Dan Woodman, University of Melbourne:
Toronto, Canada is a long way from Australia. Go much further and you’re technically on your way back. Despite the distance and the costs involved, TASA had a large and vibrant presence at the International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology in Toronto last month, contributing papers to the theme of Power, Violence and Justice selected by the outgoing ISA President, Margaret Abraham. The theme felt (depressingly) perfect for our current moment, when even researching violence and social inequalities is becoming increasingly difficult, if not outright dangerous, in more and more places. For example, Hungary has recently defunded and effectively banned the teaching of gender studies. I spent a large proportion of my time taking meetings in preparation for the 2022 World Congress in Melbourne, which will be a much shorter trip for most TASA delegates, but when I could sneak into a session the papers were sociologically rigorous and emotionally powerful.
It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and to see so many of our members wearing the badges the TASA Executive had made to promote the Melbourne 2022 ISA World Congress. On behalf of the Executive, I want to give a thank special thank you to Sally Daly, our Executive Officer extraordinaire, for her work setting up and staffing our exhibitor’s booth. Sally and Past President Katie Hughes were TASA’s main presence throughout the week at our desk in the exhibition hall. We gave out thousands of lollies (Fantales) and bookmarks, and a majority of the 150 badges we had printed up for our members to publicise Melbourne 2022.
A quick shout out, also, to the other Executive members who made it to Toronto – Luke Gahan, Brady Robards and Alphia Possamai-Inesedy, and former TASA President Jo Lindsay, who all supported Sally and the TASA cause in various ways. The team effort by the TASA collective in Toronto left me looking forward to (or at least slightly less terrified about) welcoming the world’s sociological community to Australia in four years’ time. Between then and now, we’ll have another opportunity to wear our badges at the ISA World Forum of Sociology in Porto Alegre Brazil, 2020. It is great that the next two major ISA events are coming to the Southern hemisphere!
One of the tasks of Association Presidents and ISA Research Committee Presidents at the World Congress in Toronto was to vote in a new ISA Executive Committee for the coming four-year term. The new ISA Executive is comprised of an impressive group of sociologists and the new President, Sari Hanafi from American University of Beirut, has strong links to Australia. We’re excited to be working with him on the 2022 World Congress (it is the prerogative of the President to set the theme for the World Congress). The new Vice Presidents of the ISA serving with Professor Hanafi are Geoffrey Pleyers (Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium), Filomin Gutierrez (University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines), Eloísa Martin (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Sawako Shirahase (University of Tokyo, Japan). Congratulations on behalf of TASA to Professor Hanafi and his new senior Executive team. It is great to see the representation from our region in the senior executive. Together with the sites of the upcoming Congress and Forum, the makeup of the new Executive suggests the centre of influence within the ISA appears to be shifting.
As a reminder to those who might be interested, we have our own TASA Executive elections coming up and nominations are now open. Our next Executive will include a new portfolio position for Equity and Inclusion. Please encourage colleagues who are TASA members to consider nominating, if you think they would do a good job. I think it is a healthy sign for an association if there is strong competition for positions on the executive. The incoming Executive will have the important job of continuing to guide our association’s progress towards the 2020 World Congress.
The 2020 Congress is still some time away, even if it will be here before we know it. There is plenty going on in the meantime, including preparations for our 2018 TASA Conference at Deakin, with the similarly timely theme of Precarity, Rights, and Resistance. Don’t forget to get in early for the early-bird member registration prices (closing 1st October) and you might just have time to apply for one of our scholarships (closing August 24th), including our new scholarship for those in precarious employment. The inaugural Social Sciences Week, Australia, is now less than a month away (10-16 September). Social Sciences Week is a joint initiative emerging from TASA that now includes ANZSOC, AAS, APSA, CHASS, ASSA and DASSH as the major partners. It looks like we will have approximately 40 events across the country. The SSW program is here. I hope to see many of you at either the TASA conference or an event during Social Sciences Week (or, if I’m lucky, at both!)
President – TASA