Agora 2022-3 Contested Histories

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Contested Histories | Agora vol. 57 no. 3 (2022)

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Reflection Ashley Keith Pratt
Editorial Guy Nolch

Reflections on the theme
Australian History Is Contested
Richard Broome AM, Emeritus Professor in History, La Trobe University; Life member, HTAV

Declining enrolment numbers are attributed to Australian History being ‘boring’ when in fact its controversial nature requires a curriculum with nuance and complexity.
Who ‘Owns’ the Eureka Flag?
Matthew Allanby, Xavier College

While the political left has traditionally claimed the legacy of the Eureka Rebellion, the political right is increasingly appropriating this narrative to protest against government powers.
Charles La Trobe and the Kulin: ‘Protection’ or Exile from Country?
Margaret Anderson, Old Treasury Building

Documents reveal tensions in Port Phillip over La Trobe’s intentions to carry out his duty to protect First Nations people by forcing them from Melbourne.
The Contested Nature of Dual-Naming in Australia
Harrison Croft, Monash University

Acknowledging original Indigenous names can legitimise the deep history of a place, but the act of renaming is tokenistic if renaming is itself an end.
The Early Critics of a ‘White Australia’
Ian Keese, Retired teacher and author

Although there was majority support for the newly federated Australia to adopt a policy based on race, it is important to realise that there were also strong critics.
How Religion Shaped Australia
Frank Bongiorno, Australian National University

Australia is often said to be a secular nation, but the nation’s relationship with religion is more complicated than that.
Righting History: Monument Avenue, Richmond, Virginia
Paul Kiem, University of Sydney

The Monument Avenue Commission’s report into Richmond’s Confederate statues, and the subsequent flashpoint between neo-Confederate and Black Lives Matter protestors, provide a great case study for teaching current controversies around memorials and commemoration.
Race Consciousness and the Teaching of American History
Daniel J. Willever, Ramsey High School, New Jersey

In an era of intense political polarisation, teaching American History has become more complex and challenging than ever before.
Decolonising the Curriculum: A Canadian Perspective
Rachel Collishaw, President, Social Studies Educators Network of Canada; and President, Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association

Canadian provinces are revising the curriculum as the nation confronts its history of Indigenous genocide in residential schools.
The Discomfort of the New Idea: Contested Histories and Cognitive Dissonance
Deb Hull, History Teachers’ Association of Victoria

An unexpectedly fiery podcast about the Industrial Revolution shows that ‘diverse interpretations’ occur in all kinds of histories.

Teaching ideas
Facilitating Respectful Classroom Dialogue for Contested Histories
Laura Newman, Social Education Victoria, and Nicole Marie, Point Cook Senior Secondary College

Preparation and dialogue protocols can support classroom discussions of contested histories that are inclusive rather than adversarial.
Dark Emu: Investigating a Controversy in the History Classroom
Robert Lewis

Dark Emu has been accused of being misleading in its use of evidence. This classroom activity will help students explore the controversy by investigating how primary sources have been used in the book.
Dark Emu Overcomes Barriers to the Meaningful Teaching of Ancient Australia
Alana Ryan, Presbyterian Ladies’ College

Many teachers feel ill-equipped to teach First Nations history in detail, but Dark Emu provides a fantastic base to navigate this space.
Aboriginal Artworks and Cultural Objects as Primary Sources
Nikita Vanderbyl, Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University Mildura

Object-based learning can provide students with opportunities to ask questions that provide a deeper connection to the contested nature of First Nations history.
Decolonising a Library: Our Experience
Laura Capraro, Ben Lawless and Josephine Motti, Aitken College

What decisions need to be made when ensuring the books in your school’s library reflect current knowledge and do not perpetuate stereotypes and racism?
How Students Use Social Media When Learning About History
Kara Taylor, Irymple Secondary College

Interviews with Year 7–10 Humanities students reveal the extent to which they get and interrogate their newsfeed to make sense of history and the world around them.

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