UniSyd an “intellectual backwater” if Ramsay civ centre established

The University of Sydney must reconsider a partnership with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, “if it is serious about remaining internationally attractive and to maintain, or indeed increase, its global ranking,” Charlotte Epstein warns in an open letter to Vice Chancellor Michael Spence.

Associate Professor Epstein works on international relations theory in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, where any Ramsay funded degrees would be based. She is one of a range of senior researchers arguing against the civ centre proposal.

According to Aspro Epstein, a “west centred” centre will make the university “an intellectual backwater” and the proposal is “puzzling” given Australia’s history, “ ‘western civilisation’ has been the driving factor in the dispossession of Aboriginal peoples and in the trampling of their rights, which is not simply a thing of the past. Australia is recognised as being the settler colonial state that has the least come to terms with this past; hence an initiative in this direction is puzzling,” she argues.

“I find myself lost for words when I am asked by my international colleagues to explain the university’s undertaking. I know that this embarrassment, dismay even, is widespread among faculty.

“Not only is it ethically deeply problematic, the initiative is un-strategic in the current international market. It will make the University of Sydney unattractive to international scholars at the cutting edge of my, and many other, fields.”

A meeting of staff opposed to a Ramsay centre is set for October 29.


to get daily updates on what's happening in the world of Australian Higher Education