Labour History

Australian Labour History: Contexts, Trends and Influences

Labour History (2011), 100, (1), 1–18.


From their inception, the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History and itsBulletin(laterLabour History) represented a claim to recognition for labour history within Australian academia. At the same time, they expressed the fellowship of the activist and scholar. This article will suggest that labour history has been shaped by the evolving professional imperatives associated with university-based research, publication and teaching of Australian history in an increasingly globalised academic culture. Yet labour history has also continued to derive distinctiveness from a longer history of identification with the labour movement’s struggle for social justice; its roots in what I call ‘activist popular history’, ‘critical objective history’ and ‘academic history’; and a healthy scepticism concerning the illusion of disinterested scholarship.

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Author details

Bongiorno, Frank