Professor Gay Hawkins, from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has been given a prestigious visiting appointment at the University of Tokyo.

A cultural studies expert in the School of English, Media and Performing Arts, Dr Hawkins will take up the one-year Visiting Professorship in Australian Studies at the Centre for Pacific and American Studies in September.

She is the first academic outside the areas of history and literary theory to be appointed to the position.

"Japanese people are fascinated by Australia because we are so multicultural and in contrast, Japan is relatively monocultural," says Professor Hawkins.

Her most recent books are The Ethics of Waste: how we relate to rubbish and The SBS Story: the challenge of cultural diversity, co-authored with Ien Ang and Lamia Dabboussy.

In addition to teaching responsibilities, Professor Hawkins plans to expand her research into bottled water, media and cultural diversity, and the relationship between environment and everyday life.

"Japan is amazing when it comes to recycling and waste," she says. "There are nine different ways you can classify materials you're throwing out. So it will be an interesting dimension to my work."

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