McKenna, Mark: History and inheritance

McKenna, Mark

Australian history and the Australian “national inheritance”’, Australian Cultural History, 27, 1, 2009, pp. 1-12

Over the last decade, there has been an increasing push from political parties, both conservative and Labor, and sections of the political class—opinion makers, journalists, and private think tanks—to equate knowledge of history with the concept of a ‘national inheritance’. Implicit in this argument is the idea that history is something to which we owe fealty, that it is a body of knowledge, a national canon of events and stories, which we should embrace as a demonstration of patriotism; Anzac Day being the prime example. From a range of perspectives, this essay attempts to document, understand and critically evaluate this shift in Australia’s public culture. (abstract)

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