- Charles Sturt University webinar will explore how social and cultural ideas about race inform Australians’ perceptions of the British Royal Family
A Charles Sturt University webinar will examine ideas about the Crown, race, culture and religion, and what these ideas mean for Australians.
The webinar ‘Whiteness, race and the British Royal Family’ at 10am on Saturday 11 September is part of Social Sciences Week 2021 and will be presented by Dr Holly Randell-Moon, Senior Lecturer in the Charles Sturt School of Indigenous Australian Studies.
Dr Randell-Moon said this webinar looks specifically at social and cultural ideas associated with race and whiteness and the British Royal Family.
“The webinar will provide an overview of the social science research on the historical and contemporary role of whiteness and race in representations and public perceptions of the British Royal Family, and I will discuss some of my own research on this topic,” she said.
“There is quite a large body of social sciences literature on the social and cultural meanings of the monarchy, ranging from their symbolic role, their promotion of family values, their influence on consumer habits, as well as ideas about gender, class, and, of course, race.”
Dr Randell-Moon said the social sciences literature focuses on the symbolic importance of the royals. This includes:
- What do they symbolise?
- How do the symbolic meanings attached to the Crown change in different historical and social moments?
- How do changing social attitudes influence how the British Royal Family is viewed?
Dr Randell-Moon said the key work in this area is Michael Billig’s 1998 book, Talking of the Royal Family, which surveyed families across the United Kingdom on their views about the monarchy.
“At the time, participants in the study suggested, ‘Prince Charles would not have been free to marry a black girl’ due to social ideas about race and the monarchy,” she said.
“More recent work has looked at Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, who married Prince Harry, and how her position in the Royal Family is linked to people’s attitudes regarding race and ethnicity as well as attitudes towards privilege, power, and institutions.
“My own work examines how the British Royal Family visits to Australia communicate ideas about the Crown, race, culture, and religion, and what do these ideas mean for Australians?
“How do these ideas inform perceptions of the Crown as distant from or relevant to the institutions and public culture of Australia?”
The webinar at 10am on Saturday 11 September will be interactive, and there will be time for questions and answers.