The Executive Council of the Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies, a geographically and disciplinary diverse network of scholars who share an interest in the world’s connectedness between 1750 and 1914, deplores the proposed staff and program cuts at the Australian Catholic University (ACU). Of the more than thirty positions to be ‘disestablished’, the vast majority are in the humanities and the largest percentage are in the discipline of history. Indeed, the university’s change management plan specifically calls for the elimination of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program, whose academic staff produce world-leading research. It also greatly diminishes the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, an intellectual powerhouse that includes some of Australia’s finest researchers on imperial and colonial histories; gender and women’s history; and refugees and migration in the modern world.
While the elimination of any position is a cause for dismay, we note that many of the individuals whose positions have been targeted for ‘disestablishment’ gave up tenure or comparable security at institutions overseas, or altered their career paths domestically, to join the ACU and contribute to its remarkable acceleration in impact and quality. If implemented, the change management plan will cause irreparable harm to the university’s reputation within and outside of the country. Indeed, it will inevitably raise serious questions in the minds of international researchers about the viability of undertaking or continuing academic careers in Australia.
The SGNCS Executive Council urges the university to reconsider this misguided decision and expresses its solidarity with the academic staff of the ACU.
Contact: The Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies
25 September 2023