In Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada and South Africa indigenous peoples were displaced, marginalised and sometimes subjected to attempted genocide through the colonial process. This book is a collection of essays that focuses on the ways the long history of contact between indigenous peoples and the heterogeneous white colonial communities has been obscured, narrated and embodied in public culture. The essays and artwork in this book insist that an understanding of the political and cultural institutions and practices which shaped settler-colonial societies in the past can provide important insights into how this legacy of unequal rights can be contested in the present. The essays in the first part of the book focus on colonial administrative structures and their intersection with the emergence of settler civil society in terms of welfare policy, regional colonial administration, and labour unions. The second section focuses on the struggles over the representation of national histories through the analyses of key cultural institutions and monuments, both historically and in terms of contemporary strategies. The third section provides comparative instances of historical and contemporary challenges to the colonial legacy from indigenous and migrant communities. The final section of the book explores some of the different voices and strategies for articulating the complexities of lived experience in transforming societies with a history of settler colonialism.
In the 1930s, a series of crises transformed relationships between settlers and Aboriginal people in Australia’s Northern Territory. This book examines archives and texts of colonial administration to study the emergence of ideas and practices of indirect rule in this unlikely colonial situation. It demonstrates that the practice of indirect rule was everywhere an effect of Indigenous or ‘native’ people’s insistence on maintaining and reinventing their political formations, their refusal to be completely dominated, and their frustration of colonial aspirations to total control. These conditions of difference and contradiction, of the struggles of people in contact, produced a colonial state that was created both by settlers and by the ‘natives’ they sought to govern. By the late 1930s, Australian settlers were coming to understand the Northern Territory as a colonial formation requiring a new form of government. Responding to crises of social reproduction, public power, and legitimacy, they rethought the scope of settler colonial government by drawing on both the art of indirect rule and on a representational economy of Indigenous elimination to develop a new political dispensation that sought to incorporate and consume Indigenous production and sovereignties. This book locates Aboriginal history within imperial history, situating the settler colonial politics of Indigeneity in a broader governmental context. Australian settler governmentality, in other words, was not entirely exceptional; in the Northern Territory, as elsewhere, indirect rule emerged as part of an integrated, empire-wide repertoire of the arts of governing and colonising peoples.
Kenya Colony, for the British at least, has customarily been imagined as a place of wealthy settler-farmers, sun-lit panoramas and the adventure of safari. Yet for the majority of Europeans who went there life was very different. This book offers an unprecedented new account of what was – supposedly – the most picturesque of Britain’s colonies overseas. While Kenya’s romantic reputation has served to perpetuate the notion that Europeans enjoyed untroubled command, what the lives of Kenya’s white insane powerfully describe are stories of conflict, immiseration, estrangement and despair. Crucially, Europeans who became impoverished in Kenya or who transgressed the boundary lines separating colonizer from colonized subverted the myth that Europeans enjoyed a natural right to rule. Because a deviation from the settler ideal was politically problematic, therefore, Europeans who failed to conform to the collective self-image were customarily absented, from the colony itself in the first instance and latterly from both popular and scholarly historical accounts. Bringing into view the lives of Kenya’s white insane makes for an imaginative and intellectual engagement with realms of human history that, so colonial ideologies would have us believe, simply were not there. Tracing the pathways that led an individual to the hospital gates, meanwhile, shows up the complex interplay between madness and marginality in a society for which deviance was never intended to be managed but comprehensively denied.
Kenya’s white settlers have long captivated observers. They are alternately celebrated and condemned, painted as romantic pioneers or hedonistic bed-hoppers or crude racists. If we wish to better understand Kenya’s tortured history, however, we must examine settlers not as caricatures, but as people inhabiting a unique historical moment. We must ask, what animated their lives? What comforted them and what unnerved them, to whom did they direct love, and to whom violence? The Souls of White Folk takes seriously – though not uncritically – what settlers said, how they viewed themselves and their world. It argues that the settler soul was composed of a series of interlaced ideas: settlers equated civilization with a (hard to define) whiteness; they were emotionally enriched through claims to paternalism and trusteeship over Africans; they felt themselves constantly threatened by Africans, by the state, and by the moral failures of other settlers; and they daily enacted their claims to supremacy through rituals of prestige, deference, humiliation, and violence. The book explains how settlers could proclaim real affection for their African servants, tend to them with intimate medical procedures, as well as whip, punch and kick them – for these were central to the joy of settlement, and the preservation of settlement. It explains why settlers could be as equally alarmed by an African man with a fine hat, Russian Jews, and a black policeman, as by white drunkards, adulterers, and judges – all posed dangers to white prestige.
James Baldwin, William F. Buckley,
Jr., and the 1965 Cambridge Debate
Daniel Robert McClure
The 1965 debate at Cambridge University between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley,
Jr., posed the question: “Has the American Dream been achieved at the Expense of the
American Negro?” Within the contours of the debate, Baldwin and Buckley wrestled with the
ghosts of settler colonialism and slavery in a nation founded on freedom and equality.
Framing the debate within the longue durée, this essay examines the deep cultural currents
related to the American racial paradox at the height of the Civil Rights movement.
Underscoring the changing language of white resistance against black civil rights, the
essay argues that the Baldwin and Buckley debate anticipated the ways the U.S. would
address racial inequality in the aftermath of the civil rights era and the dawn of
neoliberalism in the 1970s.
the Northern Territory. Forced to reckon with Aboriginal manoeuvring and confounding acts, the official mind of Australian settlercolonialism was pushed to recognise that Aboriginal social reproduction was not a threat to the fabrication of a new society in the north; in fact, it was indispensable. 5 This recognition, and the 1938 policy reform that was its product, signified the reception of indirect rule; a political rationality that identified ‘native society’ as its subject, and the art of incorporating it, in some form, into the colonial state. It imagined
neglect by historians of settlercolonialism, work was a central and dynamic element of settler life.
Class, however, has become increasingly unfashionable in recent decades. 3 Generally speaking, when it appears in historical analysis it tends to be descriptive and under-theorised. 4 This book contributes to the ongoing attempts to reinstate class as an essential analytical tool in understanding social identities, power and inequality. 5 It explores the self-activity of men and women in the worlds of work in which race, gender and class were produced and remoulded
White workers saw themselves as the propelling force behind Rhodesia. They depicted themselves as builders of empire whose labour enabled the spread of ‘white civilisation’. The RNA commemorated the first trained nurses in Rhodesia by arguing that ‘this intrepid band of girls were the real pioneers in geographical, political and economic history’. 1 According to RALE, when George Stephenson drove the first locomotive he had not only brought forth a ‘new means of public transport, but he had also brought to birth a new race of men’. 2 This brand
this book. Eschewing grand narratives of empire, be they
formulated in terms of a Eurocentric modernist epistemology or a
postcolonial critique, we offer a place-centred analysis of settlercolonialism as ethnicised ‘white’ experience of the
discursive and the local. Taking the spatiality of the human condition
– the idea that people create, consume and contest a multiplicity
of material and imagined
Land and its acquisition was at
the heart of Australia’s colonial history: land was the
defining feature of settlercolonialism. As historian Humphrey
McQueen has pointed out, ‘just how important land was in the
formation of the political and social consciousness of the
Australian people [is] demonstrated by recounting some of the