2011 Festival of Ideas - Keynote: Asserting Identity

Since the drafting of the American Constitution in 1787, Written Constitutions have increasingly come to be viewed as an essential symbol of the modern state. They have also frequently been seen as emblems of identity: not just something that a country has, but something that a particular country and its people are. Over time and in reality, however, Written Constitutions have worked to service the ambitions and interests not just of nations, but also of a succession of empires. In this lecture, Linda Colley examines the record in this regard of America and Britain, which has always resisted Written Constitutions for itself, while repeatedly writing them for others. She also considers the impact on Australia, where constitutional imaginings and projects have been influenced both by the US and by the UK.

Trinity is pleased to support the 2011 Festival by assisting in bringing the Caldwell lecturers, Sir David Cannadine and Professor Linda Colley, to Australia, so fulfilling the intent of the Colin Hicks Caldwell Trust, designated for the attraction of notable international scholars in the fields of art, history, law or literature.