Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/36060
Type: Conference paper
Title: The "West" versus the "Rest": Australian exceptionalism and John Howard's "War on Terror"
Author: McCarthy, G.
Citation: Proceedings of the Australasian Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Newcastle, New South Wales, 25 -27 September 2006 [online resource]: pp. www 1-10
Publisher: University of Newcastle
Publisher Place: Australia
Issue Date: 2006
Conference Name: Australasian Political Studies Association Conference (2006 : Newcastle, New South Wales)
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Greg McCarthy
Abstract: In his National Press Club Speech, on the eve of Australia Day, Prime Minister Howard used the term “postmodernism” to lambast the teaching of History in schools. He claimed it was but theme and issue based lacking a “a structured narrative”(Howard, 25 March 2006). He asserted that postmodernism went against the “objective record” of Australian historic “achievements” based on the “Enlightenment” (Howard, 25 March 2006). Soon after, in a talkback radio interview, he linked this critic of postmodernism to the teaching of English literature in New South Wales and Western Australia schools. He said that, in these States, the English curriculum had succumbed to “political correctness” and the “gobbledegook” of “postmodern relativism” (Howard, 20 April, 2006). The paper will argue that the Prime Minister’s ideological campaign against relativism is not some ill-founded exercise to knock down a postmodern straw man. Rather the paper will place his criticism of postmodernism in a post 9/11 context, where dissent is being suppressed under a Western Enlightenment teleology. A final cultural purpose, clearly articulated by President George W Bush, when he said that there are only two positions allowed, “either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.” The aim of Prime Minister Howard’s campaign is to reproduce the Bush binary in Australia, deliberately seeking not just to debate but also to exclude those who maintain critical views on state policy and civic culture.
RMID: 0020062468
Appears in Collections:Politics publications

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