We’re All Culturalists Now. "Cultural History in Australia" by Hsu-Ming Teo and Richard White. [review]
The essays in this collection find culture in literature, gardens, landscape, tourism, social distinctions, racial and ethnic identities, memories, psychology and much else. Cultural studies proceed from the postessentialist conviction that these and other subjects offer richer insights than those found in state institutions or the structures of economic and social life. Cultural history, as a method, reshapes older forms of history. It takes national history as a comparatively recent phenomenon in Australia, and calls for a new transnational history that can embrace the networks of power and influence that transcend the nation. In what sense are these fine case studies exercises in cultural history? In their subject matter, they could be reshuffled into collections on social, oral and women’s history without losing any of their effect. In their search for new levels of meaning, their concern for cultural identity and their reconfiguration of race, nation, space, gender and subjectivity, they are practising cultural history.