In solidarity with our Australian colleagues, the Medieval Academy of America protests the acting Australian Minister of Education’s cancellation of six grants in the humanities and social sciences that had been approved for funding by the Australian Research Council and undergone an established and rigorous review process by experienced scholar-researchers. We share the alarm of Australia’s Learned Academies at what appears to be political interference that both targets the humanities and compromises the integrity of Australia’s research system. Literary studies— representing four of the six canceled grants —were particularly singled out for de-funding, including one ARC-approved project on medieval literature and culture led by two medievalists, Daniel Anlezark, McCaughey Professor of Early English Literature at the University of Sydney, and Erin Sebo, Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature at Flinders University. In overriding the judgment of a duly-appointed body and substituting his own unexplained and non-expert assessment, the Minister violated basic principles of academic freedom.
A parliamentary inquiry into political interference in research funding is presently underway in Australia; we hope this will restore canceled funding and protect academic freedom. Recognizing similar threats to intellectual inquiry in North America, we urge all our members to act locally in support of academic freedom and our colleagues’ research.
Maureen C. Miller, President
Robin Fleming, First Vice-President
Sara Lipton, Second Vice-President