Mistress of everything

Queen Victoria in Indigenous worlds

Editors: Sarah Carter and Maria Nugent

Indigenous people in Britain’s settler colonies engaged Queen Victoria in their diplomacy and politics, and incorporated her into their intellectual and narrative traditions. These interpretations of Victoria have much to tell us about indigenous peoples’ experiences of and responses to British colonization, and they also make a significant contribution to historical and contemporary understandings of British imperial and colonial history. The essays in this volume, that focus on Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, offer detailed studies from these settings, of the political, imaginative, diplomatic and intellectual uses of Queen Victoria by indigenous peoples. They also consider the ways in which the Crown’s representatives employed the figure of the monarch in their dealings with the people displaced by British colonization. The collection offers compelling examples of the traffic of ideas, interpretations and political strategies among and between indigenous people and colonial officials across the settler colonies. Together the chapters demonstrate the contributions that Indigenous peoples of the settler colonies made to British imperial culture and cultures of monarchy.

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‘In its innovations and the depth of each of its contributions, this volume will act as a beginning. The editors have brought together an exciting collection of papers, which separately and together will stimulate many more conversations across national and racial borders. They have taken us outside the ghetto of 'settler colonialism' to explore colonised peoples' responses to their colonisation far more widely and realistically than is often possible. We are in a far stronger position to see the ways empires and sovereigns make their claims, how gender and power intersect and how colonised peoples' challenges to those claims have taken shape in a range of conditions and different media, all of which have changed over time.'
Heather Goodall, University of Technology Sydney
Aboriginal History, Vol. 41
2017

‘Non-European peoples had reason and opportunity to learn the structure and disposition of the authorities that colonised them. Under British rule, they had time to get to 'know' Queen Victoria, for she reigned from 1837 to 1901. 'Queen Victoria' was not only an individual but a 'synonym for the Crown, for the British government and for the Empire' (p.2). In Mistress ofEverything ten historians of British settler-colonial southern Africa, Australia, Canada and New Zealand richly illustrate how Victoria was 'known' to the colonised.'
Tim Rowse, Western Sydney University
Oceania

‘Skilfully edited, Mistress of Everything is organised into three thematic clusters.'
Elizabeth Elbourne, McGill University
Australian Historical Studies
February 2018

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