File(s) under permanent embargo
Nationalism, Britishness and Australian history: the Meaney thesis revisited
journal contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Christopher WatersChristopher Waters
In 2001 Neville Meaney published a landmark article which questioned the place of nationalism in Australian historiography. He argued that up to the 1960s Britishness, not nationalism, was the hegemonic marker of identity for Australians, and warned that nationalist historians had fallen into the trap of writing their histories through nationalism’s own teleological imperative. This article revisits Meaney’s hegemonic claim for the role of Britishness in Australian history by arguing that he went too far. By leeching out nationalism as an ideology at play in Australian politics in the mid-twentieth century historians are in danger of taking Australian history out of its world historical context: the Age of Decolonisation.