Footprints, Imprints: Seeing Environmentalist and Buddhist Marie Bytes as an Eastern Australian

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Journal Article
Portal, Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 2006, 4 (1), pp. 1 - 24
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This paper is a response to a challenge posed to me: to find ways of thinking of Australia as Asian, rather than an island culture tenaciously clinging to British ancestry and identification despite indigenous and Eastern influences. What different understandings of Australian lives and subjectivities might emerge when Australian lives are seen as Asian also? It seemed appropriate to undertake this experiment in thinking within the context of the life story of a figure who challenged easy definitions, spent much of her life between Asia and Australia and belongs to the histories of many places in the region and relationships between them. This paper uses historical, cultural and textual analysis to explore the life of Marie Byles, a significant conservationist and Buddhist, as simultaneously Eastern1 and Australian through her travel writing, her interpretations of Buddhist texts for English reading audiences, and her environmentalism.
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