According to a proposal presented by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies will leave the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry which will soon be dissolved and move to the new School of Social and Political Sciences.
The Department of Gender and Cultural Studies has a radical and unique history. Beginning with a strike in 1974 for the first women’s studies course, “Women and Philosophy,” Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Sydney has a deeply rooted relationship with philosophical research. These courses fill a space that allows for reflection and imagined collective ideals. This plays into the unique learning experience that students acquire in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, which prioritizes care and adjustments to the needs and lived experiences of each individual.
Many staff and students fear that this experience could be lost on a move, due to what would likely involve adjusted staff report metrics and increased management involvement in subject planning. Also of concern are study units lost in the Dean’s push to remove subjects with fewer than 24 enrollments. These concerns are symptomatic of former Arts Dean Annamarie Jagose’s approach to higher education: less choice for students leads to better outcomes. This belief is diametrically opposed to what attracts students to gender and cultural studies, and what enables them to become successful thinkers through it.
In addition to all this, students wonder if the School of Social and Political Sciences is a perfect fit for gender studies. The heart of gender studies is to build a better collective reality – in search of a better understanding of the lived experience through academic research. This view is apparently incompatible with the University’s emphasis on employability statistics, and many students fear that the professionalization of the course by discouraging the more philosophical aspects will have a negative impact, not only on the experience. learning, but also on the social impact of the course.
While these changes are made on the premise of better learning outcomes and building a more competitive image for the University, it is materially true that they involve fewer HDR student admissions and a loss of choice. project for these students: it is difficult to justify less with unique research being done as something to help these goals.
Staff submissions to the proposal close on October 10. Gender and cultural studies students strike on October 13 to oppose changes and organize a day of action. You can support them by getting involved here with the Education Action Group.