Making Friends of the Nations

Australian Interwar Magazines and Middlebrow Orientalism in the Pacific

in Journeys
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As travel began to massify in the aftermath of the Great War when passenger ships still regularly stopped at ports of call, and as Australia developed a sub-imperial relationship to its near Melanesian neighbors in Papua and New Guinea, the Pacific and its islands loomed large in Australians’ consciousness and print culture. This article employs Christina Klein’s concept of “middlebrow orientalism” to examine how Australia’s quality magazines, MAN and The BP Magazine, reflected an “expansive material and symbolic investment in Asia and the Pacific” (2003: 11) between the two world wars. While development of a consumerist, leisure relationship with the region is in evidence in these magazines that undoubtedly assume the superiority of White Australia, we argue they also promote diversity, inclusiveness, and an emerging maturity in outlook that conveyed the way in which Australians began to understand themselves as Pacific citizens wishing to “make friends of the nations.”

Journeys

The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing