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Who is Australian? National belonging and exclusion in Australian history textbooks

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Moore, R 2020 , 'Who is Australian? National belonging and exclusion in Australian history textbooks' , Review of Education , doi: 10.1002/rev3.3233.

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Abstract

Although multiculturalism replaced the White Australia Policy in the 1970s, the Australian nationcontinues to be imagined predominantly as a White space from which Aborigines, Torres StraitIslanders and peoples of non-White immigrant heritage are excluded. Whereas White people’s positioning as Australian is secure and taken for granted, non-White people’s Australianness is fraughtand tentative. In this article, I employ critical whiteness studies to explore the reproduction of racialised categories of national belonging and exclusion. Using textbooks as records of dominant narratives, I examine how Australian history narratives in secondary school textbooks produce andmaintain the White solipsism which enables the nation to be imagined as White. From a sample of16 texts released this century by a leading Australian publisher of secondary school textbooks, Iexcluded 10 which duplicated the content of other texts or did not cover my chosen focus: narratives of the Australia gold rushes and national identity. I conducted iterative critical discourse analysis on the remaining six texts. My analysis shows that, despite explicit attempts to improve textbookcontent, implicitly White solipsism is reinforced rather than disrupted. This functions to upholdconstructions of the nation as White, excluding Aborigines, Torres Strait Islanders and peoples ofnon-White immigrant heritage from national belonging. Further work is needed to ensure historynarratives interrupt and contest White solipsism and its attendant privileging of White Australians.Educators raised in White societies need to recognise their likely enculturation in White solipsismand learn to avoid unintentionally reinscribing categories of national belonging and exclusion.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Moore, R
Keywords: textbooks, history, nationality, whiteness
Journal or Publication Title: Review of Education
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN: 2049-6613
DOI / ID Number: 10.1002/rev3.3233
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 British Educational Research Association. "This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: 'Who is Australian? National belonging and exclusion in Australian history textbooks', which has been published in final form at 10.1002/rev3.3233. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions."

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