From a ‘good opinion’ to ‘enlightened guidance’: Ambivalent Racial Comparisons between Australia and South Africa, 1918-1939

When:22 Mar 2016, 12:25pm - 1:45pm
Venue:Morven Brown 209 (map ref C20)
Who:Dr Ben Silverstein (UNSW)
Ben Silverstein

History Seminar Series

The History discipline (School of Humanities & Languages) invites you to attend a public seminar

’From a ‘good opinion’ to ‘enlightened guidance’: Ambivalent Racial Comparisons between Australia and South Africa, 1918-1939’

Dr Ben Silverstein, UNSW

In 1918, the Governor General of Australia was presented with a new Aboriginals Ordinance designed to govern Australia’s Northern Territory. Concerned, he sought advice and comparative material from South Africa, sparking a discussion across the Indian Ocean that addressed the Ordinance’s schema of racial classification and the troubles of racialised interstices with both critique and confusion. This was one of several instances of comparative work and information sharing on Aboriginal administration between the Northern Territory and South African correspondents in the first half of the twentieth century. Drawing on these comparative conversations, on governing projects launched by Baldwin Spencer and his successors in Darwin, and on contemporary courtroom disputes over identity and category, this seminar will trace the ways these tested the boundaries of race and government and explore what they reveal about the idiosyncrasies of settler colonialism in Australia’s tropical north.

Loading...
View Past Events