Freilich Project 2020 Overview

Ducklings on ANU campus
Tuesday 8 December 2020

From the Convenor

The Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry enters its third decade this year. Its staff and supporters remain dedicated to supporting research into the causes, histories and the effects of ethnic, cultural, religious or sexual bigotry and animosity; engaging in all forms of education of the public into such history, causes and effects of bigotry and intolerance; and advancing all forms of mutual tolerance and respect between peoples of differing ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds and of differing gender and sexual orientation. 

Having returned to work in August, I would like to extend my thanks to Dr Ibrahim Abraham (Hans Mol Fellow in Religion and Social Sciences), who capably and energetically fulfilled the role of Convenor while I was on maternity leave. I would also like to acknowledge the professional and timely administrative support of Ms Eleanor Foster (Freilich Project Administrative Officer), and Ms Clare Campbell and other administrative staff of the Research School of Humanities. 

This year we have been delighted to welcome Mr Alpha Cheng to the Freilich Project’s Board. We have also continued to benefit from the wisdom and dedication of our other board members: Professor Will Christie of the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University (Chair); Mrs Valmae Freilich, who in addition to her service to the board is a valuable financial sponsor of the Project; Professor Rae Frances, of the Australian National University; Dr Renata Grossi of the University of Technology, Sydney; Em. Professor Suzanne D. Rutland, also of the University of Sydney; and Professor James Arvanitakis of Western Sydney University. 

The Freilich Project has been noticeably quieter this year due to the restrictions presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian National University, like many other institutions across Australia and around the world, was unable to host in-person events and meetings for the majority of the year. The Freilich Project has nonetheless been able to hold a small number of events, including the annual Alice Tay Lecture, by shifting to an online format. The details of these events are summarised below. Unfortunately, the Freilich Lecture in Bigotry and Tolerance with Professor Sharon Erickson Nepstad (University of New Mexico) has been postponed to next year, as well as the planned conference on Religion and Migration: Culture and Policy.

The Herbert and Valmae Freilich Annual Early Career Research Small Grant Scheme continues to support the research of emerging scholars working on the topics of bigotry, discrimination and prejudice. Recipients of the 2021 round were announced this week.

I wish all of you a happy and relaxing holiday season, however you choose to celebrate.

Dr. Melissa Lovell
Convenor and Research Fellow

2020 Events

Black Lives Matter: What That Means Here
24th June, 31st July, 26th August 2020
Co-organised with Ms. Mary Spiers-Williams, Sub-Dean Indigenous Studies Major, this series of webinars (and one face-to-face seminar) was aimed at students enrolled in the ANU Indigenous Studies Major. It looked at the possible relevance and continuities between the #BlackLivesMatter social movement in the United States of America and Australia’s own history of black deaths in custody and contemporary activism to improve criminal justice outcomes for Indigenous people. A number of expert guests were invited to speak to the students as part of this series including former magistrate David Heilpern, lawyer George Newhouse, and artist Julie Gough.

The Far Right Online (Freilich Research Network Event) - Video
Thursday 1st October 2020
Recent years have seen a significant increase in the presence of far-right politics online, in Australia and overseas, with misogynistic, racist and antisemitic content in open circulation, and far-right conspiracy theories gaining traction. Twenty years after hosting the conference Cyberhate: Prejudice and Bigotry on the Internet, the Freilich Project was pleased to bring together three experts on the far right online to discuss this pressing issue.

Decolonization and the University
Friday 9th October 2020
Hosted in collaboration with the HRC as part of the Conversations Across the Creek Seminar Series. 
Human Rights and COVID-19 (The Alice Tay Lecture on Law & Human Rights 2020) - Video
Wednesday 28th October 2020
COVID-19 is causing a health emergency but also a human rights emergency. All governments have human rights obligations (regarding rights to life and health) to take measures to combat COVID-19. However, those same measures often interfere with other human rights, such as rights to livelihood, education, association, family rights, and standards of mental health. This lecture asked the question: How is it possible to work out the appropriate balance in this extraordinary time of COVID?
Speaker: Sarah Joseph, Professor of Human Rights Law at Griffith University, Brisbane. 

Updated:  8 December 2020/Responsible Officer:  Freilich Project/Page Contact:  Herbert & Valmae Freilich Project