Date(s) - Thursday, Sep 10
1:30 am - 3:00 am
‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) has been at the forefront of highlighting how white supremacy and anti-Black racism are reproduced around the world in painfully similar ways. This global movement has called for society and its institutions to be significantly restructured.
While de-funding the police and reforming the criminal justice system remain at the centre of this struggle, BLM also demands that other institutions, including universities, work more actively to undo ongoing complicity in structures and practices of white supremacy and instead create spaces for Bla(c)k flourishing.
Many high-profile universities in the US and UK have moved quickly to issue statements of solidarity with BLM followed by planned structural changes, revised curricula, increased hiring targets, and enhanced support for staff and students of colour. However, universities in Australia have been significantly slower to respond.
How can those of us at the University of Melbourne take up these challenges and ensure that rethinking our history, privilege, blindness, and ongoing violence moves beyond mere tokenism? While statements of solidarity are important, they are not enough. This panel brings together sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, and artists to debate how we can best translate the demands of BLM into long-lasting meaningful change at the University of Melbourne.
Karen Farquharson is Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences and Professor of Sociology. Her research is focused on the sociology of ‘race’ and racism, ethnicity, and diversity, particularly in the contexts of media and sport. Her recent work has looked at organisational opportunities for, and barriers to, increasing diversity.
Professor Marcia Langton AO is a descendant of the Iman people and was born and raised in Queensland. Since 2000, she has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies and her work spans political and legal anthropology, Indigenous agreements and engagement with the minerals industry, and Indigenous culture and art. In addition to being a prominent public intellectual, she has great influence in government and private sector circles. In 2017 she was appointed as the first Associate Provost at the University and this year she was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to tertiary education and as an advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Nikki Moodie is a Gomeroi woman born in Gunnedah NSW. She is a Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Studies who has worked across several University of Melbourne departments as well as in Public Policy and Indigenous Studies at RMIT.
Ghassan Hage is a Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory. He has worked on racism and white nationalism from a comparative perspective for many years. His seminal work White Nation (1998) deals with white supremacist fantasies in Australia and his later book Is Racism an Environmental Threat? (2017) examines the similarities between colonial practices of racialising and exploiting people with speciesist practices of exploiting nature.
Yadira Perez Hazel is a Critical Race Scholar and Researcher from the Bronx, New York, who now calls Melbourne home. Her research explores issues of national and racial identity, migration, and belonging including contemporary articulations of Blak/Black Identity in Australia and its connection to community-building and resistance. Both her scholarly and community-focused work seeks to uncover the impacts of inequity and amplify local understandings and solutions.
Dale Wandin is a Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung artist based at Melbourne Graduate School of Education. He also sits on the Sovereign Board for Pay the Rent.