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Issue Details: First known date: 2021... 2021 Where Are the Great Women? A Feminist Analysis of Australian Political Biographies
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'As women have become more visible in the Australian political sphere, the volume of writing about their lives, careers and experiences has also increased. This has brought to light certain challenges and shortcomings, as well as enduring discursive biases in the existing literature. Political history, for example, and especially political biography, has generally ‘privileged the political activities of men and masculine political institutions’, telling the stories of so-called Great Men while excluding those who do not traditionally belong to this cohort. Any attempt to summarise the current state of biographies written on Australian political women and to assess the extent to which these can be improved must therefore address several overlapping lines of inquiry, the four most fundamental of which have been chosen for discussion in this article. First, I will provide an overview of the institutional and discursive masculine biases of political biographies in general. Second, I will outline the state of biographies written on women politicians, noting the lack of such texts and an increasing turn towards autobiography. Third, I compare two recent biographies on women politicians—Anna Broinowski’s Please Explain (2017) and Margaret Simons’s Penny Wong (2019)—to demonstrate how a tendency towards excessive personalisation can become problematic. Lastly, by exploring feminist approaches to political biography, I provide a working definition of feminist political biography and propose a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ for those political biographers who seek to develop a more inclusive model.' (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Australian Journal of Biography and History no. 5 August 2021 22891020 2021 periodical issue

    'This special issue of the Australian Journal of Biography and History focuses on political biography. The 10 peer-reviewed articles and review essays collectively demonstrate that political biography is growing beyond just ‘one damned life after another’, and that there are new and productive paths open for practitioners, readers and critics of this genre. They offer a critical snapshot of the diverse approaches and attitudes to political biography in contemporary Australia.'  (Publication abstract)

    pg. 23-37
Last amended 2 Sep 2021 10:08:37
23-37 Where Are the Great Women? A Feminist Analysis of Australian Political Biographiessmall AustLit logo Australian Journal of Biography and History
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