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Cultivating Modernity: Culture and Internationalism in Australian Feminism's Pacific Age

From: Journal of Women's History
Volume 14, Number 3, Autumn 2002
pp. 105-132 | 10.1353/jowh.2002.0073


In 1928, the first Pan-Pacific Women's Conference was held in Honolulu and attracted women from Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, China, and elsewhere. This article considers the first three conferences of this Pan-Pacific Women's Association, focusing on Australian delegates and their claim to mediate a dialogue between women of the "East" and "West." Conferences were also to offer "Eastern" women opportunities to practice becoming modern and to "learn" from the world community of modern women. In recognition of the Orientalist politics underpinning the cultural internationalism proclaimed by these conferences as a means for world cooperation, this article situates Australian delegates' account of Pan-Pacific Women's Conferences within transnational histories of empire, nation, and "race," as well as feminism.

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