Sharing gobbledygook around
In principle, there’s actually nothing wrong with having an Activist in Residence at a university. After all, there are often guest lecturers, adjunct professors and the like who have short-term teaching roles.
So an Activist in Residence is not too far removed from those concepts.
But it’s obvious the die is cast as to what type of activist will be set loose among the young and impressionable minds of the students at Massey University.
The first appointment is Sue Bradford. She’s the former Green MP who, before going to Parliament, seemed to be on the frontline of every antiestablishment protest there was.
I doubt her opinions have changed much since she left Parliament.
Her new role was initiated by a Professor Mohan Dutta. He’s now Massey’s Director of the Centre for Culture Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation, or CARE. What? He’s also the Dean’s Chair in Communication in the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, three disciplines where the emphasis must always be on clear, concise and easy-tounderstand language.
Intriguing, then, that his bio states “at the core of his research agenda is the activist emphasis on provincializing Eurocentric
"The number of people in extreme poverty in the world has reduced from just under 2 billion in 1990, when the world’s economies were being freed up, to 760 million today."
knowledge structures and decentering hegemonic knowledge constructions through subaltern participation”. Sheesh. I’m no specialist in gobbledygook translation, but I think that means Professor Dutta believes the European and Western way of conducting business through globalisation and free trade should be done away with because too many people suffer as a consequence.
All that rather flies in the face of facts from the World Bank. The number of people in extreme poverty in the world has reduced from just under 2 billion in 1990, when the world’s economies were being freed up, to 760 million today.
In other words, more than a billion people have been lifted from extreme poverty in less than 30 years during the time of freemarket economics.
According to Professor Dutta on radio last week, Bradford will be having “dialogic interaction” with Massey students.
That might be his best line yet. I guess he means Bradford will talk to students and then lead a question-and-answer session.
But universities are supposed to be about the sharing of ideas, about offering students — especially in the social sciences — different concepts about the way the world works.
So perhaps after Bradford finishes her residency, Massey might bring in another thought leader, someone who could offer a different kind of worldview on “Eurocentric knowledge structures” and have a different dialogic interaction on “decentering hegemonic knowledge constructions”. Like, oh, maybe Don Brash. The irony is that all this is happening at a university named after arguably the most right-wing, hardline conservative Prime Minister this country has ever had.
Bill Massey once sent 10 per cent of the country’s police force to Waihi to quell a gold miners’ strike. He hated unions with a passion and couldn’t abide the Bolshevik and Soviet movements of the post World War I era.
So maybe sometime soon, to ensure such an unsuitable man is not commemorated daily by having his name on the establishment, perhaps the Activist in Residence could start action to change that.
After all, the name of a revered and long-serving monarch can be taken from a university in the capital city.
Surely then, that of an old redneck farmer can be removed from an institution headquartered in a bland provincial city, which is seemingly dedicated to inculcating its students with hard-left political theory.
Former MP Sue Bradford will be having “dialogic interaction” with Massey students.