This article adopts critical auto-ethnography to examine how Australian university unions and unionists have developed strategies for campus activism. The enablers and restraints on union activism in Australian higher education are discussed using the device of vignettes of a unionist active in the sector from the 1980’s onwards, and an agenda for the future raised.
Several years ago, during a tenure-track search, I asked two questions – two questions which I ask of every scholar applying for a position with our institution. The first is innocent enough: “How important is racial/ethnic diversity in your scholarship and teaching?” Not surprisingly, all enthusiastically answer in the affirmative. Then I ask my second question: “Which scholars and/or books from racial and ethnic minorities do you include on your syllabus and why?” Here is when the squirming begins, revealing the candidate’s lack of academic rigor.
The university stands at a crossroad, and a decision is needed as to which direction it will go, whether it will cast off its foolish consistency in preserving the hegemonic forces that have arrested the development of the mind or renew itself as the last place to question and possibly upset the status quo.