Colonial Genocide has been seen increasingly as a stepping-stone to the European genocides of the twentieth century, yet it remains an under-researched phenomenon. This volume reconstructs instances of Australian genocide and for the first time places them in a global context. Beginning with the arrival of the British in 1788 and extending to the 1960s, the authors identify the moments of radicalization and the escalation of British violence and ethnic engineering aimed at the Indigenous populations, while carefully distinguishing between local massacres, cultural genocide, and genocide itself. These essays reflect a growing concern with the nature of settler society in Australia and in particular with the fate of the tens of thousands of children who were forcibly taken away from their Aboriginal families by state agencies. Long considered a relatively peaceful settlement, Australian society contained many of the pathologies that led to the exterminatory and eugenic policies of twentieth century Europe.
About the Author
A. Dirk Moses Dirk Moses is chair of global and colonial history at the European University Institute, Florence / University of Sydney. He has also edited another volume in this series entitled Empire, Colony, Genocide.
Table of Contents
|Section I||Conceptual and Historical Determinants|
|Chapter 1||Genocide and Settler Society in Australian History||3|
|Chapter 2||Colonialism and the Holocaust. Towards an Archaeology of Genocide||49|
|Chapter 3||Genocide and Modernity in Colonial Australia, 1788-1850||77|
|Chapter 4||"Pigmentia": Racial Fears and White Australia||103|
|Section II||Frontier Violence|
|Chapter 5||Genocide in Tasmania||127|
|Chapter 6||"Plenty Shoot'Em": The Destruction of Aboriginal Societies along the Queensland Frontier||150|
|Chapter 7||Passed Away? The Fate of the Karuwali||174|
|Chapter 8||Punitive Expeditions and Massacres: Gippsland, Colorado, and the Question of Genocide||194|
|Section III||Stolen Indigenous Children|
|Chapter 9||Aboriginal Child Removal and the Question of Genocide, 1900-1940||217|
|Chapter 10||"Until the Last Drop of Good Blood": The Kidnapping of "Racially Valuable" Children and Nazi Racial Policy in Occupied Eastern Europe||244|
|Chapter 11||"Clearing the Wheat Belt": Erasing the Indigenous Presence in the Southwest of Western Australia||267|
|Chapter 12||Governance, not Genocide: Aboriginal Assimilation in the Postwar Era||290|
|Chapter 13||Notes on the History of the Aboriginal Population of Australia||312|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a definite mixed bag. There are good essays, bad essays, and some that simply lull you into boredom in spite of the rich opportunities of the subject matter.Despite the title of the book, some of these authors (particularly Russell McGregor and Paul Bartrop) take a denialist approach to genocide in Australia. Their arguments in doing so are rather flimsy, and both are based on a fundamentalist reading of the UN Genocide Convention of 1948. As Bartrop puts it, "An act either is genocide according to the law of nations, or it is not genocide at all." Bartrop essentially rejects the 1843 genocide at Warrigal Creek because it doesn't fit into his preconceived idea of what a genocide looks like. As a Holocaust scholar rather than a scholar of Australian history, it is clear that his ideal is the top-down authoritarian genocide perpetrated by the Nazis. His argument seems to come down to Warrigal Creek just not being Holocaust-like enough for him to accept as genocide. However, he masks his exceptionalism by comparing Warrigal Creek to Sand Creek, which was a similar event but one that had enough of the top-down methodology of the Holocaust for the author to feel comfortable accepting as genocide. The technique McGregor uses, by contrast, hinges on the refusal of the United Nations to accept cultural genocide as a category of genocide in its 1948 Convention, despite the insistence of Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term genocide. Having thrown that category out, McGregor effectively denies the possibility of assimilation as a form of genocide. Having thrown out the idea that destroying a culture is genocidal, he turns to demography, showing that the total Aboriginal population numerically increased during the 20th century, and therefore the government could not have been complicit in genocide during that time. In doing this he also derides work (as for instance that by Anna Haebich in this collection) suggesting that the Australian government wanted to "breed out" the aboriginal race, and that higher aboriginal numbers may simply indicate the increase in mixed-race individuals as a result of this process.Beyond these problem essays, this collection is an oddity in that a couple of the essays included have nothing to do with frontier violence in Australia at all, focusing instead on the German Holocaust. Maybe it is sad that one of these articles (written by Jürgen Zimmerer) might be the best essay in this entire collection.In short, what we have here is a real hodgepodge, an effort to produce a collection of essays on a controversial topic without leaving anyone alienated. Because the book is about genocide, articles about Nazi Germany were included to avoid alienating Holocaust exceptionalists. For this reason there was also an article by Paul Bartrop, who although Australian is clearly a historian of the Holocaust and not of Australia. Australian nationalist genocide-deniers were also appeased by a place in the book with the McGregor essay. There was also an effort to ensure a balance between "intentionalist" (genocide must have a clear perpetrator, such as a state) and "structuralist" (genocide may be caused systematically, or by settlers not acting under government orders) points of view, although I felt there were more examples of the former than the latter. However, all of this inclusion does not mean it is an even-handed collection. Although it was an effort to keep people from feeling alienated, what that really means is that it avoids alienating professional academics. To the lay public, it feels less like history and more like a catfight between the intelligentsia. For all the effort in avoiding alienation, it's worth noting that none of the authors are Aboriginal. That's one perspective the book desperately could have used.