Baden Offord is Professor of Cultural Studies and Human Rights. Between January 2015 to December 2020 he held the Dr Haruhisa Handa Chair in Human Rights and was Director of Curtin University's Centre for Human Rights Education. In December 2020 he was made Emeritus Professor.
Baden was born in Aotearoa/New Zealand of Māori and Pākehā heritage, and has lived most of his life in Australia, as well as several years in Spain, South India and Japan.
He was educated at The University of Sydney, Australian National University and Southern Cross University. A recipient of several national teaching awards including an ALTC and Carrick, he has an abiding passion for the purpose of higher education and its tranformative potential.
An internationally recognized specialist in human rights, sexuality, culture, critical suicide studies and education, he is also part of a scholarly and activist community that works collectively to decolonize and destabilize the study of sexuality in Southeast Asia.
Prior to Curtin University, he held positions at Southern Cross University (1999-2014); in the Centre for Pacific and American Studies, The University of Tokyo (2010-2011) and in the Facultad de Filología at The University of Barcelona.
In the field of human rights he is known for initiating a series of landmark Activating Human Rights conferences and books that were inspired by a morning he spent with Desmond Tutu.
The deep story beyond the shallows is the wonder of each other, and how life is created and expressed through the lens of billions and billions of unique lives. The work of becoming human is to understand the complexities of being human, at the heart of which is the intense sunshine of radical, undeniable, diversity. We know that looking into the sun for more than a moment makes our eyes hurt. That is our challenge.
From his 2019 article: "Becoming human: lived experience, suicide and the complexities of being,"
In 2021 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) on the Queen's Birthday Honours List. The citation: "For distinguished service to tertiary education in the field of human rights, social justice, and cultural diversity."
Baden is an internationally recognized scholar in human rights, sexuality, culture, critical sucide studies and education. His work on LGBTQ human rights in Southeast Asia and Australia is widely cited. Highlights of his work include being a sponsored speaker in 2012 to the 14th EU-NGO Human Rights Forum in Brussels where he spoke on ASEAN and sexual justice issues. In the same year he conducted a three-week lecture tour of Japan (speaking on gender, sexuality and culture in Australia) sponsored by the Australian Prime Minister’s Educational Assistance Fund post the Great Eastern Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. In 2015 he was an invited plenary speaker at the Suicide Prevention Australia National Conference, where he spoke on the meaningful inclusion of lived experience, intersectionality, human rights and principled exposure as a means of preventing suicide.
He has produced over 160 publications, conference papers and presentations, including six authored and edited books and numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters. He is a Contributing Editor to the journal The Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies (Taylor and Francis), on the Editorial Board of Cultural Studies Review as well as on the Advisory Boards of Social Alternatives and Writing from Below - (peer reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary gender, sexuality and diversity studies journal). He was Vice-President (International) of the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia (2010-2015). He was an elected member to the ARC funded Cultural Research Network (2007-2010).
He has received several national teaching awards and had many Honours students as well as 17 PhD student completions with projects on gender and LGBTQ identity, cultural citizenship, surfing culture, refugees, Indigenous and critical pedagogy, journalism ethics, decolonisation, creative writing, ecocultural studies, activism, belonging, Buddhism and Foucault, critical race studies, disability, queer ethnography, and human rights. He welcomes new PhD students.
He has held previous appointments as Chair (Visiting Professor) in Australian Studies, Centre for Pacific and American Studies, The University of Tokyo (2010-2011); and as Professor of Cultural Studies and Human Rights, Southern Cross University where he was on faculty from 1999-2014. He has lectured at Chuo University, Otemon Gakuin University, Tohoku University, Keio University, Murdoch University, University of Sydney, University of Madras (Chennai) and McGill University.
Since 1997, Baden has provided extensive expert testimony for Indonesian, Singaporean and Malaysian gay, lesbian and transgender asylum seekers pro bono through the New York Immigration Task Force for Gays and Lesbians as well as for numerous US law firms, the Canadian Government and he has been a consultant for CNN.
RECENT OPINION PIECE: Towards Inanition: Diminishing the Humanities at Our Peril
REFLECTION on time in Japan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_4IhbxvVCQ
UPCOMING EVENT: IAFOR Asian Cultural Studies Conference 2022
2015 (Jan) - 2020 (Dec): Dr Haruhisa Handa Chair of Human Rights, Research Professor of Cultural Studies and Human Rights, Director, Centre for Human Rights Education, Senior Researcher, Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute (2015-2018), Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University
2018 (April-Dec): Director, Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute Concurrent appointment
2012-2014: Professor of Cultural Studies and Human Rights (Tenured) Director of Community Engagement, Co-Director, Centre for Peace and Social Justice, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Southern Cross University
2011 (April-July): Lecturer, Keio University (part-time)
2010-2011: Chair (Visiting Professor) in Australian Studies, Centre for Pacific and American Studies, Institute for Advanced Global Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo
2006-2011: Associate Professor in Cultural Studies (Tenured) Co-Director, Centre for Peace and Social Justice, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Southern Cross University, Chair, Human Research Ethics Committee (2004-2008)
2002-2005: Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies and History (Tenured), School of Arts, Southern Cross University, Director, Centre for Cultural Diversity and Social Justice
1999-2001: Lecturer in Cultural Studies and History (Tenured), School of Humanities and Cultural Studies, Southern Cross University.
Baden's research cuts across the fields of Cultural Studies, Asian Studies and Australian Studies. He sees culture as the crucial fabric of political and social life. He is most concerned with the critical relationship between lived experience, intersectionality and the everyday encounter and negotiation of structrual and epistemic violence faced by many on account of their markers of difference.
Human Rights and Sexuality
Baden is considered a pioneer in the field of human rights and sexuality. He is part of a scholarly and activist community that works collectively to decolonize and destabilize the study of sexuality in Southeast Asia. His key works include the landmark book Homosexual Rights as Human Rights: Activism in Indonesia, Singapore and Australia (2003), with a Foreword by Michael Kirby, which won The George Duncan Memorial Award 2005. He also has numerous chapters and articles on Southeast Asia, human rights and LBGTQ activism that have appeared in the Asian Studies Review, Journal of Homosexuality, The International Journal of Sexuality and Gender Studies, Social Semiotics, Cultural Studies Review and Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review. Baden is a member of the international advisory board for the Palgrave Macmillan research book series, ‘Gender, Sexualities and Culture in Asia’. In 2016 he established the LGBTIQ Research Network at Curtin University.
Activating Human Rights
Baden’s signature approach to research is through self-reflexive, interdisciplinary, intersectional and empirical research into cultural, social and activist aspects of human rights. Under the rubric he conceived of ‘activating human rights’ he convened landmark international conferences in 2003 and 2008, endorsed by Desmond Tutu. His publications include the co-edited books Activating Human Rights (with Elizabeth Porter 2006), Activating Human Rights Education: Innovation, Exploration, Transformation (with Christopher Newell, 2008), and Activating Human Rights and Peace: Theories, Practices, Contexts (with Bee Chen Goh and Rob Garbutt 2012). Presently he is collaborating with colleagues Associate Professor Caroline Fleay and Dr Lisa Hartley in the Centre for Human Rights Education on a project around enabling asylum seeker scholarship. His forthcoming book, (co-edited with Caroline Fleay, Lisa Hartley, Yirga Woldeyes and Dean Chan),: Activating Cultural and Social Change: The Pedagogies of Human Rights, will be published by Routledge in 2021.
Cultural Struggle and Social Praxis in Australia
In the field of Australian Studies, Baden’s research focuses on critical notions of belonging, identity and the effects of colonialism and has contributed to new understandings of dissenting knowledge. His publications in the field of Australian Cultural Studies include Landscapes of Exile: Once Perilous, Now Safe (with Anna Haebich, 2008) and the co-authored book from a research collaboration with Professor Vin D’Cruz and eminent Indian sociologist and political analyst Ashis Nandy, Inside Australian Culture: Legacies of Enlightenment Values (Anthem, London: 2014), with a foreword by Ashis Nandy and Afterword by Vinay Lal. Raewyn Connell has remarked this is a ‘disturbing book, most relevant to our disturbing times.’ Baden is on the editorial board of Coolabah, on the Executive of the International Association of Australian Studies and on the Board of the Centre for Australian Studies at The University of Barcelona. In December 2016, with Curtin colleagues Professor Suvendrini Perera, Curtin Distinguished Professor Anna Haebich, Dr Thor Kerr and Dr Dean Chan, he convened the International Association of Australian Studies Biennial conference, ‘Re-Imagining Australia: Encounter, Recognition, Responsibility.’
Cultural Studies, Human Rights and Social Justice
Baden is a contributing editor for The Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies (Taylor and Francis), and on the editorial board of Cultural Studies Review. His research in cultural studies has contributed to innovations in understanding human rights, cultural citizenship, critical pedagogy, and issues of social justice, power and agency. He was a member of the prestigious ARC Cultural Research Network. Key research collaborations with Dr Rob Garbutt and Soenke Biermann have produced numerous articles and chapters on aspects of cultural studies and social justice, including in Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies; Critical Arts: A journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies and The Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies. In 2016, Baden collaborated with Curtin researchers Professor Katie Ellis and Mike Kent and Dr Rachel Robertson in the development of the Curtin Critical Disability Studies Network. With cultural studies colleagues, including Professor Andrew Hickey (USQ), Associate Professor Rob Garbutt (SCU) and Dr Rebecca Olive (UQ) and others he is part of a long term project examining pedagogy and cultural studies. A recent critical review by Baden of such research into cultural studies pedagogy, ‘Ramping Up Cultural Studies: Pedagogy and the Activation of Knowledge’ appears in The Pedagogies of Cultural Studies, Andrew Hickey (ed.), (London, Routledge, 2016.)
Human Rights, Social Justice and Suicide
Baden has made significant contributions to critical and creative approaches to understanding and preventing suicide. Drawing on his extensive lived experience of suicide, he integrates a personal, intersectional and creative approach informed by social justice, cultural studies and human rights scholarship. He sees the importance of story telling, lived experience, principled exposure and critquing power relations as critical elements in the prevention and understanding of suicide. Between 2009-2012, Baden was a research participant in Dr Mic Eales doctoral research project "Different Voice, Different Perspective: An arts-based and evocative research response to original voice narratives of suicide." As part of this project, he was a research collaborator with Dr Eales on the very first exhibition on suicide held by the Dax Gallery, University of Melbourne, in 2012. In 2015, Baden was a sponsored plenary speaker at the Suicide Prevention Australia's National Conference, where he spoke on the "Meaningful Inclusion of Lived Experience: what helps or hinders?." In 2017 he conducted a workshop for 130 high school teachers for the NSW Department of Education on "How to think about suicide as educators from a lived experience perspective." In 2018 he was a plenary speaker on the opening panel discussing "Lived Experience," at the 3rd Critical Suicide Studies International Conference, held at the University of Western Australia. His talk was on "A critical human rights and decolonizing response to the lived experience of suicide." Currently, he is working on a monograph called Suicide and the Purpose of Life.
Fellowships and Visiting Professor/Scholar
2018 Honorary Visiting Fellow, Centre for Australian Studies, University of Barcelona
2014 Visiting Scholar, Kinsey Institute for Research into Gender, Sex and Reproduction, Indiana University
2013 Visiting Fellow, Critical Studies in Education Te Kura O te Kōtuinga Akoranga Mātauranga, University of Auckland
2012 Visiting Fellow, Centre for Australian Studies, University of Barcelona
2010 Visiting Fellow, Centre for Australian Studies, University of Barcelona
2008 Visiting Fellow, Centre for Australian Studies, University of Barcelona
2008 Visiting Fellow, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University
2008 Visiting Scholar, Kinsey Institute for Research into Gender, Sex and Reproduction, Indiana University
2007 Visiting Professor, Centre for Australian Studies, University of Barcelona
2005 Visiting Professor, Centre for Australian Studies, University of Barcelona
2003 Visiting Fellow, Centre for Australian Studies, University of Barcelona
2003 Visiting Fellow, Rajghat Educational Centre, Varanasi, India
1997 Visiting National PhD Scholar, Department of Human Geography, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University
1995-1998 Australian Commonwealth Scholarship with Stipend (APA)
2011 Academic Impact Award - Excellence in Community Engagement Awards, Southern Cross University: For activating citizenship in regional high school students by inspiring their commitment to human rights, social justice and freedom of inquiry through a student led human rights forum.
2009 Australian Learning and Teaching Council Award Excellence in Teaching Citation: Developing and sustaining an innovative, holistic and transformative education practice that values social inclusion, cultural diversity and activated citizenship
2006 Carrick Australian Award Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning: For pioneering cultural studies and cultural diversity programs in regional Australia; outstanding command of his field; and inspiring transformative student learning
2004 NSW Minister for Education and Training Australian College of Educators Quality Teaching Award. Citation: He has outstanding knowledge and understanding of his field and his teaching is characterised by a capacity to provide a dynamic and challenging learning environment which his students respond to. He sets high standards through his own scholarship and research and students feel compelled to rise to these high expectations and not let him down. Former and current students speak positively on the powerful influence he has had upon their thinking and practice. Baden acknowledges the cultural diversity of his students and readily draws upon their ideas and experiences. He understands that curriculum and assessment are central to teaching and uses a wide variety of resources and techniques to engage each student and is able to bring the subject matter under discussion to life with current examples, issues and content. Baden is a strongly committed, thoroughly professional, inspirational and transformational educator.
- Ryan, J., and R. Offord. 2021. "Landscapes of Colonial Australian entanglements: authorities, self-definition and cultural pedagogy." In Handbook on Space, Place and Law First. Bartel, R., and J. Carter., 217-228: Edward Elgar Publishing.
- Offord, R. 2021. "Beyond Our Nuclear Entanglement: Love, Pain and the Whole Damn Thing." In Nuclear Theory Degree Zero Essays Against the Nuclear Android Kinsella, J., and D. Milne., 17-25: Routledge.
- Fleay, C., Abbas, G. Mumtaz, M. Vaikili, Nasrullah, L. Hartley, B. Offord, C. Macfarlane, and R. Sayer. 2019. ""Enabling access to higher education for people seeking asylum: a collective approach." Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning 21 (2): 168-189." 9. "Enabling access to higher education for people seeking asylum: a collective approach."
- Offord, B. 2019. "Lived Experience." CULTURAL STUDIES REVIEW 25 (2): 250-252.
- Chan, D., M. Farquhar, R. Garbutt, T. Kerr, B. Offord, E. Shiosaki, and Y. Woldeyes. 2018. "A case for reimagining Australia: Dialogic registers of the Other, truth-telling and a will to justice." Coolabah 24&25: 199-212.
- Yulius,, H., A. Tang, and B. Offord. 2018. "The Globalization of LGBT Identity and Same-Sex Marriage as a Catalyst of Neo-institutional Values: Singapore and Indonesia in Focus." In Global Perspectives on Same-Sex Marriage: A Neo-Institutional Approach Winter, B., R. Senac, and M. Forrest., 171-196 New South Wales, Australia: Springer Link.
- Woldeyes, Y. G., and B. Offord. 2018. "Decolonizing Human Rights Education: Critical Pedagogy Praxis in Higher Education." The International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives 17 (1): 24-36.
- Offord, B. 2017. "Beyond our Nuclear Engagement: love, nuclear pain and the whole damn thing." Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 22 (3): 17-25.
- Langlois, A. J., C. Wilkinson, P. Gerber, and B. Offord. 2017. "Community, identity, orientation: sexuality, gender and rights in ASEAN." The Pacific Review 30 (5): 710-728.
- Wilkinson, C., P. Gerber, B. Offord, and A. J. Langlois. 2017. "LGBT Rights in Southeast Asia: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?." IAFOR Journal of Asian Studies 3 (1): 5-17.
- Offord, B. 2016. "Ramping Up Cultural Studies: Pedagogy and the Activation of Knowledge." In The Pedagogies of Cultural Studies Hickey, A., 51-67 London, UK: Routledge.
- Gerber, P., C. Wilkinson, A. J. Langlois, and B. Offord. 2016. "Human rights in Papua New Guinea: is this where we should be settling refugees?." Australian Journal of Human Rights 22 (1): 27-66.
- Offord, B., E. Kerruish, R. Garbutt, A. Wessell, and K. Pavlovic. 2015. "Inside Australian Culture Legacies of Enlightenment Values." London: Anthem Press.
- Offord, B. 2015. "Queer Activist Intersections in Southeast Asia: Human Rights and Cultural Studies." In Ways of Knowing about Human Rights in Asia Mackie, V., 43-58 London: Routledge.
- Offord, B. 2015. "Belonging on the Edge of Australia: Narratives of Media, Representation and Surf Culture." Australian Studies Association of Japan 28: 161-172.
- Offord, R. B. 2014. "Australia in the Asian century: a decolonizing and cosmopolitan perspective." Pacific and American Studies 14: 47-60.
- Offord, B. 2014. "Queer(y)ing Illiberal Pragmatism in Singapore." Cultural Studies Review 20 (1): 314-319.
- Chen, G. B., B. Offord, and R. Garbutt. ed. 2013. "Activating Human Rights and Peace Theories, Practices and Contexts." England: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
- Offord, B. 2013. "GENDER, SEXUALITY AND COSMOPOLITANISM IN MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA: A Case Study." Gender Equality and Multicultural Conviviality Journal 8: 6-21.
- Offord, B. 2013. "Queer Activist Intersections in Southeast Asia: Human Rights and Cultural Studies." Asian Studies Review 37 (3): 335-349.
- Offord, B., and J. Ryan. 2012. "Peacebuilding Education: Enabling Human Rights and Social Justice Through Cultural Studies Pedagogy." In Activating Human Rights and Peace: Theories, Practices and Contexts Chen, G. B., B. Offord, and R. Garbutt. London: Ashgate Publishing.
- Goh, B. C., B. Offord, and R. Garbutt. 2012. "Activating Human Rights and Peace: An Overview of Theory, Practice and Context." In Activating Human Rights and Peace: Theories, Practices and Contexts Goh, B. C., B. Offord, and R. Garbutt. London: Ashgate Publishing.
- Offord, B. 2012. "Activating Human Rights and Peace: Observations and Reflections." In Activating Human Rights and Peace: Theories, Practices and Contexts Goh, B. C., B. Offord, and R. Garbutt., x-xx London: Ashgate Publishing.
- Garbutt, R., and B. Offord. 2012. "A Scholarly Affair: Activating Cultural Studies." The Review of Education, Pedagogy,and Cultural Studies 34 (1-2): 3-7.
- Offord, B. 2012. "A scholarly affair: Activating cultural studies in the wilds of the knowledge economy." Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 26 (2): 187-190.
- Offord, B. 2012. "Comments: Immigrants, Refugees, Citizenship International Migration to the Pacific Region." Pacific and American Studies 12: 54-57.
- Garbutt, R., S. Biermann, and B. Offord. 2012. "Into the borderlands: unruly pedagogy, tactile theory and the decolonising nation." Critical Arts-South-North Cultural and Media Studies 26 (1: Unruly Pedagogies): 62-81.
- Offord, B. 2011. "Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia: Arrested Development!." In The Lesbian and Gay Movement and the State Comparative Insights into a Transformed Relationship Tremblay, M., D. Paternotte, and C. Johnson., x-xx London: Ashgate Publishing.
- Hawke, S., and B. Offord. 2011. "Queer(y)ing Pedagogy and Cultural Studies: Critical Reflections on Teaching Sexuality." In Queering Paradigms II: Interrogating Agendas Scherer, B., and M. Ball., 191-208 New York: Peter Lang.
- Offord, B. ed. 2011. "A scholarly affair: proceedings of the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia 2010 national conference." Lismore, NSW: Southern Cross University, Centre for Peace and Social Justice and the School of Arts and Social Science,.
- Ryan, J., and B. Offord. 2011. "Cultural Literacy and Social Justice: Enabling Human Rights in and Beyond the Classroom." Learning and Teaching 4 (1): 27-40.
- Offord, B. 2011. "Village in the Jungle: The Eighth Annual Doireann MacDermott Lecture." Coolabah 5: 182-194.
- Haebich, A., and B. Offord. ed. 2008. "Landscapes of Exile Once Perilous, Now Safe." Oxford: Peter Lang.
- Newell, C., and B. Offord. ed. 2008. "Activating Human Rights in Education Exploration, Innovation and Transformation." Canberra: The Australian College of Educators.
- Porter, E. J., and B. Offord. ed. 2006. "Activating Human Rights." Oxford: Peter Lang.
- Offord, B. 2003. "Homosexual rights as human rights activism in Indonesia, Singapore, and Australia." Oxford: Peter Lang.