Journal of New Zealand & Pacific Studies, Volume 2, Number 2, 1 October 2014, pp. 157-172.

Abstract: Maori people maintain ambiguous relations with the rest of the Pacific. Genealogical relationships continue to be celebrated in ongoing connections across a wide range of domains and discourses, but the colonial history of New Zealand has also turned Maori into a community of indigenous people that has been eclipsed by European settlers over the past two centuries. As a corollary, Maori are embroiled in an intense struggle for recognition of their proprietary rights as the indigenous people of the islands of New Zealand. Over the past few decades, campaigns for a comprehensive settlement of their colonial grievances have gathered some momentum since the Treaty of Waitangi was gradually recognized again in the 1970s and 1980s. The negotiations between Maori and the government about historical and social justice for the indigenous population, however, may to some extent be counterbalanced by the increasing number of migrants arriving in New Zealand, from Asia and the Pacific Islands. In the current competition for scarce resources, Maori have consistently argued that within the New Zealand nation state the establishment of biculturalism should precede the development of multiculturalism, implying also that indigenous rights should prevail over those of settlers and migrants. The political dichotomy between Maori and Pacific Islanders raises the question to what extent it distorts historical and contemporary connections. This article explores the multiple histories and manifold relations between Maori and Pacific Islanders in the past and present in order to examine whether the paradox of historical connections and contemporary competition can be resolved.

The Settler Colonial Present in California, with thanks to Alex Young.

Leaning against a dilapidated gazebo overlooking a lazy bend in the Colorado River, Roger French recalled better times in the nest of mobile homes known as Ranchos Not So Grande.

For 28 years, he lived on the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation land, surrounded by several hundred others who came here for the solitude, bargain lease rates and serene vistas on the west bank of the river.

“I built this gazebo and planted the trees that surround it,” the 65-year-old electrical engineer said. “My daughter married a guy she met on the river. I enjoyed the best years of my life here.”

Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, ‘For a long time nothing happened: Settler colonialism, deferred action and the scene of colonization in Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance’, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature (online December 23, 2014).

That Deadman Dance (2010) is Kim Scott’s third novel and his second to win the premier literary prize in Australia, the Miles Franklin Award. Scott’s novel is set in the period of contact between European settlers and the Indigenous Noongar people on the south coast of Western Australia at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Scott’s father was Noongar and his writing is positioned in the interplay between cultures and histories. In this article, I argue that contact fiction is conditioned by the psychoanalytic principle of deferred action and use Scott’s novel to exemplify this argument.

Juan Marcellus Tauri, ‘Criminal Justice as a Colonial Project in Contemporary Settler Colonialism’ African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies 8, 1 (2014). 

This paper offers an Indigenous-centred, critical perspective on the Colonial Projects (Thomas, 1994) employed in settler-colonial contexts to negate, or at the very least nullify, the negative impact of two inter-related ‘wicked problems’ that are deemed peculiar to these jurisdictions: the high levels of Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system, and the impact of Indigenous resistance to the hegemony of the imposed, criminal justice systems deployed by settler-colonial states. The paper is comprised of three inter-related parts; the first two outline the construction and deployment of Colonial Projects in the colonial and neo-colonial contexts, wherein it is argued that the matrix of criminal justice was foundational to the state’s attempted eradication of, and eventual socio-economic marginalisation of Indigenous peoples. The final part offers an argument that the continued success of criminal justice as a (neo)colonial project, stems from its parasitic relationship with the discipline of criminology. Together, these supportive colonial projects deployment against Indigenous peoples demonstrates that structural violence continues to be a significant component of social control in the neo-liberal, neo-colonial context.

Andrea Smith, ‘Indigenous Feminists Are Too Sexy for Your Heteropatriarchal Settler Colonialism’, African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies 8, 1 (2014).

Within the creation myths of the United States, narratives portray Native peoples as hypersexualized and sexually desiring white men and women. Native men in captivity narratives are portrayed as wanting to rape white women and Native women such as Pocahontas are constituted as desiring the love and sexual attention of white men at the expense of her Native community. In either of these accounts of settler colonialism, Native men and women’s sexualities are read as out of control and unable to conform to white heteropatriarchy. Many Native peoples respond to these images by desexualizing our communities and conforming to heteronormativity in an attempt to avoid the violence of settler-colonialism. I interrogate these images and provide sex-positive alternatives for Native nation building as an important means of decolonizing Native America.

Khanyisela Moyo, ‘Mimicry, Transitional Justice and the Land Question in Racially Divided Former Settler Colonies’, International Journal of Transitional Justice (2014).

This article argues that in its liberal form, transitional justice has no future as it cannot encompass structural injustices arising from issues related to postcolonial land conflicts. The bias of liberal transitional justice discourse towards corrective and retributive justice invites criticism that it is a tool for dealing with ‘uncivilized’ rogue states. In addition, transitional justice’s liberal individualism overlooks pluralistic arrangements of property rights which were secured by colonialism. Liberal justice mechanisms also take no account of the fact that postcolonial states did not start from a ‘veil of ignorance’ and as such cannot presume that liberty has to take primacy over redistribution. Nonetheless, the article also contends that the continuum of transitional justice can be assured if there is a serious engagement with recent postcolonial innovation which is ‘mimicry’ of the dominant discourse. The article’s use of the concept of ‘mimicry’ is inspired by the term’s use in postcolonial and colonial literature to describe the interaction between members of colonized people and their colonizers. In the context of transitional justice, mimicry can be shameful, empowering and subversive as it includes the shameless copying of former colonizers’ tactics by the postcolonial ruling elite and the diffusion of ‘western’ concepts of rule of law, justice and human rights, and also presents opportunities for postcolonial ‘agency.’ Postcolonial ‘agency’ occurs where postcolonial societies merge liberalism with postcolonial realities, thereby responding to these societies’ actualities without completely disavowing international law.

David Gramit, ‘What Does a City Sound Like? The Musical Dynamics of a Colonial Settler City’, Nineteenth-Century Music Review 11, 02 (2014).

A study of public musical life in Edmonton, Alberta from the 1897 Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria through the beginning of World War I provides a case study in the development of new urban musical cultures during the settlement of western North America. The contrast between the Jubilee celebration and Alberta’s inauguration as a province in 1905 reveals growing ambition to demonstrate a capacity for the serious music that could be viewed as a marker of civic achievement, and the absence in 1905 of First Nations dancers and drummers, who had taken part in the 1897 event, provides a reminder of the displacement of indigenous peoples that accompanied the immigration booms that characterized settler colonialism. Popular music too developed with the city; as an alternative to non-literate, rural practices like fiddling, it could represent another form of urban sophistication, but also provided an opportunity to import high culture’s dismissal of the popular, yet another signifier of urban cultural practice.

Ben Silverstein, ‘Dispossession, Reconsidered (Review)’, History Australia 11, 3 (2014).

Until relatively recently, studies of settler colonialism have approached invasions, dispossessions, and eliminations as events which founded a polity and were exhausted as settlement came to fruition. Now, as in the case of dispossession in both Philippolis and Orania, they are considered instead as establishing persistent structures. The failure to reckon with that history and its implications establishes the democratic South African state as its successor. […]  But transposing the analysis of settler colonialism, developed with Australasia and North America in mind, to the South African context necessitates categorical revision. Cavanagh suggests we can understand Indigeneity on the nineteenth century Orange River ‘as a relative condition’. He differentiates between South Africa’s ‘most indigenous people’ and their ‘less indigenous’ followers, a distinction determined essentially by reference to antecedence (10). The Griqua, in other words, were settlers in relation to the San, but Indigenous in relation to the Boers who displaced them.
The settler emerges in this account as the bearer of sovereignty. Cavanagh describes the layered sovereignty of the nineteenth century and its resolution through the victory of the settler’s sovereignty as it becomes ‘ultimate’ or ‘perfect’. This represents an understanding of sovereignty as something which can be possessed: as a ‘capacity’, or as something that could be ‘vested’. And sovereignty determines land rights – ‘it is the sovereign that says which land rights are good and bad’ – and thereby constitutes the settler protagonist of settler colonialism (2, 6, 97–101).

Such definitions involve the historian in practices of arbitration, locating and naming settlers and natives, recognising the success of settler colonialism in its extinguishment of other sovereignties. Recognition, though, is never innocent, and in this case the citation of dominance under the sign of an ultimate sovereignty has the effect of settling the colonial contradictions so intricately traced, but consigned to the past; the book approaches sovereignty not as an ensemble of claims and aspirations but as fact. This produces such discomforting effects as the denotation of the Griqua – a people dispossessed by white settlers who today claim First Nations status – as nineteenth century settlers.

John Docker, ‘A plethora of intentions: genocide, settler colonialism and historical consciousness in Australia and Britain’, International Journal of Human Rights (published online: 13 December 2014).

This article examines the implications for contemporary historical consciousness in Australia and Britain of the Tasmanian genocide, the destruction of the indigenous nations of the island by British colonisation in the early nineteenth century and the subsequent removal of the survivors to Flinders Island, where most died. The article explores the culture of denial that attempts to deflect the challenge of genocide scholar Tony Barta, that Australia is a nation founded on genocide. It deconstructs the argument of prominent historian Henry Reynolds in his 2001 book An Indelible Stain? The Question of Genocide in Australia’s History, that genocide did not occur in Tasmania since there was no intention to commit genocide. Reynolds’ conception of intention is analysed in terms of contemporary genocide theory. The article also explores the view of Holocaust scholar Tom Lawson in his 2014 book The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania that, in quite fantastical ways, British historical consciousness later in the nineteenth century managed to confirm its claim to civilisational superiority by the Tasmanian genocide.

Rosaura Sánchez, Beatrice Pita, ‘Rethinking Settler Colonialism’, at the end of their guest issue in American Quarterly 66, 4 (2014).

The year 1948 was the Nakba, the year of catastrophe for Palestinians. For Mexicans in the US Southwest, Nakba came in 1848, with Mexico’s loss of almost half of its territory and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo that subsumed the northwest of Mexico into the United States. There is much that we, the people of Mexican origin in the United States, share with the Palestinians living in Israel as well as those living in the West Bank and Gaza. Significant differences notwithstanding, what we do have in common is the dispossession of lands as well as a history of living a second-class status under a hegemonic state power imposed by historical circumstance. History has much to teach us in this regard, both in terms of commonalities and in terms of divergences.

We want to start by noting the marked differences between Israeli settler colonialism in Palestine and the situation of the contemporary Mexican-origin population in the United States, so as not to conflate the two situations. First off, an important distinction needs to be made between an indigenous population, like the Native Americans or the Palestinians, and a colonist settler population, like the Spanish Mexicans in the US Southwest in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; there is also an important historical difference between the apartheid wall that separates the West Bank from Israel and, for example, the border wall that separates Tijuana from San Diego/San Ysidro. While both were clearly erected to divide, we must understand that they are barriers of different orders. Revealing parallels aside, while it is true that the Mexican-origin population suffered—and continues to suffer—acts of violence, racism, aggression, and xenophobia at the hands of the occupying dominant Anglo population since 1846, the Palestinians have been subject to far greater injustices under more recent Israeli colonialism. Moreover, racial profiling, segregation, and denial of equal rights in the United States have never been restricted solely to people living under settler colonialism in occupied territories, as is evident in the history of nineteenth-century Chinese workers, African Americans, and women in the United States. A look at these substantive differences begs a brief historical overview of the two geographic areas and of the issue of settler colonialism and its consequences.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 129 other followers