Dear KSAA members,
The executive committee members of the Korean Studies Association of Australasia (KSAA) express their solidarity with and support for the Sydney University academics recently singled out in the Daily Telegraph article ‘Degrees of Hilarity’, which seeks to undermine the value of teaching diversity as part of University curriculum.
We stand in solidarity in particular with our colleague and Executive Committee Member Dr Jane Chi Hyun Park, whose internationally recognised work on critical race studies both in the US and Australian media and popular culture has illustrated not only the invisibility of Asian Australians and Asian Americans in the media, but also the power of media to render people voiceless and misrepresented.
As scholars and educators who research and teach in area studies, we strive to create a classroom environment that is free from harassment and open for constructive intellectual debate about cultural, linguistic, sexual or racial difference. As questions of identity and diversity have increasingly been drawn into polarising political discourses that seek to undermine principles of equal opportunity and respect for diversity, the importance of challenging students to think about why diversity and understanding other cultures matter as an issue of real consequence to Australian society has become an all the more pressing one for us all to address. This includes the right for academics to express views which promote diversity without the fear of being misrepresented, named and singled out in national media as sole representatives of such views.
We come together to express our support for our colleague Dr Park’s important work to educate future generations that understanding and promoting diversity is a task of urgent importance to Australian society. The cowardly attacks on our highly respected and valued colleague show that this is a task that affords us all no complacency, and that we all have the responsibility to listen, and to act on harassment and efforts to silence voices that highlight the very real consequences of racism and discrimination in Australia.
Prepared by Jo Elfving-Hwang on behalf of KSAA, in consultation with the Executive Committee of KSAA.
Dr Joanna Elfving-Hwang
Deputy Head of School (Teaching & Learning)
School of Social Sciences, Discipline of Asian Studies (Korean Studies)
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education
The University of Western Australia
M257, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009 Australia
Tel. +61 8 6488 3522, Fax +61 8 6364 1762
President of Korean Studies Association of Australasia:https://koreanstudiesaa.wordpress.com/