Rethinking settler colonialism

History and memory in Australia, Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand and South Africa

Edited by Annie Coombes

Rethinking settler colonialism


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7168-3
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: March 2006
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Humanities / Australasian & Pacific history, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, Colonialism & imperialism, European history, United Kingdom, Great Britain, History, Modern History
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


Rethinking settler colonialism focuses on the long history of contact between indigenous peoples and the white colonial communities who settled in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. It interrogates how histories of colonial settlement have been mythologised, narrated and embodied in public culture in the twentieth century (through monuments, exhibitions and images) and charts some of the vociferous challenges to such histories that have emerged over recent years.

Despite a shared familiarity with cultural and political institutions, practices and policies amongst the white settler communities, the distinctiveness which marked these constituencies as variously, 'Australian', 'South African', 'Canadian' or 'New Zealander', was fundamentally contingent upon their relationship to and with the various indigenous communities they encountered. In each of these countries these communities were displaced, marginalised and sometimes subjected to attempted genocide through the colonial process. Recently these groups have renewed their claims for greater political representation and autonomy. 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.

It will be of interest to those studying the effects of colonial powers on indigenous populations, and the legacies of imperial rule in postcolonial societies.


List of figures
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: Memory and History in Settler Colonialism - Annie E. Coombes
SECTION ONE: Colonial Culture: Institutions and Practices
1. Active Remembrance: Testimony, memoir and the work of reconciliation - Gillian Whitlock
2. Solly Sachs, the Great Trek and Jan van Riebeeck: Settler Pasts and Racial Identities in the Garment Workers Union, 1938 - 1952 - Leslie Witz
3. From Prisoners to Exhibits: Representations of 'Bushmen' of the Northern Cape, 1880-1900 - Martin Legassick
SECTION TWO: The Ordering of Culture : New Nations for Old.
4. Taonga, Marae,Whenua - Negotiating Custodianship: A Maori tribal response to Te Papa: Museum of New Zealand - Paul Tapsell
5. Auckland's Centrepiece: Unsettled Identities, Unstable Monuments - Leonard Bell
6. Show Times: De-Celebrating the Canadian Nation, Decolonising the Canadian Museum. 1967-1992 - Ruth B. Phillips
7. The Uses of Captain Cook: Early exploration in the public history of Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia - Nicholas Thomas
8. Selective Memory: The British Empire Exhibition and National Histories of Art - Christine Boyanoski
SECTION THREE: Engagement and Resistance
9. Challenging the Myth of Indigenous Peoples' 'Last Stand' in Canada and Australia: Public discourse and the conditions of silence - Elizabeth Furniss
10. Being Indian the South African Way: The Development of Indian Identity in 1940s Durban - Parvathi Raman
11. "An Education in White Brutality: Anthony Martin Fernando and Australian Aboriginal rights in global context - Fiona Paisley
SECTION FOUR: New Subjectivities and the Politics of Reconciliation.
12. New World Poetics of Place: Along the Oregon Trail and and in the National Museum of Australia - Deborah Bird Rose
13. Subjectivities of Whiteness - Sarah Nuttall
14. Facing History: Artists' Pages : Brook Andrew, 'Ignoratia'; Lisa Reihana, 'Native Portraits n.19897, Berni Searle, 'Profile'
Selected bibliography


Annie E. Coombes is Professor of Material and Visual Culture at Birkbeck College, London

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