Back in Fashion? Economic History and the ‘New Materialism’ in the Writing of Australian History

Kate Darian-Smith, Penelope Edmonds

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


This issue of Australian Historical Studies opens with two articles that discuss the state of economic history in Australia. In their important overview, Simon Ville and Claire Wright argue that following ‘years in the wilderness, economic history is back in fashion’. Australian universities after World War II established separate departments of economic history, with the discipline serving to connect the social sciences and humanities. But over time, a rift occurred. As economic historians sought greater intellectual integration with mainstream economics, the ‘cultural turn’ took Australian historians in other directions. The closure of university economic history units in the 1990s and the impact of global economic events have, however, led to a revival of economic history. Ville and Wright trace these developments, and show how millennium economic history derives its strength through an interdisciplinary approach, including engagement with the digital humanities and the use of big data. Their prognosis for the future of economic history in Australia is optimistic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-151
Number of pages3
JournalAustralian Historical Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • economic history
  • fashion
  • Victorian goldfields history


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