Review of The Red Professor: The Cold War Life of Fred Rose

Abstract

This biography of Marxist anthropologist and prominent Cold War figure Frederick Rose has diverse potential interest, not least because of its subject’s often surprising connections to writers and literary culture in both Australia and the Eastern Bloc. The authors – historians who have worked on Rose’s legacy in other publications – bring to our attention the extraordinary and complex back story of this now little-remembered name, and restore to some contemporary clarity the political stakes at issue in mid-century contests over academic and other forms of cultural authority. In particular, this book reminds us of the length and difficulty of the struggle for Land Rights and cultural autonomy for Indigenous communities, and sheds new light on the contests within and outside professional anthropology that played out in cold-war configurations of Indigenous rights, across the political spectrum, and their influence on post-war culture.

Red Professor: The Cold War Life of Fred Rose, by Peter Monteath and Valerie Munt. Adelaide: Wakefield Press, 2015. $39.95

This biography of Marxist anthropologist and prominent Cold War figure Frederick Rose has diverse potential interest, not least because of its subject’s often surprising connections to writers and literary culture in both Australia and the Eastern Bloc. The authors – historians who have worked on Rose’s legacy in other publications – bring to our attention the extraordinary and complex back story of this now little-remembered name, and restore to some contemporary clarity the political stakes at issue in mid-century contests over academic and other forms of cultural authority. In particular, this book reminds us of the length and difficulty of the struggle for Land Rights and cultural autonomy for Indigenous communities, and sheds new light on the contests within and outside professional anthropology that played out in cold-war configurations…

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Published 1 June 2016 in Volume 31 No. 3. Subjects: Aboriginal Australians, Cold War, Communism, Communist Party of Australia (CPA).

Cite as: Moore, Nicole. ‘Review of The Red Professor: The Cold War Life of Fred Rose.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 31, no. 3, 2016. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.cc901fe861.