Childhood experiences set Dr D’urso on path to activism and academia

For Jubilee client Dr Salvatore (Ted) D’Urso knowing your history and culture is vitally important. That philosophy is one which has driven his actions on both a personal and an academic note, leading to numerous publications about his family life and fields of study – education and politics.

Salvatore has released his latest book Outlook Critical: Essays On My Political Journey, to record his family history. “I have four gorgeous grandchildren and the best thing I can do for them is to write down my memoirs and where I came from,” Salvatore said. While the memoirs were never meant to be published as a book, a friend suggested its content about Salvatore’s wider cultural and political journey could be valuable to a larger audience. “And so my memoirs accidentally came out as a book,” Salvatore said.

Born in Sicily in 1928, Salvatore’s family moved to Innisfail in 1931. He then moved to Brisbane for university earning five degrees in teh next 20-odd years. It was in his early university days that Salvatore began mixing with radicals, leading to a PHD about student radical movements on Australian university campuses and the remarkable journey of activism highlighted in Outlook Critical.

Salvatore pursued a teaching career, later becoming a Teachers College lecturer which then led to academic appointments at the University of New England and the University of Queensland where he remained until his retirement in 1993.

Along the way he founded a journal titled Discourse: Australian Journal of Educational Studies, which has now become the international journal Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. Other books were published including Counterpoints: Critical Writings on Australian Education, and Changes, Issues and Prospects in Australian Education.

It was Salvatore’s childhood that forged his interest in activism, education and politics. “It was because of the racism when I was growing up,” Salvatore said. “We were taught to be ashamed of our (Italian) names and so I never used it. It sparked something in me and that was the beginning of my radicalism.”

“But I am really culturally conservative and by culture I mean academic works, ” Salvatore said. “Young people should be introduced to the best that has been thought and done in our culture.”

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