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Graeme Davison - Listen, Our Ancestors!

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Event description

Listen, Our Ancestors! Family History and the Lure of the Deep Past

Family history is the oldest kind of history and still the most popular. Thanks to the advent of DNA analysis and the digital revolution, thousands of ordinary people now pursue the pleasant sport of ancestor hunting. Why do they do it and what do they expect to find at the end of the trail? As a critical observer of how Australians use the past, Graeme Davison has long been interested in understanding the family history boom, but only in retirement did he research his own family history. In Lost Relations (2015) and My Grandfather’s Clock (2023) he reflects on the intersections between family history and national history and investigates such topics as the significance of heirlooms, the value of DNA and the digital archive, travelling the land and searching for the ‘deep past’. In the process, he also finds a different authorial voice, one that blends the critical methods of the historian and the search for personal identity.

Graeme Davison is Emeritus Sir John Monash Distinguished Professor of History at Monash University. He is best known for his writing on Australian urban and social history where his books include The Rise and Fall of Marvellous Melbourne (1978 and 2005), The Unforgiving Minute (1994), Car Wars (2005) and City Dreamers (2016).

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