Dean's Lecture 2017 - Professor Anne Flintoff

Diversity, inclusion and (anti) racism in health and physical education: what can a critical whiteness perspective offer?

In this presentation, Professor Anne Flintoff argues for the importance of physical educators’ critical engagement with issues of race and ethnic diversity. Despite its colonial history and close relationship to sport - where racialised discourses about the body contribute to shaping common sense ideas about race - we have yet to engage in any sustained way with issues of race in Health and Physical Education (HPE). Concerns over rises in racism, coupled with persistent gaps between a largely white profession and ethnically diverse school populations in developed countries, point to the need to support teachers’ critical engagement with race. Professor Flintoff examines the potential - and challenges - of adopting a critical whiteness perspective for this task. Antiracist perspectives, focusing on the effects of racism, position white teachers ‘outside’ of race, and contribute to a deficit view of minority ethnic students in HPE as ‘problems’ for not being ‘active or healthy enough’ in relation to an accepted white (male and middle class) norm. Critical whiteness perspectives shift the focus towards an examination of the workings of the dominant culture through a critical engagement with whiteness, centralising white teachers within processes of racialisation. Professor Flintoff will ask what such an approach might mean for HPE educators and our (antiracist) practice. The Fritz Duras Lecture is delivered biennially as part of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education Dean's Lecture Series. The purpose of this lecture is to commemorate and carry on the significant contribution Dr Fritz Duras made to the University of Melbourne and the Australian community, especially in the areas of Health and Physical Education. Dr Fritz Duras was the Director of the first Diploma course on Physical Education at the University of Melbourne in the 1930s. He stated his firm belief in 'the important relations between physical education and preventive medicine'. The significance of this connection between education and health remains contemporary.