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From the “black armband” view of history to changing the date: Australia’s culture wars

10:00am Fri 29 Mar

About this session

Australian history was always been contested. In the 60s and 70s a new generation of historians, writers and activists challenged the racist presumptions of Australian national identity: the myth of terra nullius, the “forgotten” history of the frontier wars and the impact that racist colonisation continued to have for Indigenous people. The 1990s saw a right-wing backlash against this challenge spearheaded by Prime Minister John Howard who decried the “black armband” view of history, mocked Indigenous culture and celebrated the legacy of the British Empire and colonialism. This culture war continues to this day with conservatives wanting to defend Australia Day, deny the reality of racism and push back against the greater acceptance of Indigenous culture and history. This talk will unpack the history of Australia’s culture wars, explain why they are a recurring feature of politics, and what right-wingers are trying to gain out of whitewashing our past.

Recommended Reading

The History Warsby Stuart Macintyre and ‎Anna Clark
Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle’s Fabrication of Aboriginal Historyby Robert Manne
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