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A love of Mumbai and the way it was represented in English non-fiction literature led English teacher Greg Piggot to the Master of Asia Pacific Studies.
What have you studied in your Master of Asia Pacific Studies?
My Master of Asia Pacific Studies (MAPS) is focussed on representations of South Asia in English language literature. I have shaped my courses to reflect that as well as doing the core units which gave me a good overview of the key ideas in the disciplines. I have looked at Anthropology, Ethnography, and story-telling in South Asian traditions and that led to a sub-thesis about contemporary narrative non-fiction writing about Mumbai and its empathetic potential for Anglophone audiences.
What led you to the MAPS?
I am a school teacher of English, so I have always been interested in literature and representations of people, particularly of people in different parts of the world. That, combined with living and working in India for a couple of years and developing a love of the place, culture and people. I wanted to formalise that, deepen my knowledge and look at the possibility of learning and writing more about Indian culture and how it fits within a global context.
What has been the most surprising thing about your studies?
I think before you go into something like this you have an idea of what you want to do but you never realise how many people have thought about these thing before, how many different strands of thought exist about your areas of interest and how many opportunities there are to deepen in very specialised way. That has happened for me through the courses I have taken; in the content of those courses, the lecturers and the readings they provided, and also through the other students I’ve encountered.
How has the MAPS impacted your own teaching?
I was always interested in the way we could take English teaching at a secondary school level beyond traditional Anglo-American and Australian texts to recognise English as global language, and a global literature. These courses provided me with the understanding, knowledge and tools to do that, and I’ve done that subsequently both in my own classroom and also by contributing to broader debates about education and presenting to other schoolteachers in various forums around Australia.
My study has come at an opportune time: five years ago when the Australian English curriculum was instituted one of the cross-curriculum priorities was an understanding of Asia, and Australia’s place in Asia. That has provided opportunities to connect with other like-minded teachers. MAPS has allowed me to deepen my knowledge and explore my subject in new ways which are highly relevant to education in the twenty-first century.
Master of Asia Pacific Studies on ANU Programs and Courses