[csaa-forum] CSAA public stands

Barbara Baird barbara.baird at flinders.edu.au
Tue Jul 10 12:54:10 CST 2007

Dear all

I've been away from the computer over the weekend and am just catching 
up with the emails on the topic of a letter from CSAA about Howard's 
intervention into NT Aboriginal communities.
Thanks for the resources people have been posting.

I accept that a letter to Howard and others may not have much political 
use and that there are other ways that we can be politically effective, 
and no doubt many of us already are on this and related issues, 
including our teaching. I also accept the value of keeping open space 
for discussion and disagreement rather than closing down such with an 
insistence on consensus. The discussion on thsi has been good.

But would there be some issues that the CSAA would agree to take some 
sort of public stand over? (however that may be expressed) What about 
freedom of expression - one of the virtues of cultural studies according 
to Paul? I know that that's not a straightforward issue to define, but I 
reckon many if not all csaa members would suppport a CSAA public stand 
on, say, the federal Education Minister's discriminatory intervention 
into the awarding of research grants. (I don't know if the CSAA spoke on 
this at the end of 2005 - I would have supported a  public voice if it 
did).  Wouldn't there be some things of  academic self-interest that 
would motivate us? Comment on the setting up of the RQF?

This then leads me to ask that if there might be some issues we would 
support a csaa public stand on then would indigenous sovereignty be one 
of them?

Are there some issues which we will always defer to debate and 
disagreement and some that will be accepted as requiring a position here 
and now that should be spoken? How can we tell the difference?

(In some ways I accept these are issues of principle and the pragmatics 
of reaching consensus and the workload of an exec that is urged to speak 
on all manner of issues is to be considered).

And on the Peter Botsman piece: I'm happy to be confronted as part of 
some 'left' (nb a term which means nothing to many of my students) about 
my part in not shifting white privilege and indigenous disadvantage but 
to conflate 'the left' with the ALP is narrow thinking to my mind. There 
might be some successful initatives or collaborations between 'the left' 
and Aboriginal communities to celebrate, and 'the left' and Aboriginal 
people are not always distinct things either.

best wishes

Associate Professor Barbara Baird
Head, Department of Women's Studies
Flinders University
GPO Box 2100 Adelaide
South Australia 5001

Telephone (+61 8) 8201 2331
Fax (61 8) 8201 3350

barbara.baird at flinders.edu.au

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