Uni-Tübingen

The book is a product of the 2020 lockdown, so it is quite short (94 pages of text) but written out of a sense of urgency about what I see as a major problem for Australian identity. The problem is partly historical: how does a nation come to terms with the shadow-side of its own history? In Australia’s case, prior to 1967 Indigenous people in Australia were treated as a hindrance to the expansion of British/European settlement, Indigenous languages were banned, and Aboriginal people excluded from the usual benefits of citizenship, and subject to neglect and violence. This in itself is bad enough, but the situation is not merely historical: Aboriginal people are still far more likely to be imprisoned than non-Aboriginal people, youth suicide in Indigenous communities is disproportionately higher than in the wider population, and the federal government has refused a request, put forward in 2017, for an Indigenous voice to parliament as a way of correcting systemic disadvantage. In the past year, a 46,000-year old site of cultural and religious significance in Western Australia was destroyed by a mining company, and a stand of trees in Victoria, some 700 years old and of similar significance, were cut down to make way for a highway. Fortunately, Indigenous voices are more numerous and articulate now than they were in the past, but are still not being heard, not being listened to by the wider community, including politicians and company directors. So this is why I felt the need to say something, and as a theologian, my response was always going to be of a theological nature.

12.01.2021

The problem is partly historical: how does a nation come to terms with the shadow-side of its own history?

In Conversation with Research Alumnus Dr. Duncan Reid, Anglican priest, head of Religious Education at Camberwell Girls Grammar School, adjunct lecturer at Trinity College Theological School, and honorary research associate of the University of Divinity in Melbourne.

Research Alumnus Dr. Duncan Reid

I’m Duncan Reid, and I studied in the Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät in Tübingen between 1983 and 1985, completing my doctorate in 1992. A shortened, English-language version of my dissertation was later published as Energies of the Spirit: Trinitarian Models in Eastern Orthodox and Western Theology (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997). I am an Anglican priest, and after returning to my home country Australia have taught theology in both Adelaide and Melbourne. In the 1990s I served on the Anglican Church of Australia’s Doctrine Commission, and from 2001 to 2016, on the International Commission for Anglican - Orthodox Theological Dialogue. Currently I work in Melbourne as head of Religious Education at a secondary school (Camberwell Girls Grammar School), as an adjunct lecturer at Trinity College Theological School and an honorary research associate of the University of Divinity in Melbourne. This includes membership of the university’s Network for Religion and Social Policy.

Within my main area of research in systematic theology I have a fairly wide range of interests. My latest publication, Time We Started Listening: Theological Questions put to us by Recent Indigenous Writing (Adelaide: ATF, 2020) was – as the subtitle suggests – written as a response to writings by Australian Aboriginal authors, especially in the past 20 years or so. I have a long-standing interest in this topic, for reasons I explain in the book, but had not previously written on it because until recently it was considered not quite ‘politically correct’ for a non-Aboriginal person like myself to offer an opinion on Aboriginal cultures.

The book is a product of the 2020 lockdown, so it is quite short (94 pages of text) but written out of a sense of urgency about what I see as a major problem for Australian identity. The problem is partly historical: how does a nation come to terms with the shadow-side of its own history? In Australia’s case, prior to 1967 Indigenous people in Australia were treated as a hindrance to the expansion of British/European settlement, Indigenous languages were banned, and Aboriginal people excluded from the usual benefits of citizenship, and subject to neglect and violence. This in itself is bad enough, but the situation is not merely historical: Aboriginal people are still far more likely to be imprisoned than non-Aboriginal people, youth suicide in Indigenous communities is disproportionately higher than in the wider population, and the federal government has refused a request, put forward in 2017, for an Indigenous voice to parliament as a way of correcting systemic disadvantage. In the past year, a 46,000-year old site of cultural and religious significance in Western Australia was destroyed by a mining company, and a stand of trees in Victoria, some 700 years old and of similar significance, were cut down to make way for a highway. Fortunately, Indigenous voices are more numerous and articulate now than they were in the past, but are still not being heard, not being listened to by the wider community, including politicians and company directors. So this is why I felt the need to say something, and as a theologian, my response was always going to be of a theological nature.

For anyone who may be interested in the book, I have two short promotional videos, what the publisher called ‘a virtual book launch’, and an order form.

My other research publications are accessible at: https://repository.divinity.edu.au and https://divinity.academia.edu/DuncanReid

There are not too many fun facts about the topic I’ve just written about, but a fun fact about myself is that I play folk violin (joyfully, but not particularly competently) in a community music group, the Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club.

Contact details
Dr. Duncan Reid
Camberwell Girls Grammar School
2 Torrington St
Canterbury, Victoria 3126
Australia
dswreidspam prevention@gmail.com

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