Each year, the History Council of Victoria presents a public lecture that shares fresh thinking and new evidence on an historical topic.
Details of the 2018 Lecture will be announced on this page when available; click here to find out about the HCV's lectures from 2004 to 2016.
Here is a sound recording of the 2017 Annual Lecture, 'The Craft of History in the Age of Fake News', presented on Tuesday 5 September 2017 by Professor Tom Griffiths AO FAHA of the Australian National University.
LISTEN NOW! If you missed the event, or want to hear the lecture again, you can listen to it via this link:
The 2017 Annual Lecture was hosted in partnership with the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. Professor Griffiths was awarded the University's 2017 Ernest Scott Prize for his book The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their Craft (Black Inc. 2016). The Ernest Scott Prize is awarded annually for the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand, or the history of colonisation.
Professor Griffiths' lecture was both the Ernest Scott Prize lecture and the HCV's Annual Lecture.
Abstract: What is the prospect of history in the age of ‘alternative facts’? Historians have always been important in civil society – we are the great storytellers! But we are also the storytellers who, when the chips are down, are prepared to do the hard work to try to distinguish between truth and lies, between good history and fake news, between facts and their alternatives. We seem to be entering a time when a substantial proportion of people have lost faith in our ability to discern and agree upon a past reality, who don’t even know how one might go about such a task, who don’t understand what might constitute ‘evidence’ or what ‘context’ means. We seem to have lost faith in expertise and even any sense of what it might be based upon. The digital age has levelled and equalised sources and the internet has become a mire of undifferentiated information and opinion. This is a time when anything goes, and when the noisiest prevail. The need for history – for scholarly, balanced, self-critical history – has never been greater.
Presenter: Tom Griffiths AO FAHA is an historian whose books and essays have won prizes in history, science, literature, politics and journalism including the Douglas Stewart Prize, the Eureka Science Book Prize, the Ernest Scott Prize and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History. He is the author of Hunters and Collectors (1996), Forests of Ash: An Environmental History (2001), Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica (2007) and The Art of Time Travel: Historians and their Craft (2016). He is the W K Hancock Professor of History and Director of the Centre for Environmental History at the Australian National University.
Click here to read about the previous lectures presented by the History Council of Victoria.