Honest History at 5 years: a symposium, 8 November, ANU, Canberra: ‘presenting, choosing, measuring, changing history’

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‘Presenting, choosing, measuring, changing history’

An Honest History symposium in conjunction with the Australian National University, Law Lecture Theatre, ANU, Canberra, Thursday, 8 November 2018

With Frank Bongiorno, Michael Brissenden, Alison Broinowski, Pamela Burton, Michael Cooney, Shaun Crowe, Paul Daley, Emily Gallagher, Tjanara Goreng Goreng, Carolyn Holbrook, Benjamin T. Jones, Ann McGrath, Michael Piggott, David Stephens, Sue Wareham, Clare Wright, in discussion


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The symposium marks five years of the Honest History website (honesthistory.net.au). The Honest History coalition has promoted balanced consideration of Australian history by offering contesting, evidence-based interpretations to students, teachers, universities, journalists and the public.

The Honest History message is best summed up by the words on the cover of The Honest History Book (NewSouth 2017): ‘Australia is more than Anzac – and always has been’. War (the focus of the Anzac centenary years) is clearly important in our history – not so much because of what Australians have done in war but because of what war has done to Australians and Australia.

But many other influences are important also, from fire, floods and drought, through inequality (despite our alleged egalitarian values), to the unresolved impacts of the invasion of 1788, and our incongruous deference to great and powerful friends and the monarchy.

The symposium runs the microscope over many facets of history – the stories and the study – in the year 2018. It looks at how history is presented, how we choose our history, how historians tackle their discipline, and how we bend ‘the arc of history’.

During the morning, Michael Brissenden of the ABC will launch a new book On Patriotism (Melbourne University Press) by Paul Daley, writer and Guardian Australia journalist.

15 August 2018