Connecting, collaborating and surviving: the story of a women's studies centre in the Australian tropics

Harris, Nonie, and Baker, Joanne (2008) Connecting, collaborating and surviving: the story of a women's studies centre in the Australian tropics. Outskirts: Feminisms Along the Edge, 19. pp. 1-29.

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Neo-liberal conservatism dominates the contemporary Australian political landscape. Many Women’s Studies programs across the country have either been closed down or been renamed as gender or sexuality studies, potentially decentring a focus on women. In Australia, Women’s Studies programs were initially established with an agenda that embraced activism and social change both within the academy (as a key site for knowledge generation) and in the larger society (Ryan 1991). The goals of academic feminism reflected the goals of the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s and 1970s (Dickinson 2005; Mulvey 1992). For example, early Second Wave activists such as Marilyn Salzman-Webb (1972) identified that feminist learning is for ‘acting on the world’. In 1979 Adrienne Rich commended “the emerging field of Women’s Studies for offering a ‘women-directed education’ that transforms curricula and develops critical thinking about androcentric scholarship and society” (Rich cited in Sahlin 2005:164). Rich’s comment implies that the role of Women’s Studies is to journey beyond the academy with a mission to transform. Whilst Rich’s vision has continuing relevance, the contemporary challenges to such liberationary ideals are profound.

Item ID: 6998
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1445-0445
Keywords: women's studies; Australia; university
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2010 02:55
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169901 Gender Specific Studies @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940113 Gender and Sexualities @ 100%
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