Publication Details

Crozier-De Rosa, S. and Lowe, D. (2013). Introduction: Nationalism and transnationalism in Australian historical writing. History Australia, 10 (3), 1.

Link to publisher version (URL)

History Australia – Monash University


One of the strongest trends in Australian historical writing over the last two decades has been a drive to emphasise the nation’s connectedness with the rest of the world. Across a range of historical genres and topics, we have seen a new enthusiasm to explore entanglements between Australian history and that of other places and peoples. The history of travel has been an important contributor to this line of inquiry, but it is at the more intellectual, imaginative and emotional levels that the greatest gains are sometimes claimed for the study of what has become known as ‘transnationalism’. This trend to emphasise international networks in history has been drawn on by historians in the essays that follow. It reflects and contributes to an international flourishing of histories emphasising mobility in the context of empires and globalisation. But where does this leave the idea of ‘the nation’ as a factor in thinking through post-white settlement Australian history? And are some of the claims made for the explanatory impact of transnationalism exaggerated? In a recent article on the ‘transgressive transnationalism’ of Griffith Taylor, Carolyn Strange nodded to the ‘path-breaking’ recent works of Australian historians who have led a ‘transnational turn’, but her conclusion was partly corrective: ‘whether or not transnational thinking was transgressive, strategic or otherwise in the past, and whether or not our historical subjects were progressive or regressive are questions for contextual analysis, in which the nation will continue to matter’.