Afterword: What was Britain? Where is its history?

Publisher:
Monash University ePress
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
History Australia, 2016, 13 (1), pp. 153 - 159
Issue Date:
2016
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This article considers the different ways British history has been located and defined in the last forty years, highlighting in particular the shifting and porous nature of its borders. The article reflects on the disinclination of many contributors in this issue to adopt the label of 'British historian'. It points out that, despite the emergence of transnational history, those historians working in Australia on British sources continue to find themselves pulled between the national imperatives of multiple countries. But both transnational and national historical approaches might be seen as attempts to make sense of human lives and institutions made within systems that work by at once connecting and separating localities. The article concludes by arguing that historians working on British sources in Australia need to claim both labels of 'British' and 'Antipodean'. They need to situate themselves both within the supply chains of trade, labour and governance, family, expertise and belief that stretched across space, and within the various politics that sought to locate and contain them in different locations.
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