Brian Martin

Emeritus Professor

Citation Delivered By Professor Judy Raper Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research And Innovation) at the University Of Wollongong on the Occasion of the admission of Brian Martin as an Emeritus Professor of the University on 1 November 2017.

Chancellor, I present Brian Martin.

Professor Brian Martin is an example par excellence of Frederico Fellini’s maxim that in the pursuit of fulfilment, “you have to live spherically – in many directions”; and if this is also to be used as a yardstick for personal and professional achievement, Professor Martin is very accomplished indeed. As a thought leader, the scope of his research is as impressive as it is expansive, covering the fields of peace research, science and technology studies, sociology, political science, media studies, law, journalism and education. In this breadth, he has few peers in Australia or internationally. He has consistently championed a socially informed and invested approach to scholarship, and throughout his 30 year career at the University of Wollongong, has been committed to making meaningful contributions to social change and transformation.

Professor Martin began his academic career in his home country, the United States of America, with a BA in Physics from Rice University, Texas in 1969. He then emigrated to Australia where he attained a Master of Science (1st Class Honours) and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Sydney, graduating in 1974. From 1976 to 1985, Professor Martin was engaged as a research assistant, then research associate, within the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies and the Applied Mathematics Department at the Australian National University, Canberra.

Drawn by his on-going interest in the ethics of science, in 1986, Professor Martin moved into the fledgling Science and Technology Studies specialty at the University of Wollongong, embedded within what is now the Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities. There, he has produced an outstanding record of high-impact academic publications, which have been subsequently translated into 20 languages. This culminated in a full Professorship in 2007. Although he retired in June of 2016, he remains very active in mentoring colleagues and students at UOW, and continues to publish widely in academic publications and on his independent website, which boasts a vast international readership.

Culminating in his key 2014 book, The Controversy Manual, Professor Martin developed an original framework for understanding struggles over injustice, which has become a ground breaking go-to reference for both scholars and activists. His framework for negotiating the intimidating maze of public controversy has been applied to a remarkably diverse range of topics, including censorship, sexual harassment, file sharing, lying, police brutality, protest, and labour struggles.

Evident in all of Professor Martin’s academic pursuits has been his insatiable curiosity and dauntless approach to intellectual enquiry, often into complex, thorny subjects few would find themselves comfortable in broaching. These subjects further include peace, war and non-violent action, scientific controversies, whistleblowing and suppression of dissent, democratic alternatives to representative government, strategies against injustice, information issues and educational integrity. Such is Professor Martin’s standing and influence in the field of activism and advocacy, Stellan Vinthagen, foundation Chair of Civil Resistance at the University of Massachusetts, recently introduced him as the world’s leading nonviolence researcher.

Professor Martin has been a prominent supporter of academic freedom at the University of Wollongong, and has made an outstanding and unique contribution to the research and commentary on dissent, free speech and whistleblowing, and advocacy in these areas.

Chancellor, for his service and dedication to this University and his outstanding contribution to scholarship, activism and advocacy, it is a privilege and pleasure to present Brian Martin for admission as an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong.