Journal article

Keeping the Nation’s Secrets: “Colonial Storytelling” within Australian Families

Ashley Barnwell

Journal of Family History | SAGE Publications


Recent studies of the genealogy craze focus on how family historians appeal to ancestors to fashion their own identities, but practicing family history can also be a form of national identity-work. In this paper I explore how Larissa Behrendt’s notion of “colonial storytelling” might apply to the hi/stories told within families, as they seek to reproduce or challenge inherited narratives of settler colonialism. To do this, I analyze a sample of self-published family histories of “settlement” held at the National Library of Australia. With close attention to family historians’ books, I consider how genealogical research can revise the collective memories that shape both familial and national ..

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