It’s about women and the land they move to: Nadia Rhook, ‘Speech, Sex, and Mobility: Norwegian Women in a Late Nineteenth-Century “English-speaking” Settler Colony’, Journal of Women’s History, 28, 2, 2016, pp. 58-81
Abstract: Historians have demonstrated how mobility was gendered across nineteenth-century colonial contexts and how “moving” female subjects have made and remade patriarchal settler colonial regimes. But subjects who moved also came to a stop and spoke. This article explores the ways a Norwegian woman spoke and was heard within the various social and legal spaces of Victoria, an Antipodean British settler colony. Louisa Fritz arrived in Melbourne in 1891 and weeks later became the informant in a trial of “indecent assault with attempt to rape.” She did so while European settlers were working out the bio- and linguistic politics of creating a “White Australian nation.” Through a close analysis of Fritz’s speech, this article demonstrates that if spaces are bodily constructions, they are equally linguistic/acoustic constructions made by the speech(es) of migrants, settlers, and those in the blurry space between these categories. More specifically, I argue that paying attention to women’s speech illuminates the linguistic dimensions of settler colonialism.
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