Talking About History: A Case for Oral Historiography

Anna Clark

Abstract

The history wars are far from over—the question is, do they resonate beyond the limited public sphere in which they play out? What do Australians think of their history in light of these politicised historical debates? By way of answer, this paper examines the enduring public contest over the past and then investigates more elusive, but no less significant, everyday conversations about Australian history around the country. By proposing a method of ‘oral historiography’ to gauge contemporary historical understandings in Australia, it brings a critical new perspective to these ongoing debates. It offers ordinary people a chance to contribute to national discussions about Australian history and it challenges some of the more simplistic and troubling assumptions of the history wars.

Keywords

Oral Historiography; History Wars

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