Bigotry Australian Style

Image Credit: J. C. W. Adams, “Asylum Seekers Protesting at Villawood Detention Centre”
Image Credit: J. C. W. Adams, “Asylum Seekers Protesting at Villawood Detention Centre”, (This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.)

Bigotry is an endemic feature of Australian life. From the arrival of Europeans in 1788 through to today, intolerance based on an array of grounds including race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and disability have ruptured community relations and harmed those people subject to prejudice and discrimination. This presentation discusses the historical experience of bigotry in Australia and asks whether a general understanding can be developed that helps account for the experiences of groups most subjected to bigotry in Australian life. It contends that knowledge of the historical experience of bigotry is critical to informing our thinking and decision-making in the present, not because the past is a reliable guide to present action but because the perspective of history helps us better understand our lives and our communities and work towards repairing the wounds of bigotry.

Malcolm Campbell is Professor of History at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where he teaches Irish and Australian history and the history of empire. A graduate of the University of New South Wales, he has published widely on the history of Irish emigration and settlement in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific. His most recent book is the transnational study Ireland's Farthest Shores: Mobility, Migration, and Settlement in the Pacific World, published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2022. Campbell has held visiting appointments at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Liverpool, and the Australian National University. His current research project focuses on the history of bigotry in Australia.


Date & time

Tue 07 Nov 2023, 10.15–11.15am


Baldessin Precinct Building, Level 4


Professor Malcolm Campbell, University of Auckland



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