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Resurgent racism project begins

6 August 2019
Call for International Fellows now open
The new project will adopt a transnational, interdisciplinary approach to racism, bringing together top historians, political scientists, cultural studies scholars, sociologists and psychologists. International experts are invited to apply.

The Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC) has announced its latest FutureFix research venture Resurgent Racism along with a call for five International Fellows to join the project.

Led by Professor Tim Soutphommasane (Sociology and Political Theory), Professor Dirk Moses (History), Associate Professor Catriona Elder (Sociology and Social Policy) and Dr David Smith (American Politics and Foreign Policy), the venture will address the emergence of new forms of racism, specifically those manifesting as nationalist populism and far-right extremism.

In a world with accelerating inequality, de-industrialisation, environmental degradation, and increasing migration flows, our project seeks to explain the logics of emboldened white racism in Western liberal democracies
Professor Dirk Moses

Along with exploring the drivers of antisemitism, Islamophobia and white supremacism, the project will develop new approaches to how racism is understood with an eye to informing anti-racism policy within Australia and beyond.

The current discourse on racism is limited. It’s often plagued by fixation on a particular national context and much of it treats racism as a social pathology or cultural disease with a discoverable cure.
Dr David Smith

“Rather than approaching racism with medical metaphors, like “illness”, we will develop an analytical framework for explaining racism as something intrinsic to Western democracies that radicalises in moments of globalisation crises”, says Associate Professor Elder.

The venture will draw upon a range of disciplines from within the humanities and social sciences and support a cohort of five International Fellows who will engage with the venture in workshops, talks, and master classes. The work will culminate in peer-reviewed journal articles and an edited book to be co-authored with the project’s academic leads.

Professor Soutphommasane said the venture will also draw on the expertise of members of the Race and Diversity Network, a multidisciplinary academic grouping established in the University earlier this year.

“This is an important time for scholars to shape our intellectual and policy responses to the problem of racism. We are excited about working with researchers from outside the University of Sydney, as well as within – and across disciplines.”

Resurgent Racism is the latest project within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ evolving FutureFix series – a suite of research themes that bring academics together to address complex issues affecting the everyday lives of people in Australia and across the world.

The venture marks the beginning of a new arrangement which will see FutureFix transition to the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC) custodianship, commencing in 2020.

SSSHARC: Great ideas, landmark outcomes

“With this new venture, we are continuing SSSHARC’s mission to advance landmark research in the humanities and social sciences. By incorporating FutureFix, we will provide a context for dynamic research teams to build collaborations beyond the usual confines of siloed research,” said SSSHARC Inaurgual Director, Professor Nick Enfield.

Click here and learn how international academics can apply for the fellowships. Expressions of Interest close 9 September.


The project team

Professor Tim Soutphommasane is a political theorist who has authored five books on patriotism, multiculturalism and race. He was Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2013 to 2018.

Professor Dirk Moses is a modern historian who has published extensively on mass violence, including genocide, memory and (post-) colonial history.

Associate Professor Catriona Elder has a background in history and sociology and has authored two books on race and national identity in Australia. She has substantial experience in PGR and ECR mentorship (including a Vice Chancellor’s Award for PGR Supervision).

Dr David Smith is a political scientist with expertise in American politics and history, and in the overlap between religion and race.


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