The Rise Of Identity Politics: History In Australian Universities

Written by:
17 October 2017
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History undergraduates are not being taught about the history and substance of Western Civilisation, according to a new Institute of Public Affairs report The Rise of Identity Politics: An Audit of History Teaching at Australian Universities, authored by Dr Bella d’Abrera, Director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program at the Institute of Public Affairs.

The report systematically reviews the 746 history courses offered across 35 Australian universities in 2017. It finds that undergraduate history degrees in Australia have become dominated by identity politics – where subjects are reduced to class, gender and race – to the detriment of important teachings on Western Civilisation.

“The prevalence of such divisions on campus, born from the dangerous ideology of identity politics now being taught in humanities departments clearly signals the decline of history as an academic discipline in Australia” said Dr d’Abrera.

“Academics, including historians, have become obsessed with what divides Australia, rather than what unites us. Is it any wonder when the new generation of campus activists work to such a predictable script reducing all arguments to oppression based on identity, when this is all they are fed from the day they enrol?”

“The most frequently employed words in the subjects descriptions of all 746 undergraduate subjects reflect the fact that history as an academic discipline is not just in decline but has been commandeered by the proponents of a left-wing cultural theory.”

“The most commonly employed words in the subject descriptions reflect the shift in focus from studying history from the point of view of significant historical periods and events, to studying history on the basis of identity,” said Dr d’Abrera.

A survey of the titles and descriptions of all 746 subjects, reveals that there are significantly higher occurrences of ‘Indigenous’ ‘Race’, ‘Gender’, ‘Environment’. ‘Identity’, and ‘Sexuality’ than there are ‘Enlightenment’ or the ‘Reformation.’ There are more occurrences of ‘Islam’ than ‘Christianity.’

“The findings have also revealed that the most commonly offered subjects by 35 universities are Ancient Greece and Rome at one end of the historical spectrum and the Twentieth Century at the other. This effectively means that the events which took place in the intervening two and a half millennia of the history of Western Civilisation are ignored” said the IPA’s Dr Bella d’Abrera.

“Australian society owes its prosperity and success to the developments and achievements of Western Civilisation.”

“Western Civilisation subjects, including British history, are uniquely capable of introducing students to the values and institutions like liberal democracy and the rule of law which we have inherited in Australia.”

“Students are not being given the opportunity to learn about and understand that these are the essential features of our free society which are not only their inheritance but which also need to be preserved for future generations.”

“There are just two Western Civilisation subjects available to undergraduate students from amongst the 746 subjects offered by 35 Australian universities and these are offered by Federation University and the University of Notre Dame” said Dr. d’Abrera.

To download the report click here

To download the media release click here

For media and comment: Evan Mulholland, Media and Communications Manager, on 0405 140 780, or at [email protected]

Watch Dr Bella d’Abrera discuss the report with IPA Director of Policy, Simon Breheny, here:

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