The 48th Symposium
& Annual Academy Events

15 to 17 November 2017, Western Australia

For the first time since 2000, our annual events will be held in Western Australia.

The Academy’s 48th Symposium will be held from the afternoon of Wednesday 15 November at the University of Western Australia, with the main program on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 November at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle. Visit the venues, hotels and travel page for further details.

Coinciding with Symposium, is the annual Academy Lecture to be given by novelist, descendant of the Noongar people of Western Australia and Honorary Academy Fellow Professor Kim Scott.

Our annual Fellows’ events will occur in conjunction with the Symposium program, with Academy meetings and Fellows’ Dinner on Friday 17 November and the Annual General Meeting held Saturday 18 November.

Humanitarianism & Human Rights

This year’s Symposium theme is Humanitarianism and Human Rights. Over the last decade, there has been an explosion of interest in the history of human rights, linked to critique of its current global formations. The long history of human rights has been shaped by the ideas of humanism, conflicts for religious freedoms and political representations, and colonial engagement that provokes debates about universal humanity and inviolable rights.

The Symposium program will explore three related questions:

  • How is contemporary Australia shaped by these long intellectual and emotional histories regarding human rights and humanitarianism?
  • Can we identify a distinctively Australian perspective on these questions?
  • What are the challenges for Australia today in engaging with human rights related to matters as wide-ranging as sexuality, disability activism, Indigenous rights, linguistic imperialism, refugees, and religious freedoms.
Registrations open Wednesday 12 July


The program has been convened by Professor Susan Broomhall FAHA (University of Western Australia), Professor Jane Lydon FAHA (University of Western Australia), Professor Alan Dench FAHA (Curtin University) and Professor Baden Offord (Curtin University).


We gratefully acknowledge the support for this year’s Symposium from the following:

  • Co-principal sponsors: Curtin University and the University of Western Australia
  • Associate sponsors: Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Symposium venue sponsor: Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University
  • Wednesday public lecture: Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions
  • Destination sponsor: Perth Convention Bureau and Tourism Western Australia