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The E.W. Cole Lecture: Who Gets to Write History?


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Who gets to write history? For the second annual E.W. Cole Lecture, historian and author Santilla Chingaipe questions how history is recorded, by whom, and what other histories may be erased in the process.

About the Event

Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with saying that ‘history is a set of lies agreed upon.’ But whose lies are they? And who agreed upon them?

For the second annual E.W. Cole Lecture, presented as part of the Wheeler Centre’s Spring Fling, historian and author Santilla Chingaipe asks, ‘who gets to write history?’

Drawing on her work exploring settler colonialism, slavery, and post-colonial migration in Australia, Chingaipe scrutinises the process of writing history, questioning what is considered historical truth and whose histories may be erased as a result.

Following a thought-provoking address, Chingaipe will be joined by Zoe Laidlaw, Professor of History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at University of Melbourne. Together they will interrogate the process of recording the past and ask what needs to change to stop history from repeating itself.

Supported by The E. W. Cole Foundation.


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About Spring Fling

Spring Fling returns in 2023, and this year we’re going Above and Beyond.

We’re looking further, delving deeper, and asking bigger questions with outstanding thinkers who are reshaping our world and envisioning extraordinary futures.

Spring Fling is supported by the Victorian State Government.


The E. W. Cole Lecture Series


Santilla Chingaipe

Santilla Chingaipe is a filmmaker, historian and author, whose work explores settler colonialism, slavery, and post-colonial migration in Australia. Chingaipe’s first book of non-fiction detailing the untold stories of convicts of African descent is forthcoming, and the critically acclaimed and aw... Read more

Zoe Laidlaw

Zoë Laidlaw is Professor of History at the University of Melbourne. She grew up in western Victoria and completed Honours degrees in Arts and Science at the University of Melbourne, and a doctorate in History at the University of Oxford. Having worked at the University of Sheffield, and Royal Hollo... Read more


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