26 June 1942 |
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
|Alma mater||University of Queensland (B.A (Hons.))|
|Occupation||Public Intellectual, Labour Historian|
|Awards||Literature Board, Australia Council (1975,1979-1980,1998)
Humphrey Dennis McQueen (born 26 June 1942) is an Australian socialist historian and cultural commentator. He is associated with the development of the Australian New Left, as a political activist and public intellectual. His most iconic work A New Britannia  gained notoriety for challenging the dominant approach to Australian history developed by the Old Left. He has written books on history, the media, politics and the visual arts.
Early Life and Academic Career
McQueen was born in Brisbane to a working-class family that were active in the Australian Labor Party. He was educated at Marist College Ashgrove, and later edited the Queensland Young Labor newsletter. He completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours at the University of Queensland in 1965. McQueen was an active participant in the anti-Vietnam War movement in Australia, campaigning against conscription as chairman of the Melbourne-based Revolutionary Socialist Group in 1968. His organisational engagement shaped his interest in Maoist and Gramscian theory, influencing his subsequent historical work. From 1966-1969 he was employed as a teacher at Glen Waverley High, Victoria. In 1970, He moved to Canberra, where he taught Australian history at the Australian National University from 1970-1974  It was there that he met and befriended the historian, Manning Clark.
Convicts and Rebels
McQueen’s early academic writing was intent on dispelling the approaches to labour history generated by the Australian Old Left, especially Russel Ward's The Australian Legend. His critique was first developed in Convicts and Rebels, in which McQueen contested the Australian Whig history  associated with the Old Left. As he argued:
"Ward uses class to mean nothing more than that group of people who came to the colony as convicts and ignores all social and national divisions within this category. It is misleading to clothe the convicts in the aura of class struggle since for its first fifty years Australia did not have a class structure, but only a deformed stratification which had itself been vomited up by the maelstrom which was delineating class in Britain. If a class formula must be given to the majority of the convicts it must be lumpen-proletariat or petit- bourgeoisie” McQueen, 1968
In the article, McQueen doubted the authenticity of a democratic and egalitarian tradition emanating from Australia’s convict history. He challenged the egalitarian aspect of the tradition, highlighting the prominence of racism in convict society.
A New Britannia
In 1970, McQueen wrote A New Britannia, an historical analysis of the emergence and development of the Australian labour movement. It influentially  argued that the history of the Australian labour movement, from colonisation to Australian federation (1788-1901), should be understood as an extension of Imperialism  within the British Empire. The argument challenged existing account of the labour movement emerging from the Australian Old Left, which had mythologised the nation-building and democratic nature of the movement. In seeking to challenge accounts of Australian history presented in the Old Left, McQueen established the grounds to contest the Whig tradition in Australian scholarship. He identified that British imperialism cannot be separated from the experience of capitalism in Australia, and that Australian identity should be reconsidered in light of the role that racism and Patriarchy had played in development of the Australian labour movement. Together with an application of British New Left theorists, Perry Anderson  and Tom Nairn, the approach redefined the nature of Australian historical enquiry, which would prove to be influential in the discipline of history.
Receptions of the book were mixed. Terry Irving in reviewing A New Britannia, highlighted the work’s theoretical legacy, but also the need to produce a more developed theoretical engagement. He stated that A New Britannia “Will provoke angry discussion, but I hope it will also provoke the new left to develop the methodology necessary to write a new history”. This observation would influence the development of another hallmark of the Australian New Left, Class Structure in Australian History.
||A New Britannia: An Argument Concerning the Social Origins of Australian Radicalism, 1971 ISBN 0-14-021314-7; 2nd edition 1976, 1978, 1980 ISBN 0-14-021904-8; Revised edition 1986 ISBN 0-14-010126-8; 4th edition 2004 ISBN 0-7022-3439-7.||Penguin|
||Aborigines, Race and Racism, Penguin, 1974, 1976 ISBN 0-14-080774-8||Penguin|
||Australia's Media Monopolies, Widescope, 1977, 1978,1981 ISBN 0-86932-017-3||Widescope|
||Social Sketches of Australia: 1888-1975 Penguin, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1986 ISBN 0-14-004435-3||Penguin|
||The Black Swan of Trespass: The Emergence of Modernist Painting in Australia to 1944, APCOL, 1979 ISBN 0-909188-12-2||APCOL|
||Gone Tomorrow: Australia into the 1980s, Angus and Roberson, 1983 ISBN 0-207-14610-1||Angus and Roberson|
||Windows onto Worlds, Report of the Committee to Review Australian Studies in Tertiary Education, Co-authored with Kay Daniels and Bruce Bennett. AGPS, 1987 ISBN 0-642-11866-3||AGPS|
||Suburbs of the Sacred, Transforming Australian Beliefs and Values, Penguin, 1988, 269pp. ISBN 0-14-010457-7||Penguin|
||Gallipoli to Petrov: Arguing with Australian History, Allen & Unwin,1989 ISBN 0-86861-199-9 (hardback) ISBN 0-86861-207-3 (paperback)||Allen & Unwin|
||Social Sketches of Australia: 1888-1988, Penguin, 1991 ISBN 0-14-012232-X||Penguin|
||Japan to the Rescue, Australian Security Around the Indonesian Archipelago during the American Century, Heinemann, 1992 ISBN 0-85561-402-1||Heinemann|
||Tokyo World, An Australian Diary, Heinemann, 1992 ISBN 0-85561-412-9||Heinemann|
||Tom Roberts, Macmillan, 1996 ISBN 0-7329-0835-3||Macmillan Publishers|
||Suspect History: Manning Clark and the Future of Australian History, Wakefield, 1997 ISBN 1-86254-410-7||Wakefield|
||Temper Democratic: How Exceptional is Australia?, Wakefield 1998 ISBN 1-86254-466-2||Wakefield|
||The Essence of Capitalism, The Origins of our Future, Sceptre, 2001 ISBN 0-7336-0940-6; United Kingdom edition, Profile, London, 2001 ISBN 1-86197-098-6; North American edition, Black Rose, Montreal, 2003 ISBN 1-55164-220-4||Black Rose Books|
||Social Sketches of Australia: 1888 to 2001, University of Queensland Press, 2004, ISBN 0-7022-3440-0||University of Queensland Press|
||Framework of Flesh: Builders’ Labourers Battle for Health and Safety, Ginninderra Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-74027-545-3||Ginninderra Press|
||Men of Flowers, with Peter Lyssiotis and Wayne Stock, Masterthief, 2010, ISBN ||Fryer Folios|
||We Built This Country: Builders’ Labourers and Their Unions, 1787 to the Future, Ginninderra Press, 2011 ISBN 978-1-74027-697-9||Ginninderra Press|
- "abiography". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
- Williams-Brooks, Llewellyn (2016). "Radical Theories of Capitalism in Australia", Honours Thesis, University of Sydney, viewed 20 April 2017,
- McQueen, H 1970/2004, A New Britannia, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, p.31
- Bongiorno, F 2008, “Two Radical Legends: Russel Ward, Humphrey McQueen and the New Left Challenge in Australian Historiography”, Journal of Australian Colonial History, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 201–222.
- Gould, Bob (2004) 'The Life and Work of Humphrey McQueen: Never Trust Tories Bearing Gifts', Ozleft, viewed 20 April 2017
- Men of Flowers, with Peter Lyssiotis and Wayne Stock, Masterthief, 2010,
- "Australia and the Vietnam War - Conscription - Moratoriums and Opposition". Retrieved 1 May 2017.
- Pascoe, R 1979, The Manufacture of Australian History, Oxford University Press, Oxford
- Fitzpatrick, B 1944, A Short History of the Australian Labor Movement, Macmillan, Melbourne.
- Turner, I 1965, Industrial Labour and Politics: The Labour Movement in Eastern Australia: 1900–1921, Australian National University, Canberra.
- Ward, R 1958, The Australian Legend, Oxford University Press, Oxford
- McQueen, H 1968, “Convicts and Rebels”, Labour History, Vol. 15, pp. 3–30.
- Martin, A W 1962/2007, The Whig View of Australian History: And Other Essays, Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne.
- Connell, R W 1974, “Images of Australia”, in D E Edgar (ed.) Social Change in Australia: Readings in Sociology, Cheshire Books, Sydney.
- Williams-Brooks, Llewellyn (2016). "Radical Theories of Capitalism in Australia", Honours Thesis, University of Sydney, viewed 20 April 2017, 
- (McQueen, Humphrey, 1970/2004, p.3
- Lenin, V I 1899/1964, The Development of Capitalism in Russia, Progress Publishers, Moscow.
- Anderson, P 1964, “The Origins of the Present Crisis”, New Left Review, Vol. 23, viewed 16 Sep 2016, https://newleftreview.org/I/23/perry-anderson-origins-of-the-present-crisis.
- Nairn, T 1964, “The Nature of the Labour Party”, New Left Review, Vol. 27, No. 38, viewed 29 Sep 2016, https://newleftreview.org/I/27/tom-nairn-the-nature-of-the-labour-party-part-i.
- Irving, T 1970, “Head-Standing”, Bulletin, Dec 12, pp. 55–57
- Irving, T & Connell, R 1979, Class Structure in Australian History, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne.
- Williams-Brooks, Llewellyn (2016). "Radical Theories of Capitalism in Australia", Honours Thesis, University of Sydney, viewed 20 April 2017
- Doyle, Cassie (July 2013). "Can we imagine? Men of flowers" (PDF). Fryer Folios. 8 (1): 10–11. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Website of Humphrey McQueen: Surplus Value
- Radioshow hosted by McQueen: Solidarity Breakfast
- List of McQueen's papers held at the National Library of Australia
- Guardian article by McQueen: healthcare is not a product no matter what neoliberalism has taught us
- Green Left Weekly article: Humphrey McQueen: WikiLeaks and the fight for free speech