Anti-racism is often dismissed as political correctness or identity politics. To speak out and act against racism is to attract accusations of ‘playing the race card’ or ‘shutting down free speech’. At a time when collective mobilization that makes demands on the state is delegitimized in favour of individualised activism that celebrates racial illiteracy, academics and activists are challenged to build new modes of participation, activism and political communities. What are the stakes, the threats, the challenges, the lessons, the hopes and goals of anti-racism work today? In this panel discussion, academics and activists reflect on their experiences of ‘speaking out’ against racism and injustice.
Chaired by Dr Alana Lentin, Associate Professor in Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University. She works on the critical theorization of race, racism and antiracism. She is co-editor of the Rowman and Littlefield International book series, Challenging Migration Studies and the President of the Australian Critical Race & Whiteness Studies Association (2017-19). In 2017, she was Hans Speier Visiting Professor of Sociology at the New school for Social Research in New York.
Amy Thunig is a proud Gamilaroi woman, raised on Darug and Awabakal lands. An associate lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies at Macquarie University, Amy holds a Masters Degree in Teaching, and is currently undertaking her PhD titled ‘sovereign women: why academia?’
Dr Waqas Tufail is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Leeds Beckett University. His research interests include policing, anti-Muslim racism and racialization and his research and advocacy concern the policing of marginalised communities and the criminalisation of Muslim minorities.Waqas is currently engaged in a number of research projects including an ongoing collaboration with Professor Scott Poynting from the University of Auckland examining the criminalisation of Muslim minorities in the UK and Australia.
Atem Atem came to Australia from Sudan in 2002 as a refugee. He completed a degree in Medical Sciences (Medical Laboratory) and worked as a Pathology laboratory technician for three years before going back to university and studying Social Policy. Atem has been working with refugee and migrant communities in various roles supporting them with settlement and adjustment to life in Australia. Currently, Atem is writing a PhD thesis on the settlement of Sudanese in the Western suburbs of Sydney.
Dr Paula Abood is a community cultural development practitioner, writer and educator. She has worked with diverse communities in capacity building projects across Western Sydney for 30 years and has written for performance, radio, publications and film. In 2007, Paula completed a doctorate on race, gender and representation of Arabs in Australia. Paula has just been awarded an Australia Council’s Fellowship for Community Arts and Cultural Development.
Dr Randa Abdel-Fattah is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University where she is researching the generational impact of the war on terror on Muslim and non-Muslim youth born into a post 9/11 world. The award-winning author of 11 novels published and translated in over 20 countries, Randa writes across a wide range of genres and actively seeks to translate her academic work into creative and public interventions which reshape dominant narratives around race, Islamophobia, social justice, Palestine/Middle East and feminism.
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