Social Sciences

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School Operations, ARTS:G.41

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