Australia at the end of the 19th century is an especially interesting case for research on encyclopedias. Significant social changes were taking place. For the first time, a national self-image was developed in Australia and on 1 January 1901, the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed in Centennial Park, Sydney. A new nation was born. The nation has something essentially in common with general knowledge: it is not natural, but constructed. In his famous book about nations and nationalism Benedict Anderson argues that the nation is "an imagined political community". I claim that there are connections between the two constructed concepts of 'knowledge' and 'nation'. In this essay, I would like to show that the Australian Encyclopedia, as a container for knowledge, stands under strong suspicion of being propaganda for the new Australian nation.
International Conference on Knowledge Transfer and Organising Systems of Encyclopedias. Proceedings of International Conference on Knowledge Transfer and Organising Systems of Encyclopedias (Prangins, Switzerland 18-27th September, 2007) p. 247-255