Multicultural Australia

Seminar Quick Facts

Location: Sydney, Australia

Faculty Leaders
Grant Parker, Classics and Center for African Studies
Marie-Louise Catsalis, Music

BOSP Special Programs Coordinator: Morgan Kapinos

Arrival date in Sydney, AustraliaJune 23, 2019

Departure date from Sydney, Australia: July 13, 2019

Information Session: Watch Information Session

Ways Certification: This seminar course is certified for Creative Expression (CE).

Academic Prerequisites
All prospective students are required to take the prerequisite course, CSRE 16A: Dynamic Australia: immigrant and indigenous experiences in Spring Quarter 2019. Students that will be off-campus in Spring Quarter may still enroll in the prerequisite course and should make arrangements with the faculty to complete the course remotely.

Additional Program Requirements
Ground Rules - In order to optimize safety during the program, students will be required to agree to and sign Ground Rules that may restrict behavior throughout the program. These Ground Rules are in addition to the BOSP Participation and Assumption of Risk, Release of Claims, Indemnification and Hold Harmless Agreement that all students sign and agree to at the time of program application. Students’ parents/families will also need to sign these Ground Rules to confirm that they acknowledge the specific dangers of travel to the program location.

Activity Level
Light: Activities may include city walking tours, easy/short hikes, museum and other site visits. For a full list of program activity levels refer to the Overview page.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Health Information for Travelers to Australia

US State Department Country Information

Visa Information
Consulate General of Australia

General Information: Visit the Overseas Seminars/Faculty-Initiated Programs Overview page.

Application Deadline: October 28, 2018

General Description

Australia’s anomalous status -- as the world’s only island continent that is also a nation-state -- gives much opportunity for cross-cultural and historical exploration. The traditions of Indigenous Australians, i.e. Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, go back tens of thousands of years before the first European settlement. In this course we shall examine the creative expressions of Australia’s many traditions, with an emphasis on the ways in which those very arts have been part of ethnic and racial formations over time. We will begin by considering indigenous traditions; subsequent modules will encompass the colonial engagements that started with the voyage of Captain James Cook (1770) and the penal colony led by Captain Arthur Phillip (1788); the sometimes competing pull of Asia and the west; and ending with an assessment of Australia’s place amid the global flows of the early 21st century. Throughout these histories the role of migrants and refugees, of welcoming and hostile hosts, will be considered in relation to the creative arts. Assessment is based on a reflective journal as well as ongoing participation. Students will take part in varied creative assignments throughout the course.

Topics and activities will include:

  • Sampling Australia’s creative arts -- literary, visual, and performance
  • Discussing of indigeneity, multiculturalism and heritage as political concepts with artistic implications
  • Comparatively studying indigeneity and migration
  • Surveying Australian pasts, esp. changing demography


The seminar will take place in Sydney: by the time the first convicts arrived at Botany Bay in 1788, the area had already been inhabited for tens of thousands of years. Here we will seek the evidence, tangible and otherwise, of indigenous and immigrant histories and memories. Today a sprawling metropolis of some five million people, Sydney is home to many ethnic groups, some more and some less integrated into the social fabric, some more and some less distinct. A three-day field trip will take us into the Blue Mountains to see Aboriginal rock art and undertake a bush walk.

Living and Travel Conditions

Students will stay in a university residence, and can expect to share bathrooms. The winter weather in New South Wales is mild, with average temperatures ranging from the upper 40s to the lower 60s Fahrenheit. Light bush walks are planned, and travel within the inner city (the location of most museums) will involve a combination of public transport and walking.

If such conditions are likely to present a challenge, you are encouraged to contact BOSP well in advance: accommodations will be made to the extent possible.


Marie-Louise Catsalis is a lecturer in the Department of Music, where she has produced and directed opera and musical theatre since 2010. Having grown up in Sydney, the child of immigrant parents, she did not consider herself an Australian until studying in Canada in her twenties. She studied at Sydney University, the University of New England at Armidale and the University of Newcastle. As a professional performer she has worked closely with several artist-activists in Australia and beyond. At Stanford she has been a Resident Fellow at Toyon Hall and most recently faculty-in-residence for BOSP Cape Town. Her forthcoming Stanford production (as musical director) is Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.

Grant Parker is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics. He is also a faculty affiliate in the Centre for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, Resident Fellow at Toyon Hall, and was recently co-director of the Center for African Studies. All these interests he combines under the rubric of comparative global humanities. Topics of memory and commemoration; of space and place; and of cross-cultural exchange recur in his teaching and research. At present he is writing a book about Egyptian obelisks in ancient and modern times. He has previously been faculty-in-residence for BOSP Cape Town, and has visited Sydney annually since 2002. This will be his second time teaching Multicultural Australia.

Prerequisites and Expectations

All prospective students are required to take the prerequisite course, Dynamic Australia: Word, Sound and Imagein Spring Quarter 2019. Students that will be off-campus in Spring Quarter may still enroll in the prerequisite course and should make arrangements with the faculty to complete the course remotely.

Application Process

Decisions will be based on application materials. There are no interviews. The seminar capacity is 15 students.

Grading Basis

Letter grade

Passport and Visa

Students are solely responsible for obtaining their passport and visa (if applicable). Every BOSP participant MUST have a signed passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the scheduled RETURN date from the overseas program. Students who do not have a valid passport must apply for a new or renewed passport immediately. For information on obtaining or renewing a U.S. passport please visit the State Department website.

To determine whether a visa is necessary for your program, visit the Consulate General of Australia website. You may also consult with the recommended visa service providers listed below.

VisaCentral by CIBT
VisaCentral by CIBT offers online Stanford rates, or contact the local office:

In person: 555 Montgomery St. Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94111
Walk-in hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
By phone: (877) 535-0688

VisaBy Casto for Stanford Travel Program
VisaBy Casto offers special rates for Stanford online, or through the local office:

Address: 2560 North First Street, Suite 150, San Jose, CA 95131
By phone: (408) 553-4735
By email:

Health and Safety

Students on international programs should be aware that attitudes toward medical conditions, disabilities, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and psychological conditions vary by culture and under the laws of the host countries. These differences impact the level of treatment and accommodation available abroad. Students should give serious consideration to their health and personal circumstances when accepting a place in a program and should consult with their clinician.

While the benefits of international travel can be enormous, it is often associated with certain health and safety risks. Thankfully, a number of interventions exist to mitigate these risks including vaccines, use of certain medications, and specific behavior changes. Health concerns vary by the particular destination, time of year, the health of the individual, type of accommodations, length of stay and specific activities. Participants should be up to date on all their regular immunizations, check the CDC website for vaccinations and immunizations. In addition, specific travel vaccines such as typhoid, yellow fever, or rabies vaccines may be indicated. Various types of medication may also be needed to prevent life-threatening malaria or altitude illness; or to treat traveler’s diarrhea. Finally, students should learn and utilize insect precautions, food and water precautions, and general safety precautions. These can prevent illnesses such as dengue fever, schistosomiasis, HIV; or accidents such as those involving motor vehicles. In spite of all the precautions, occasionally students do become ill or sustain an injury while traveling. Thankfully, most of these are minor. However, it is critical that students have a clear plan of care in case of an emergency on their trip. The travel clinic at the Vaden Health Center has produced an online travel health module that provides comprehensive strategies to help you stay safe and healthy while traveling.

Students must review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for complete information regarding the health concerns and vaccine recommendations specific to Australia. Students must also discuss with the on-campus Vaden Health Center Travel Clinic or a travel health specialist about the best ways to protect their health.

Students must review the U. S. State Department’s Country Information for complete information on safety and security in Australia.

As with any foreign travel, students are advised to be alert to their surroundings, and be particularly aware of any health and safety advisories for the area in which they will be visiting. Students should consult with their health care provider(s) to be prepared for potential illness. Additional issues of personal health and safety and precautions will be discussed in detail during the mandatory pre-seminar preparation and upon arriving in the country.

If you are uncomfortable traveling under such conditions, you should not apply to this seminar.

Program Modification and Cancelation

Stanford reserves the right to cancel or modify the Program before or during its operation for any reason, including natural disasters, emergencies, low enrollment, unavailability of facilities or personnel, or compliance with the University travel policy at