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Speaker for the dead

Speaker for the dead

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Published by Ash Hibbert
Alistair Thompson
Alistair Thompson

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Published by: Ash Hibbert on Feb 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/16/2013

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Ash Hibbert
http://acoldandlonelystreet.blogspot.com.au/ 
 
Speaker for the dead
 Alistair Thompson
“A
s a historian at Monash University
, it‟s
my role to create more historically informed citizens, and tochallenge the mythical or partial versions of the past that politicians and popular culture puts forth
.”
 
Professor Alistair Thompson‟s job, and
 joy, is to shine a light on our collective past.His book 
 Anzac Memories: living with the legend 
looked at the ways that the experiences of working-class soldiers differed from the Anzac legend.
I
t‟s about the ways
in which these guys dealt with this
sort of „heroic‟ national story which didn‟t really represent parts of their lives.”
The secrecy surrounding
his grandfather‟s return from
World War I inspired his investigations
: “He
came back from the war and was basically pretty damaged.
 
Alistair‟s
family did not receive his early attempts to explore his
grandfather‟s experiences
in publicwell. However, he quickly found that the silence around his grandfather
‟s postwar life
was indicativeof a national phenomenon:
“W
ars can create national legends but they also damage people, and createsecrets and lies.
 By talking about those stories,
“individuals and family members can understand and accept them, and
to start the healing process not only in our own families, but also in Australian society
.”
 Alistair came to Monash from the University of Sussex, where he was a trustee of the MassObservation Archive. The archive is
“an invaluable „anthropology of everyday life‟”
set up in the1930s in Great Britain. He continues to use the extraordinary archive for his teaching here at Monash,as much of it is digitally available online.His recent work has continued to involve listening to voices from the past. His newly released book 
 Moving Stories: An intimate history of four women across two countries
follows immigrants fromGreat Britain after World War II.Photographs and letters of four such migrants form the basis of his book. These women
wrote inextraordinary - and often intimate - detail about everyday life in Australia: about housework, childcare, housing, their relationships, and their kids
.”
 

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