Private Lives, Public History: Navigating Australian Historical Consciousness

Berghahn Books
Publication Type:
Contemplating Historical Consciousness Notes from the Field, 2019, pp. 113 - 125 (13)
Issue Date:
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Australian history has generated intense political and historiographical interest in recent years, as historians, politicians and public commentators weighed into captivating and divisive contests over the nation’s past. Commemorations, museums and school syllabuses became sites of great public interest and contestation, powerful reminders of the politics of collective memory. While such discussions continue to stimulate argument and analysis in scholarly articles, opinion pieces and public commentary, little is known of their impact on the wider community. What do so-called “ordinary Australians” think about the nation’s past? Are the historical questions it raises also debated in our sports clubs, living rooms and community centre kitchenettes? Does that historical concern reach out beyond opinion pages or academic journals, and across the garden fences that Tom Griffiths wrote about in relation to historical practice?
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