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Helen Taylor: The People's Historian

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2016

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Extract

Helen Taylor made a unique contribution to the democratisation of history in Queensland. She gave us, in Abraham Lincoln's immortal words, History ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’. In so doing, she loosened the stultifying stranglehold of both schools and universities — history's traditional domain. Since history appeared on the school curriculum, generations of children have undergone the arid and depressing experience of being adjudged ‘not good at history’ because of an inability to memorise a string of meaningless dates. The successful ones who went on to study the subject at university encountered a program that was academic and elitist in both content and purpose. Thought by many to be a worthy successor to the Classics for the training of fine minds, it was for a long time concerned almost exclusively with the activities of governments, the machinery of power in the domestic context and its external manifestations overseas, foreign policy and imperialism. Helen Taylor's notion of history was something very different.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 

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