Read ACRAWSA Blog editor, Maria Elena Indelicato’s report to the annual general meeting.
ACRAWSA has always been the study association closest to my heart. As I landed to the land of the EORA’s nations as far back as 2008 as an international student who was then the only PhD candidat e working with critical race theory at the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, ACRAWSA represented the only academic space in which I had not to fear reprisal.
Nowhere else, I could talk about the un-ceded Sovereignty of Australia’s First Nations, the iteration of white hegemony via migration policy and the constant marginalisation of non-white epistemic traditions at Australian universities.
As some of you might remember, these were all conversations which you could comfortably have at ACRAWSA’s conferences.
It is in light of this fond memory that I accepted to be the editor of the ACRWASA blog.
I took up this position with the intention of creating a public platform where scholars committed to Indigenous sovereignty and anti-racism could express their voice publicly as well as engage with each other’s positions and work.
In this regard, the ACRAWSA blog has been a success.
To date, we have published more than 40 blog posts written by 33 contributors.
Some have reported on conferences and alike events relevant to the scope of the study association. Others have endeavoured to review the work of like-minded scholars and/or artists who are at the receiving end of one form or another of racialised oppression. Some others kindly accepted to comment on issues spanning from the rejection of the Uluru statement, to the offshore detention of refugees, to the memorialisation of war in relation to the dismembering of colonial violence and the lack of decolonising practices in Australian universities.
Called symposia, contributions published on these topics have mostly involved Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars of colour, who, in generously sharing their critical reflections, enriched national debates from a variety of non-hegemonic perspectives.
Decentering what I would like here to refer as white authority has in fact been a priority of the ACRAWSA Blog.
As editor of this space, who is neither Indigenous nor of colour, I have not just prioritised the work of non-white critical race scholars but also, and more importantly, endeavoured to ‘normalise’ non-white stances on issues of national importance.
Take for instance the current debate on the Ramsay Centre.
Till today, ACRAWSA is the only online platform which has solicited the reflections of three prominent non-white scholars. By no chance, the contribution written by Warramay historian Dr Victoria Grieves ““What kind of question is that?”: The University of Sydney, the Ramsay Centre proposal and the scorched earth of Indigenous teaching and research on campus’ has received more than 1,5000 views in less than two months, becoming the most read article so far published on the blog.
Nonetheless, we have not excluded white scholars from contributing. Quite the contrary, we have published the work of those who, like me, abide by the objectives of the study association while also expressively positioning themselves as non-Indigenous and non- of colour voices.
In spite of these achievements, I am aware that there is always room for improvement.
Contrary to my best intentions, I have in fact fallen short to connect with postgraduate students and, accordingly, publish their scholarship.
In this regard, I would much appreciate any advice on how to engage more postgraduate students as well as set up an effective mentorship scheme to help them publish their work as early in their academic journey as possible.
Lastly, I would just be honoured if anybody attending today AGM can consider working with me to make of the ACRAWSA blog a well-known platform for public discussion.