Public Histories of Australian and British Women's Suffrage: Some Comparative Issues

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Hilda Kean


In this article I consider the ways in which activists in the British suffrage movement became the public historians of their own pasts. I analyse the different forms in which the history of suffrage feminism was created and the ways in which it both drew upon former traditions of the labour movement and conventions of public memorialisation. I consider the ways in which the Australian suffrage campaign has been memorialised and differences between this and the British position. I raise a number of questions about ways in which public historians might explore the creation of collective histories and the role of individuals within that process arising from this initial comparative analysis.

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Author Biography

Hilda Kean, Ruskin College Oxford

Hilda Kean is director of the MA in Public History and Humanities co-ordinator at Ruskin College, Oxford, UK. Her books include London stories: Personal Lives, Public Histories (Rivers Oram Press, 2004); Seeing History: Public History in Britain Now (eds with Paul Martin, Sally Morgan, (Francis Boutle,2000); Animal Rights: Social and Political Change in Britain since 1800, (Reaktion Books, 1998/2000). People and their Pasts: Public History Now (ed with Paul Ashton) will be published by Palgrave in 2007.