While an extensive debate has recently addressed more contemporary contributions to historical scholarship, the historiographical background to Australia's History Wars has rarely been appraised. This article proposes an interpretative narrative of the evolution of Aboriginal history during the 1970s and 1980s. While before the late 1960s a systematic historiography of Aboriginal-white relations did not exist, these decades have witnessed the emergence and consolidation of Aboriginal history as an established academic discipline. The 1970s saw the 'detection' of Aboriginal persistence and resistance and the historiographical tradition established during this decade insisted on the contested nature of the invasion process. Conversely, during the 1980s, an interpretative tradition stressing Indigenous agency, transformation and adaptation shifted the focus of historiographical attention.
Australian Journal of Politics and History,
Vol. 52, no. 3 (Sep 2006), pp. 439-454