The stories we tell about war allow us to grapple with extreme and overwhelming experiences, to celebrate great sacrifices and condemn atrocities. But how do these shared mythologies form, and where should the line be drawn between what is deserving of commemoration and what is best left forgotten? What wartime stories remain untold, and why?
The latest Griffith REVIEW draws together distinguished soldiers, military historians, academics and popular writers in a collection that goes against the grain of popular war narratives — uncovering the multifaceted legacies of people typically omitted from our commemoration of the wars of the twentieth century, and providing new insights, graphic portraits and telling analyses of their consequences. Contributor David Carlin recalls a lifelong family friendship forged by his grandfather and an Italian PoW; Joy Damousi explores the lingering war memories of the Greek diaspora in Australia, while Jeannine Baker illuminates the often unrecognised contributions of women to war reporting and combat journalism.
Carlin, Damousi and Baker will join Griffith REVIEW editor Julianne Schultz for a discussion about how conflict has shaped modern Australia at various levels — and how can we understand them more fully.
(Painting: Ben Quilty, Troy Park, after Afghanistan 2012, courtesy of Ben Quilty and Jan Murphy Gallery)
Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is the founding editor of Griffith Review. Professor Schultz is a member of the Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research and sits on the editorial board of the Conversation. She is an acclaimed author of several books, including Reviving the Fourth Estate (Cambridge) and Steel City Blues (Penguin), and the librettos to the operas Black River and Going Into Shadows. She became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and the community in 2009 and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities the following year.
David Carlin is author of The Abyssinian Contortionist and co-directs the nonfictionLab as an associate professor at RMIT.
Joy Damousi is a Professor of History at University of Melbourne.
Jeannine Baker is a historian and documentary maker, and is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University.