This thesis seeks to inquire specifically into the cultural, ideological and literary background of and assumptions behind Australian novels which have a journalist as protagonist and are set primarily in "Asia" Emphasis will be given to representations of non-Western environments and to tropes employed in the maintenance of colonialist authority. While I draw on journalism itself when appropriate, my focus is primarily on fictional writing by journalists depicting journalists.
In the novels explored in this study, it is the profession of journalism which provides a focus for modes of seeing and responding to "Asia", thus raising questions of alienation and engagement; detached observation and active participation; representation and reality. My discussion takes place on a border terrain, in the interstices of discourse, where journalists self-consciously construct / observe fictional
journalists and call into question, however briefly, the underlying assumptions that govern their work.
The novels explored in this thesis are George Johnston's The Far Road, Ian Moffitt's The Retreat of Radiance, Christopher Koch's The Year of Living Dangerously and Highways to a War, as well as d'Alpuget's Monkeys in the Dark and Turtle Beach. The chapters are arranged according to national boundaries at specific historical moments in order to negate any holistic vision of a unified, undifferentiated "Asia" Emphasis is placed on specific countries - China, Indonesia, Vietnam - to acknowledge differences and contradictions between and within protean "Asian" cultures.
This thesis focuses on the ways in which observation and involvement are dealt with in the texts. The discussion will be
driven by Orientalist considerations and issues of journalistic genre. Though journalism may continue to operate as if it were objective and authoritative, fictions about journalists allow for productive reflection on dilemmas and contradictions inherent in colonialist relations and the nature of the craft of journalism itself.