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Staff Profile

Professor Baden Offord

Office of the Provost
Faculty of Humanities
Bentley Campus
209.Level 4 / 427

Brief Summary

Baden Offord holds the Dr Haruhisa Handa Chair of Human Rights Education and is Professor of Cultural Studies and Human Rights. He took up the position as Director of Curtin University's Centre for Human Rights Education in January 2015. 

Born in Aotearoa/NZ of Maori and Pakeha heritage, Baden has lived most of his life in Sydney and Byron Bay, as well as several years in Aotearoa/NZ, South India and Japan. He was educated at The University of Sydney, Australian National University, Satya Wacana 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 and education, he is 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 has 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. He remains an Adjunct Professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University. 

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. He is a Contributing Editor to the Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies.

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Baden is an internationally recognized specialist in human rights, sexuality, culture and education. His work on LGBT 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, human rights and principled exposure as a means of preventing suicide.

He has produced over 140 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 12 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 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 also has been a consultant for CNN.

PUBLICATIONS can be found at:

REFLECTION on time in Japan:


RECENT EVENT with the Centre for Stories:



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Research Interests

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 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 are the landmark book Homosexual Rights as Human Rights: Activism in Indonesia, Singapore and Australia (2003), and numerous chapters and articles on Southeast Asia, human rights and LBGT 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. Presently Baden is working with scholars Professor Paula Gerber (Monash), Associate Professor Anthony Langlois (Flinders) and Dr Cai Wilkinson (Deakin) researching on the human rights of LGBT people in the Asia/Pacific towards an ARC project. 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 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). He is on the editorial board of The International Journal of Human Rights (Taylor and Francis). Presently he is collaborating with colleagues Dr Caroline Fleay and Dr Lisa Hartley in the Centre for Human Rights Education on a project around enabling asylum seeker scholarship. In 2017 - 2019 together with Dr Caroline Fleay, Dr Lisa Hartley and Dr Yirga Woldeyes, Baden is collaborating on the project: 'The Pedagogies of Human Rights'.

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 most recently 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 Dr Katie Ellis, Dr Mike Kent and Dr Rachel Robertson in the development of the Curtin Critical Disability Studies Network. With cultural studies colleagues, including Assosiate Professor Andrew Hickey(USQ), Dr Rob Garbutt (SCU) and Dr Rebecca Olive (SCU) 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.)


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Journal Articles (Research)

  • 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.
  • 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.


Book Chapters (Research)

Journal Articles (Research)


Books (Research)

Book Chapters (Research)


Books - Edited

  • Chen, G. B., B. Offord, and R. Garbutt. ed. 2013. "Activating Human Rights and Peace Theories, Practices and Contexts." England: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Offord, R. B. 2013. "Queer Activist Intersections in Southeast Asia: Human Rights and Cultural Studies." Asian Studies Review 37 (3): 335-349.
  • Offord, R. B. 2013. "GENDER, SEXUALITY AND COSMOPOLITANISM IN MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA: A Case Study." Gender Equality and Multicultural Conviviality Journal 8: 6-21.


Book Chapters (Research)

  • Offord, R. 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.

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Garbutt, R., S. Biermann, and R. 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, R. 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.
  • Garbutt, R., and R. B. Offord. 2012. "A Scholarly Affair: Activating Cultural Studies." The Review of Education, Pedagogy,and Cultural Studies 34 (1-2): 3-7.


Books - Edited

  • Offord, R. 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,.

Book Chapters (Research)

  • Hawke, S., and R. 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., x-xx New York: Peter Lang.
  • Offord, R. B. 2011. "Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia: Arrested Development!." In The Lesbian and Gay Movement and the StateComparative Insights into a Transformed Relationship Tremblay, M., D. Paternotte, and C. Johnson., x-xx London: Ashgate Publishing.

Journal Articles (Research)

  • Offord, R. B. 2011. "Village in the Jungle: The Eighth Annual Doireann MacDermott Lecture." Coolabah 5: 182-194.
  • Ryan, J., and R. B. Offord. 2011. "Cultural Literacy and Social Justice: Enabling Human Rights in and Beyond the Classroom." Learning and Teaching 4 (1): 27-40.


Books - Edited

  • 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.


Books - Edited

  • Porter, E. J., and B. Offord. ed. 2006. "Activating Human Rights." Oxford: Peter Lang.


Books (Research)

  • Offord, B. 2003. "Homosexual rights as human rights activism in Indonesia, Singapore, and Australia." Oxford: Peter Lang.
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keyboard_arrow_downAdditional publication categories


Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)


Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

  • Offord, R. B. 2014. "Queer(y)ing Illiberal Pragmatism in Singapore." Cultural Studies Review 20 (1): 314-319.
  • Offord, R. B. 2014. "Australia in the Asian century: a decolonizing and cosmopolitan perspective." Pacific and American Studies 14: 47-60.


Books Chapters - Other

  • Offord, R. 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.
  • Goh, B. C., R. 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.

Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

  • Offord, R. B. 2012. "Comments: Immigrants, Refugees, Citizenship International Migration to the Pacific Region." Pacific and American Studies 12: 54-57.
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Additional Information

Presentations 2012-2015

2017: Keynote: 'Understanding Culture,' Curtin Leaders Program, 10 May.

2017: Keynote: 'Refuge: Refugee: Moonlight and Precarious Love,' IAFOR Global Studies Conference, Barcelona, 14 June.

2017: Keynote: 'Of being fully alive in the world: understanding the activism/art of John Akomfrah,' Launch of Exhbition, Perth International Arts Festival, 6 February.

2016: Plenary Presentation with Suvendrini Perera, ‘Expanding the Frame of Visibility’. Visualizing Human Rights Conference, University of Western Australia, Western Australian Maritime Museum, Fremantle, 5 December.

2016: Plenary Presentation: “Ending homophobia: encounter, recognition, responsibility.” Australian Ally Conference, Western Sydney University, 27-28 June.

2016: Plenary Panel: "Global Studies in Challenging Times: Focussing on the Arts, Humanities and Cultural Studies." With Donald E Hall (Lehigh University), Sue Ballyn (University of Barcelona) and Bill Phillips (University of Barcelona). 16-18 July.

2016: The Fourth Kathleen Firth Keynote Lecture: "Holding to Account: Visualising Human Rights and Cosmopolitan Betrayal" at the IAFOR Global Studies Conference on “The Global and The Local: Crossing Sites of Cultural, Critical, & Political Intervention.” Barcelona, 16-18 July.

2016: Opening Address: “Cultural Struggle and Praxis: Negotiating Power and the Everyday.” IAFOR Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, Kobe, Japan, 3-6 June.

2016: Plenary Panel: "Current Challenges and Opportunities in the Humanities and Cultural Studies." With Koichi Iwabuchi (Monash University) and Donald Hall (Lehigh University). IAFOR Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, Kobe, Japan, 3-6 June.

2016: Discussant: "Social Movements and Critical Pedagogy" Chair and Moderator: Koichi Iwabuchi with Noriko Manabe (Temple University) and David Slater (Sophia University). IAFOR Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, Kobe, Japan 3-6 June.

2016: Panelist: “Promoting Human Rights in Educational Communities for People of Diverse Genders and Sexualities” held at Murdoch University. With The Hon. Michael Kirby; Dani Wright Toussaint (Coordinator: Freedom Centre); Olivia Knowles (Senior Project Officer, Safe Schools Coalition, WA Chapter); Will Knox (MU Ally Network & Student Advisor, School of Education, MU); Dr Wendy Cumming-Potvin (Assoc. Prof School of Education, MU); and Dr Michelle Blanchard, (Head of Projects and Partnerships Young and Well CRC). 16 May.

2016: Panelist: “The Future Academic: Networking, Teaching and Doing Research (Exceptionally) Well," WA Communication, Culture and Media Symposium, Murdoch University, 12 February.

2016: Paper, 'Of cul-de-sac champions, civilisation, hidden curriculum and Aussie Rules,' Go Between, In Between: Borders of Belonging Inernational Conference, Curtin Featured Panel II: Cultural Struggle of Australia: Negotiating Belonging, The University of Barcelona, Spain, 21 January.

2016: Featured Speaker, "Seeking Social Justice in a World of Inequality,' Fedtalks, Federal, New South Wales, 22 February.

2015: Panelist: 'Re-imagining Australia: Encounter, Recognition, Responsibility,' In honour of 30 years  of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984. Chaired by Victoria Laurie with panelists Allan Macdonald, Acting WA Equal Opportunity Commissioner; Rabia Siddique, International humanitarian and hostage survivor; Suvendrini Perera, Professor of Cultural Studies; Samantha Connor, Writer and disability advocate; Stephen Goodall, Community Education Officer, EOC, State Library of WA, Human Rights Day, 10 December.

2015: Presentation: 'Culture, Sexuality, Critical Pedagogy and Social Justice,' English Teachers Association, Northern Rivers, 8 December.

2015: Paper Presentation: 'Ramping up Queer Dissent: Cultural Studies+/=Human Rights,' Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference, 'Minor Cultures,' Cultural Studies and Human Rights Panel, University of Melbourne, 2-4 December.

2015 Paper Presentation: 'Enabling Dissenting Knowledge: education, pedagogy and minor cultures,' Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Conference, 'Minor Cultures,' Pedagogies of Cultural Studies Panel, University of Melbourne, 2-4 December.

2015 Presentation: ‘Ramping up Cultural Studies Education and Pedagogy,’ Critical Disability Studies Symposium, Curtin University, 25 March.

2015 Plenary Speaker: ‘Meaningful Inclusion of Lived Experience:  what helps or hinders?,’ Suicide Prevention Australia National Conference, Hobart, 25-29 July.

2015 Paper: ‘Same Sex Kissing as a Human Right,’ Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand, 29 June to 1 July, Wellington, Aotearoa/NZ.

2015 Paper: ‘Enabling the Cultural Transmission of Human Rights for LGBT people.’ IAFOR 5th Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, Kobe, Japan, 28-31 May.

2015 Featured Speaker, ‘Human Rights, Justice, Media and Culture,’ Fifth Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, 28 May to 31 May, Kobe, Japan.

2015: Research Seminar Presentation:  'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) issues across Southeast Asia: Human Rights and Cultural Transformation​,' Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute, 11 May.

2014 ‘Sexuality,’ at Creating a Culture of Human Rights Symposium, Centre for Peace and Social Justice, Southern Cross University, 11 July.

2014 Featured Speaker, ‘Borderlands of Becoming and Belonging,’ Fourth Asian Conference on Cultural Studies, 29 May to 1 June, Osaka, Japan.

2014 Featured Speaker, ‘Transformation of Australian Studies in a Globalising Age,’ 26-27 July, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan. First International Conference of The Australian Studies Association of Japan.

2014 Presentation: ‘A Queer Approach to Human Rights, Sexual Identity, and LGBT Asylum Seekers,’ Institute for Sexuality, Gender and Feminist Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 28 October. 

2014 Seminar Presentation: 'Activating Human Rights in the Anthropocene,’ Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University, 16 June.

2013 Keynote Presentation: ‘Looking Through the Looking Glass: Home, the World and the Anthropocene,’ Third Asian Conference on Asian Studies, 24-26 May, International Academic Forum, Osaka, Japan.

2013 Presentation: '‘Cultural Research and Notions of Belonging,’ at the Launch of the Gold Coast Cultural Research Network, Griffith University, 26 November. 

2012 Paper: ‘Place pedagogy and decolonisation in cultural studies education,’ British Association for Research in Education Annual Conference, Manchester University. Special Invited symposium. September.

2012 Presentation: ‘Interdisciplinarity,’ Australian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres, University of Technology, Sydney, 12 June.

2012 Paper: ‘Pacific Imaginings,’ The University of Tokyo, Japan, 27 July.

2012 Plenary Presentation: 'Gender, Sexuality and Cosmopolitanism in Multicultural Australia: A case study.'  Global Centre of Excellence in Research, Gender Equality and Multicultural Conviviality, School of Law, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, 21 October.

2012 Plenary Presentation: 'The Effects of the Multicultural Experience on Gender and Sexuality in Australia.' Cross-National Doctoral Course, Global Centre of Excellence in Research, Gender Equality and Multicultural Conviviality GCOE, School of Law, Tohoku University, Matsushima, Japan. 19 October.

2012 Plenary Presentation: ‘Gender and Sexuality Equality in Asia,’ 14th EU-NGO Forum on Human Rights, to be held in Brussels 6-7 December. Invited by The European External Action Service and the European Commission, together with the Human Rights and Democracy Network and the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. The annual EU-NGO Forum brings together around 200 delegates from non-governmental organisations, international organisations, EU Member States, and European Institutions.

2012 Plenary Presentation: ‘Marriage Equality: a Contemporary Issue of Sexuality in Cosmopolitan Australia’ at the Kansai Chapter of Australian Studies annual conference, Otemon Gakuin University, Osaka, Japan, 27 October.

2012 'Queer Alternatives: the Aquarius Festival and Tropical Fruits,' conference “Looking Back to Look Forwards” 10-13 December, University of Barcelona, Spain.

2012 Paper: 'Knowing Asia Through Intellectual Decolonisation and Cosmopolitan Pedagogy.’ Asian Studies Association of Australia 19th Biennial Conference, Knowing Asia: Asian Studies in an Asian Century, 11-12 July, University of Western Sydney.

2012 Paper: ‘Knowing Asia through Exchange, Encounter and Engagement: the Imperative of Australia’s Cultural Reorientation,’ Asian Cultural Studies Conference, Osaka, Japan, 3 June.

2012 Research Presentation: ‘A New Ornament of the World? Australia and its Asian Cosmopolitan Futures,’ Centre for Pacific and American Studies, Institute of Advanced Global Studies, The University of Tokyo, 16 October.

2012 Paper: ‘Unruly Cultural Studies Pedagogy: Materiality, Vantage, Walking and Attention,’ CSAA Annual Conference, University of Sydney, 4-6 December.





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