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Reflecting on racial attitudes: After 24 years revisiting student teachers' attitudes towards Aborigines

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978-1-876682-48-4
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Product Description

By Clarence Alfred Diefenbach

Published: 2003
ISBN: 978-1-876682-48-4
Pages: 80
Imprint: Post Pressed

Overview

To read this book brings back a flood of past memories with very real significance for the present and the future. Written as a PhD thesis in the late 1970s in Queensland, when Aboriginal issues were both heavily politicised and largely neglected, it evokes the struggles that have been faced, but far from resolved, in the interim. Its author, Clarrie Diefenbach, possessed at that time a remarkable insight and commitment to issues that were beyond the thinking of so many others in the community.

It is no overstatement to say that Clarrie was a trailblazer in bringing to the attention of academics and would be educators the complex problems that Aboriginal people confronted in a racist society. He did this in very tangible ways that made a difference that is still noticeable in the education sector. Indeed universities now, through social justice and equity programs, teach indigenous studies and address related issues as part of their curricula in various disciplines. Aboriginal people are now able to be involved in these academic and practical programs.
The benefit of hindsight and institutional memory shows the chasm between what is happening now in the area of higher education for Aboriginal people and the paucity of opportunity for them a few decades ago. Clarrie Diefenbach mentored Aboriginal educators and students with a foresight and passion that could see a future beyond the realms of most people’s understanding. He did this with fervour, dedication and humour. Most importantly, he was successful in what he set out to do.

That this book is being published now, and not awarded as a doctorate is a travesty of justice in itself. If the PhD is about pushing the bounds of knowledge, then Clarrie should have had that accolade. Perhaps this book will make some amends for the past in this regard too. Its message of struggle and hope is continuous. In many ways it is a timely reminder that with all the new agendas that confront us, there is much to be done in Reconciliation through the educative process.
Having known and worked with Clarrie Diefenbach, I can attest to what he achieved. A brilliant person, he devoted his intellectual energies to this cause. Congratulations Clarrie, for the difference you made and the story you have to tell in this book.

Peter Meadmore
School of Cultural and Language Studies in Education
Queensland University of Technology.  

Table of Contents

Forward

Chapter 1 - Why wait so long to publish research?

Chapter 2 - Reason for the study

Chapter 3 - How to measure racial attitudes

Chapter 4 - Constructing the scale

Chapter 5 - Comparison with other scales

Chapter 6 - General response patterns

Chapter 7 - Attempts to connect racial attitudes

Chapter 8 - After nearly a quarter of a century

Select Bibliography

Appendix Instructions for Administering the Questionnaire

Reviews

This monograph reports on research undertaken in the 1970s on the racial attitudes of student teachers to Aborigines. Rewritten in a form accessible to lay readers and academics alike, and presenting the personal experiences and observations which led to its undertaking, it is much more than an artefact of its time. It remains as a 'benchmark' against which to measure changes and progress on what continues to be one of the most enduring and intractable problems facing contemporary Australian society.

John Knight, Editor, Post Pressed

Clarrie Diefenbach in the 1980s pioneered reforms that led to major program changes at what was arguably becoming Australia's foremost Faculty of Education. He and Mike Williams worked closely to establish an indigenous program presence... I'm so glad he's back and on record about what happened, and I hope that students, teachers and community readers will become more alert to some of the issues, because they are as relevant today as they were then.

Paul Thomas, Vice-Chancellor
Sunshine Coast University

Clarrie was a trailblazer in bringing to the attention of academics and would be educators the complex problems that Aboriginal people confronted in a racist society. He did this in very tangible ways that made a difference that is still noticeable in the education sector.

Peter Meadmore, Faculty of Education
QLD University of Technology

 


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