The Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy, an initiative of the advocacy organisation, Social Policy Connections, was launched by Professor Brian Howe in 2009, with a Board of distinguished academics and with Fr Bruce Duncan as inaugural Director.
Bruce Duncan was in 1971 ordained for the Redemptorist order which, like many others, gives a high priority to work for justice and peace. To pursue his interest in justice issues, he completed a BEc (hons) and in 1987 a PhD in political science at the University of Sydney. He was also in 1979 one of the founders of National Outlook
, an ecumenical social justice magazine, and did much of the editing until 1983.
Since 1986 he has taught at Yarra Theological Union at Box Hill in Melbourne, and currently co-ordinates the program of social justice studies. Courses he has taught:
- Can War be Just?
- Christianity, Economics and Social Transformation;
- Catholic Social Thought Overseas and in Australia;
- Justice and Social Teaching;
- Liberation Theology;
- Marxism and Christianity; and
- Educating for Justice (at Australian Catholic University).
From 1998 until 2007 he was a consultant on Catholic social teaching and social policy at Catholic Social Services Victoria. He was also a member of the Melbourne Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace from its inception in 1994 until it was disbanded in 2007.
His current research centres on the ethical dimensions of economics; equity and social development; issues of war and peace; and bringing the resources of the Christian social traditions into closer contact with contemporary social problems. His main publications are:
The Church's social teaching: from Rerum Novarum to 1931
(Melbourne: CollinsDove, 1991). Crusade or conspiracy? Catholics and the anti-communist struggle in Australia
(Sydney: UNSW Press, 2001). World population: cause for alarm?
(Sydney: Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, 1995).
(with Dr Sheila Cameron) ‘Surviving, not living’: Disadvantage in Melbourne
' (Melbourne: Catholic Social Services Victoria, 2001). War on Iraq: Is it just?
(Sydney: Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, 2003). Ending hunger: how far can we go? The UN Millennium Development Goals
(Sydney: Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, 2005).
In addition to articles in academic journals, he has written many articles for magazines and newspapers, most of which can be found at www.frbruceduncan.com
Some of these are also on the website for the Social Policy Connections
and the Redemptorists of Australia and New Zealand