Race and the Frontier single work   criticism  
Issue Details: First known date: 2014 2014
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‘The Colonial journals often reflected carefully on questions of race; at the same time, they casually reproduced the virulent kinds of racism that were pervasive right across the settler colonies. A whole range of questions and dispositions come into play here; to do with the impact of colonial settlement on Aboriginal people, the role of government policy and the law, the ‘civilising’ agendas of Christian missions, the intellectualisation of racial categories (under the growing influence of evolutionary anthropology), he prevailing opinions about importing labour from elsewhere, and the way settler colonies might manage or respond to increasingly diverse immigrant population. Some colonial journals were more progressive and humanitarian then others as far as these questions are concerned, but there is never any consistency here. Coming in the wake of the global abolition of slavery, settlement in Australia nevertheless utterly relied on the legitimation of forced labour: convict gangs, indentured workers from the Pacific Islands, and so on. And the imperative to ‘civilise’ Aboriginal people only helped to consolidate the discourses that characterised them as ‘savage’ and destined for extinction. Indeed, as Ian J. McNiven and Lynette Russell note, ‘the nineteenth century heralded a new era for discourses of savagery as Aboriginal Australian superseded Native Americans as exemplars of primordial man’. Patrick Brantlinger has neatly expressed the way that even progressive views on race were always enmeshed in the assumptions and biases of their times: ‘humanitarians’, he writes, ‘could be both abolitionists and racist’. The full range of these contradictions is played out right across the colonial journals and across the various genres of writing they invest in, from chronicles of frontier violence and adventure to panoramic surveys of racial diversity in the colonial metropolis.’ (Author’s introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y The Colonial Journals : And the Emergence of Australian Literary Culture Rachael Weaver , Ken Gelder , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2014 6855653 2014 multi chapter work criticism

    'Colonial Australia produced a vast number of journals and magazines that helped to create an exuberant literary landscape. They were filled with lively contributions by many of the key writers and provocateurs of the day - and of the future. Important Australian writers such as Marcus Clarke, Rolf Boldrewood, Ethel Turner and Katharine Susannah Prichard published for the first time in these journals. In The Colonial Journals, Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver present a fascinating selection of material: a miscellany of content that enabled the 'free play of intellect' to thrive and, matched with wry visual design, made attractive artifacts that demonstrate the role this period played in the growth of an Australian literary culture.' (Publication blurb)

    Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2014
    pg. 348-379
Last amended 26 Jun 2014 11:35:09
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