ACU historian shortlisted for Ernest Scott Prize

ACU historian Professor Noah Riseman has been shortlisted for the Ernest Scott Prize for his book Pride in Defence: The Australian Military & LGBTI Service since 1945.

The book, written with Shirleene Robinson and published by Melbourne University Press, is one of only six books from a list of 67 shortlisted for the prize.

The Ernest Scott Prize for History is awarded annually to the book judged to be the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation published in the previous year.

The judges’ citation reads: “Pride in Defence is a disturbing and powerful book, showing how conservative institutions work and change – especially those shaped on gendered ideologies in the midst of intense social pressure. It explains the process of change in such institutions which, although separate from their wider societies, are nevertheless regarded as emblematic and admirable.

“The authors draw meticulously on archival research and extensive oral history interviews with both men and women, officers and troops. Pride in Defence does not see the military as isolated from but as interacting with general culture and politics. So, as homosexuality became more visible and more tolerated in line with the growing public liberalisation during the 1970s-90s, military and political figures insisted that the military had adopted a policy of ‘sympathy’ and ‘discretion’. Yet the result in practice was intensifying repression and stigmatising witch-hunts with demands to ‘name names’, all in the interests of ‘discretion’ or ‘sympathy’.

“Pride in Defence is a disturbing and powerful book, showing how conservative institutions work and change – especially those shaped on gendered ideologies in the midst of intense social pressure. It explains the process of change in such institutions which, although separate from their wider societies, are nevertheless regarded as emblematic and admirable.

“The authors draw meticulously on archival research and extensive oral history interviews with both men and women, officers and troops. Pride in Defence does not see the military as isolated from but as interacting with general culture and politics. So, as homosexuality became more visible and more tolerated in line with the growing public liberalisation during the 1970s-90s, military and political figures insisted that the military had adopted a policy of ‘sympathy’ and ‘discretion’. Yet the result in practice was intensifying repression and stigmatising witch-hunts with demands to ‘name names’, all in the interests of ‘discretion’ or ‘sympathy’.

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