Among the topics examined duringthe course are: the character of American and Australian historiography and relateddebates; the relations between European settlers and native inhabitants; thefabrication and function of pioneer legends; the role of religion in shaping politicaland social discourses; the meaning and experience of war at home and abroad; andthe problem of national identity in a pluralist society.
The United States of America and Australia share common roots for having beenfounded by British outcasts and having experienced British colonial rule. It was nota fortuitous coincidence that the attainment of America’s independence in theXVIII century concurred with the decision of the British Government to establish apenal colony in Terra Australis in 1788. While American independence and its Republican Constitution eventuated by means of war and violent conflict, Australiawas able to attain its political independence, although maintaining a symbolicconstitutional link with Britain, by peaceful means. Both countries developed intosuccessful democracies, although underpinned by different constitutionalarrangements, and both host multicultural and pluralistsocieties.
In the course of the subject students will explore the political and social dynamics which led to the development of two distinctive democracies and pluralist societies,and to the emergence of two distinct western national identities.They will assess how the different historical experiences and the colonial legacy of the twocountries prompted the conceptualisation and structuring of distinct discourses regarding freedom, opportunity and equality.
The course will be articulated in a set of daily lectures alternately delivered byAmerican and Australian lecturers and will involve two days of fieldwork inCanberra, the Australian Federal Capital established in 1910, where they will visitthe Australian War Memorial, Parliament House, the Australian National Museumand the American Monument.