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

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?

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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 is joined by Zoe Laidlaw, Professor of History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at University of Melbourne. Together they interrogate the process of recording the past and ask what needs to change to stop history from repeating itself.

The annual E. W. Cole Lecture invites Australia’s brightest thinkers to deliver talks that spark optimistic, progressive and future-thinking ideas for our society and our world, and celebrate the fruitful intersection of intellect and play.


Supported by The E. W. Cole Foundation.

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