Governing natives

Indirect rule and settler colonialism in Australia's north

By Ben Silverstein

Governing natives


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9526-3
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: October 2018
  • BIC Category: Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Australasia, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism, HISTORY / Australia & New Zealand, HISTORY / General, Northern Territory, History & Archaeology, History, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Humanities / Australasian & Pacific history, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Colonialism & imperialism, c 1500 onwards to present day, Australasian & Pacific history, History
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


In the 1930s, a series of crises transformed relationships between settlers and Aboriginal people in Australia's Northern Territory. 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 re-thought 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.


Ben Silverstein is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of History at The Australian National University


Note on terms
1 Strehlow's problem: colonial transformations and a governmental event
2 The political organisation of the British in their Empire, 1875-1939: transforming indirect rule
3 Reporting on the northern contradiction: conflict and crisis, 1918-45
4 Thomson in Canberra: anthropologising Aborigines
5 Native administration in the northern territory: a white minority in the national community
6 From a white Australia to an Aboriginal New Deal
7 The long march: work and the ends of settler colonialism
8 Never yet: the tense of citizenship

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