Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Russel Ward case: Academic freedom in Australia during the Cold War

Gosh it has been quiet in Hannahland lately - that is because it really hasn't beed quiet in Hannahland!

I'll try to catch up with what I've been up to. One is this article, published last year. This was a side-project I explored after I finished my PhD thesis. The issue bothered me while I wrote it but it was not really relevant. It was an old-fashioned question of what was the truth of the matter...

Here is the abstract:
Until recently, historians assumed that the 1956 ‘Ward case’, in which the historian Russel Ward was denied a lectureship at the New South Wales University of Technology (now the University of New South Wales), was an example of Cold War political repression in Australian universities. When this orthodoxy was challenged in the conservative journal Quadrant in 2004, the incident was brought to the edges of  Australia’s ‘History Wars’. While it sheds some light on the Cold War intellectual environment, the significance of the case is also derived from its place in this more recent debate, and is boosted by Ward’s status as author of the classic text, The
Australian Legend (1958). This article draws on previously unexamined records to evaluate the evidence surrounding Ward’s failed appointment.


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