Una McIlvenna

Hansen Lecturer in History, University of Melbourne

Una McIlvenna is Hansen Lecturer in History at the University of Melbourne. She is a cultural historian of the early modern period who writes about – and sometimes sings – songs about public execution from the 16th century to the 19th century. She is also a court studies specialist, and is the author of Scandal and Reputation at the Court of Catherine de Medici (2016).

Written by Una McIlvenna

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Old-school news: sensational, moralistic and, above all, sung

Una McIlvenna

This has been a fascinating debate, although I think there are two strands here. One is around bias and how we define it. As a history teacher I explain to my students that, as Tony Reardon has said, we are all biased in that we bring our unique perspective to each incident, whether it be our location, education, gender, skin colour, etc. Growing up in a Catholic family in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, I was aware that the news that was reported on the tv was not the same as the events that had occurred. Not that it was untrue, just that it was incomplete. (And that was the BBC!)

I try to get my students to see not only the bias in the primary sources that they read, making...

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