Book review of "Spinning the Dream: Assimilation in Australia 1950-1970" by Anna Haebich, Monash University Press, Victoria
McGregor, Russell (2008) Book review of "Spinning the Dream: Assimilation in Australia 1950-1970" by Anna Haebich, Monash University Press, Victoria. History Australia, 5 (3). 93.1-93.3.
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This book is a welcome addition to the small but growing body of historical studies of assimilation in Australia. Primarily an empirically-based study of assimilation policies during their ascendancy in the 1950s and 1960s, Anna Haebich explains that it is also intended as a riposte to what she terms ‘retro-assimilation’: the nostalgic recreation of those decades as a time of assimilated nationhood,‘of simpler times when we were one nation, united by race, culture and our dreams of Dad, Mum and the kids nestled cosily in our suburban homes’ (9). This fantasy, she argues,has infected many recent debates over policy toward Indigenous and other minorities. Its fallacy is the characteristic fallacy of reactionary ideologies: it mistakes the hopes and ideals of the past for the lived reality of the past. Australia was not an assimilated nation in the 1950s and 1960s; that’s why programs were implemented to make it so. Whatever the shortcomings of assimilation – and Haebich suggests that they were many – in the 1950s and 1960s it was a future-orientated project, unlike its insipid ‘retro’ namesake which seeks solutions to today’s problems in superficial imaginings of the past.
|Item Type:||Article (Book Review)|
This item does not have an abstract. The first paragraph of the review is displayed as the abstract.
|Keywords:||Aboriginal assimilation; Aborigines - politics and governance; immigration policy, Australia|
|FoR Codes:||21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History @ 70%|
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) @ 30%
|SEO Codes:||95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%|
|Deposited On:||11 May 2010 10:00|
|Last Modified:||26 Mar 2013 14:24|
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