Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Rubenstein and Henderson on Woman Citizenship in Australian Archives

Kim Rubenstein and Andrew Henderson, Australian National University, have posted Record and Recollection: Women’s Active Citizenship and National Archives, which appears in Law & History 6 (2019): 98-124:
Postmodern theories of the development of archival collections argue that archives created and administered under executive power often exclude voices and accounts outside the mainstream. These critiques are generally directed towards the absence of life experiences outside the purview of the central activities of the state. However, there is little empirical testing of how women’s active contributions within the concerns of government activity are recorded. This article tracks two events, recorded in the oral histories of two women lawyers collected as part of the Trailblazing Women and the Law Project, through the records of the National Archives of Australia (NAA). Its purpose is to start investigating how well these women, who have been active citizens, are ‘recorded’ in the formal national memory. It highlights the importance of undertaking further research to determine how well the NAA, as a state-run archive, represents women’s active citizenship in its telling of Australian legal history.
--Dan Ernst