Stuart Macintyre

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Stuart Forbes Macintyre AO (born 21 April 1947), Australian historian, academic and public intellectual, is a former Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne. He has been voted one of Australia's most influential public intellectuals[1]

Early life and education[edit]

The son of Forbes Macintyre and Alison Stevens Macintyre, Stuart Macintyre was born in Melbourne. His schooling took place at Scotch College, and later at the University of Melbourne. While an undergraduate he specialised in history, and obtained his bachelor's degree in 1968. He also holds a Master of Arts degree from Monash University (1971) and a PhD from the University of Cambridge (1975), for which he was awarded the Blackwood Prize. In 1976 he married Martha Bruton [1], a social anthropologist.

While a postgraduate student at Monash in the early 1970s, Macintyre joined the Left Tendency faction of the Communist Party of Australia, this faction being particularly strong at that campus. His CPA membership lapsed while he was studying in the United Kingdom, and on returning to Australia he joined the Australian Labor Party. He now considers himself to be a democratic socialist. As an historian he identifies with the tradition of labour historians, such as Henry Pelling, who was his doctoral supervisor in Britain.

Academic career[edit]

Macintyre has had a long academic career both within Australia and internationally. From 1977 to 1978, Macintyre was a research fellow at St John's College at the University of Cambridge. He returned to Australia in 1979 as a lecturer at Murdoch University in Perth, and the following year returned to Melbourne, where he lectured at the University of Melbourne until 1981. For a brief subsequent period - 1982-83 - he was a research fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra, and in 1984 he was promoted to Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne.

Beginning in 1988, Macintyre served as a reader in history at the University of Melbourne. Three years later he became professor, and was given the Ernest Scott chair in history. He was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts in 1999. In 2002 he was made a Laureate Professor of the University of Melbourne. Macintyre has also been a visiting scholar or fellow at Griffith University (1986), the University of Canterbury, New Zealand (1988), the University of Western Australia (1988), the Australian National University (1991) and the University of Otago, New Zealand (1992).

From 1987 to 1996, Macintyre was a member of the Council of the National Library of Australia (NLA) and from 1989 to 1998, a member of the Council of the State Library of Victoria (SLV). He also served as chairperson of the Humanities and Creative Arts Panel of the Australian Research Council (ARC) in 2003. Recently, Macintyre has been outspoken about the actions of former federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson, who personally vetoed several ARC grants which had already been approved by the ARC's peer review process.[2]

Macintyre finished a second term as the Dean of Arts in mid-2006. For the 2007-8 academic year he holds the Harvard Chair of Australian Studies, retaining his academic appointment at Melbourne. He is President of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.


As a historian Macintyre has been prolific. He has published numerous books, including a history of Marxism in the United Kingdom in the early 20th century,[3] based on his doctoral thesis, a history of the labour movement in Australia,[4], and Reds, this last being a history of the CPA.[5]

Perhaps his most widely known work is The History Wars (with Anna Clark),[6] a study of the history wars, a public debate about the recent interpretation of various aspects of the history of Australia. The book was launched by former Prime Minister of Australia Paul Keating, who took the opportunity to criticise conservative views of Australian history, and those who hold them (such as the then current Prime Minister John Howard), saying that they suffered from "a failure of imagination", and said that The History Wars "rolls out the canvas of this debate."[7]

Macintyre's critics, such as Greg Melluish (History Lecturer at the University of Wollongong), responded to the book by declaring that Macintyre was a partisan history warrior himself, and that "its primary arguments are derived from the pro-Communist polemics of the Cold War."[8] Keith Windschuttle said that Macintyre attempted to "caricature the history debate" but failed to explain what he meant.[9] Windschuttle has also accused Macintyre of harbouring "a deep distaste" for Australia's British heritage and has criticised Macintyre's involvement in the academic attack against Geoffrey Blainey during the so-called "Blainey affair".[10]

In a foreword to The History Wars, former Chief Justice of Australia Sir Anthony Mason said that the book was "a fascinating study of the recent endeavours to rewrite or reinterpret the history of European settlement in Australia."[11]



  • Macintyre, Stuart (1980). A proletarian science: Marxism in Britain, 1917-1933. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22621-X. 
  • — (1986). The Oxford History of Australia, Volume 4, 1901-1942: The Succeeding Age. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-553518-9. 
  • — (1989). The Labour Experiment. McPhee Gribble. ISBN 0-86914-057-4. 
  • — (1999). The Reds: the Communist Party of Australia from origins to illegality. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-180-9. 
  • Macintyre, Stuart; Clark, Anna (2003). The History Wars. Melbourne University Publishing. ISBN 0-522-85091-X. 

Book reviews[edit]

Date Review article Work(s) reviewed
2011 Macintyre, Stuart (September 2011). "Until the fat man sings". Australian Book Review 334: 16–17. 
  • Dyrenfurth, Nick. Heroes & villains : the rise and fall of the early Australian Labor Party. Australian Scholarly Publishing. ISBN 9781921875007. 
  • Dyrenfurth, Nick; Bongiorno, Frank. A little history of the Australian Labor Party. New South. ISBN 9781742232843. 


Macintyre has received many awards, including the Premier of Victoria's Literary Award for Australian Studies in 1986, for his work in authoring the fourth volume of the Oxford History of Australia,[12] and the Redmond Barry Award from the Australian Library and Information Association in 1997, in recognition of his work with the NLA and SLV. His book The Reds won The Age Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award in 1998. The History Wars won the 2004 Premier of New South Wales' Australian History Prize.[13]

On 26 January 2011, Macintyre was named an Officer of the Order of Australia.[14]


  1. ^ "The Australian". 4 October 2006. [dead link]
  1. ^ Macintyre, Stuart (16 November 2005). "Research floored by full Nelson". Melbourne: The Age. 
  2. ^ Macintyre, Stuart (1980). A proletarian science: Marxism in Britain, 1917-1933. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22621-X. 
  3. ^ Macintyre, Stuart (1989). The Labour Experiment. Melbourne: McPhee Gribble. ISBN 0-86914-057-4. 
  4. ^ Macintyre, Stuart (1999). The Reds: the Communist Party of Australia from origins to illegality. St Leonards, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-180-9. 
  5. ^ ^ Macintyre, Stuart & Clark, Anna (2003). The History Wars. Carlton: Melbourne University Publishing. ISBN 0-522-85091-X. 
  6. ^ Keating, Paul (5 September 2003). "Keating's "History Wars"". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  7. ^ "Book Reviews" (http). Policy - Centre for Independent Studies. Retrieved 6 February 2006. [dead link]
  8. ^ Jones, Tony (3 September 2003). "Authors in history debate". Lateline. 
  9. ^ Windschuttle, Keith (8 October 2008). "Stuart Macintyre and the Blainey Affair" (http). Quadrant. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Macintyre, Stuart & Clark, Anna (2003). The History Wars. Carlton: Melbourne University Publishing. ISBN 0-522-85091-X. 
  11. ^ Macintyre, Stuart (1986). The Oxford History of Australia, Volume 4, 1901-1942: The Succeeding Age. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-553518-9. 
  12. ^ "History Awards" (http). NSW Ministry for the Arts. Archived from the original on 28 January 2006. Retrieved 6 February 2006. 
  13. ^ Hare, Julie (26 January 2011). "Australia Day honours list goes Melbourne's way". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  14. "Professor Stuart Macintyre: Academic Profile" (http). Department of History, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne. Retrieved 4 January 2007. 
  15. Macintyre, Stuart (2003). "The history wars" (http). Evatt Foundation. Retrieved 5 February 2006.