Claims history is hijacked don’t cut it but if it wasn’t for academics Aus history would be, history
Conservatives complain the study of history is hijacked by academics who aren’t interested in western civilisation – so Paul Sendziuk (Uni Adelaide) and Martin Crotty (Uni Queensland) asked every ANZ university what they teach. In a comprehensive survey, they separately analyse introductory and advanced courses by content and break out Australian subjects and student data for Group of Eight and other universities.
What they found: The study of race, ethnicity and gender has not replaced the political and military history of the west don’t cut it.
The top five introductory courses by combined enrolment in Australia are Australian, 20th century world history, pre-20th century world history, war-conflict and society and medieval history.
The pattern in upper-level courses is similar, with the top five for enrolments being; war-conflict-and society, Australian, modern Europe, American, theory-ideas-philosophy.
Aus history isn’t popular: But the popularity of Australian history is more apparent than real, due to the number of courses. The average Aus history upper level subject has 49 students, while war and society has 91 and American history, 79. Across the ditch they found, “the teaching of New Zealand and Maori-Pakeha history in New Zealand, in particular is in a precarious position.”
But it should be taught: Sendziuk and Crotty ask, “whether it should be a moral obligation, or an obligation of citizenship, for ANZ history departments/groupings to teach a sufficient number of courses in the histories of their own nations and Indigenous peoples.” Which they then answer; “it is probably fair to say that most academic historians are sympathetic to the teaching of the history of one’s own nation and Indigenous people, regardless of student demand,” they write.