Creating White Australia

Edited by Jane Carey and Claire McLisky

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Format: paperback
254 pages
ISBN: 9781920899424

Publication: 16 Nov 2009

Publisher: Sydney University Press

Read online: Open access

The adoption of White Australia as government policy in 1901 demonstrates that whiteness was crucial to the ways in which the new nation of Australia was constituted. And yet, historians have largely overlooked whiteness in their studies of Australia's racial past. Creating White Australia takes a fresh approach to the question of ‘race’ in Australian history. It demonstrates that Australia's racial foundations can only be understood by recognising whiteness too as 'race'. Including contributions from some of the leading as well as emerging scholars in Australian history, it breaks new ground by arguing that ‘whiteness’ was central to the racial ideologies that created the Australian nation.

This book pursues the foundations of white Australia across diverse locales. It also situates the development of Australian whiteness within broader imperial and global influences. As the recent apology to the Stolen Generations, the Northern Territory Intervention and controversies over asylum seekers reveal, the legacies of these histories are still very much with us today.

Claire McLisky is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of English, Germanic and Romance studies at the University of Copenhagen.

Jane Carey is a lecturer in history at the University of Wollongong.

Introduction: creating White Australia – new perspectives on race, whiteness and history
Jane Carey and Claire McLisky

Part 1: global framings – Australian whiteness in an international context
1. White, British and European: historicising identity in settler societies
Ann Curthoys
2. Reworking the tailings: new gold histories and the cultural landscape
Benjamin Mountford and Keir Reeves
3. Trans/national history and disciplinary amnesia: historicising White Australia at two fins de siecles
Leigh Boucher

Part 2: whiteness on Indigenous missions and reserves
4. Colouring (in) virtue? Evangelicalism, work and whiteness on Maloga Mission
Claire McLisky
5. ‘A most lowering thing for a lady’: aspiring to respectable whiteness on Ramahyuck Mission, 1885–1900
Joanna Cruickshank
6. Calculating colour: whiteness, anthropological research and the Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve, May and June 1938
Fiona Davis

Part 3: writing and performing race – creation and disavowal
7. Theatre or corroboree, what’s in a name? Framing Indigenous Australian 19th-century commercial performance practices
Maryrose Casey
8. The wild white man: ‘an event under description’
Maggie Scott
9. Perpetuating White Australia: Aboriginal self-representation, white editing and preferred stereotypes
Jennifer Jones

Part 4: gender and whiteness
10. A word of evidence: shared tales about infanticide and others-not-us in colonial Victoria
Marguerita Stephens
11. White anxieties and the articulation of race: the women’s movement and the making of White Australia, 1910s–1930s
Jane Carey
12. Whiteness, maternal feminism and the working mother, 1900–1960
Shurlee Swain, Patricia Grimshaw and Ellen Warne

'Making White Australia provides a complex and thoughtful addition to the study of race and Australian history. The chapters invite readers to revisit and reimagine familiar histories through the lens of whiteness studies.'
Tikka Wilson   Aboriginal History

Format: paperback
Size: 210 × 148 × 14 mm
254 pages
5 b&w illustrations
Copyright: © 2009
ISBN: 9781920899424
Publication: 16 Nov 2009