Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below – conference page

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 27th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: June 24-­26th 2010
Bristol, UK

Programme


24th June

Thursday 24th June 2010

Welcome and Intro – Kirsty Reid .

Marilyn Lake, ‘Chinese colonists writing their rights’ (AUDIO HERE)

Ellen Gill, ‘Prest to volunteer: reluctant seamen in late Georgian Britain’ (AUDIO HERE)

Isaac Land, ‘Patriotic performances: naval veterans on (and off) the street in early nineteenth-century Britain’ (AUDIO HERE)

Jonathan Hyslop, ‘Zulu seafarers in the age of steam: the voyage narratives of George Magodini and Fulunge Mpofu, 1916-24’ (AUDIO HERE)

Effie Karageorgos, ‘Loyal to the empire? An alternative view of Australian soldiers in the South African War, 1899-1902’ (AUDIO HERE)

Freya McCracken, ‘From Canada to home – how Scottish emigrants letters bridged the gap with those left behind’. (AUDIO HERE)

Dirk Tang, ‘Writings from the Dutch empire’ (AUDIO HERE)

Karen Garvey, ‘Writing an archive: the Bristol Black Archives Partnership’ (AUDIO HERE)

25h June

Friday 25th June


Carol Cooper, ‘Shared stories: the words and drawings of William Barak’ (AUDIO HERE)

Elizabeth Elbourne, ‘Orality and literacy on the New York frontier: evidence from the Draper papers’ (AUDIO HERE)

Jennifer Jones, ‘Oral narratives and the power of the pen in Australian post-colonising society’ (AUDIO HERE)

Asha Varadharajan, ‘Transplanting the slave narrative: Frederick Douglass, B. R. Ambedkar & Ishmael Beah’ (AUDIO HERE)

Raphael Hörmann, ‘The artisan writes back: John Thelwall (1764-1834) and his proto-socialist critique of the British empire’ (AUDIO HERE)

Ian Duffield, ‘The parody or power and the rhetoric of English liberty in the life of John William Lancashire’ (AUDIO HERE)

Rhian Tritton, ‘Writing a new life: the construction of self in ss Great Britain’s emigrant diaries (AUDIO HERE)

Diana Paton, ‘Writing and spiritual power in the Anglophone Caribbean, 1890-1940’ (AUDIO HERE)

Clare Anderson ‘Speech, silence, love and longing: the power of words in nineteenth-century colonial jails’ (AUDIO HERE)

Kristyn Harman, ‘Suffering from long imprisonment: Mickey’s petitions in the context of aboriginal deaths in custody in colonial New South Wales’ (AUDIO HERE)

Tina Picton Phillipps, ‘Petitioners and petitions, 1810-1820: who wants what and why’ (AUDIO HERE)

Peggy Brock, ‘Keeping account: the diary of a Tsimshian, Arthur Wellington Clah’ (AUDIO HERE)

Norman Etherington, ‘Begging to preach: Black Evangelists’ written responses to the colonial state’s war on mission Christianity in KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, 1900-1910’ (AUDIO HERE)

Jacqueline Van Gent, ‘Indigenous women’s strategies of writing the colonial self’ (AUDIO HERE)

Claudia Haake, ‘Writing against colonialism: native American political activism against land loss in the age of removal’ (AUDIO HERE)

Maria Nugent, ‘The quest for title deeds: the meanings of texts in Aboriginal people’s oral traditions’ (AUDIO HERE)

Emma Wild-Wood, ‘The Journal of Apolo Kivebulaya, CMS Evangelist’ (AUDIO HERE)

Caroline Bressey, ‘The writings of black working women in London, 1880-1920’ (AUDIO HERE)

Fiona Paisley, ‘Britain’s Gun Bragging: Aboriginal and Black on the Streets of Interwar London’ (AUDIO HERE)

Kirsty Reid, ‘Writing racism on the streets of nineteenth-century England’ (AUDIO HERE)

Cecilia Morgan, ‘“What a difference there is between this country and America”: native people’s letter-writing across the British empire, 1800-1870’ (AUDIO HERE)



26thJune

Saturday 26th June

 

Arnab Dasgupta, ‘Conflicting ‘selves’ and the project of empire: the case of Anandaram Dhekiyal Phukan’ (AUDIO HERE)

Kimberley Rae Connor, ‘Reading from the Heart out: Chief Bromden through Indigenous Eyes’ (AUDIO HERE)

Nick Nourse, ‘Music as an adjunct to punishment in the armed forces and the people of Britain and the Empire’ (AUDIO HERE)

Paul Pickering, ‘The rhythm of the hustings: music and electoral politics in Victoria’s empire’ (AUDIO HERE)

Antoinette Burton, ‘Postcolonial Flyover: above and below in Frank Moraes’ The Importance of Being Black (1965) (AUDIO HERE)

Karin Barber, ‘Popular voices in the print culture of 1920s Lagos’ (AUDIO HERE)

——

Final conference wrap-up & discussion session .


Abstracts

Abstracts and bios are available on individual speaker pages.

1 Comment

Karin Barber – Popular voices in the print culture of 1920s Lagos

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 26th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: 26 June 2010
Bristol, UK

Karin Barber (University of Birmingham)
Popular voices in the print culture of 1920s Lagos

In the 1920s, Lagos (Nigeria) experienced an explosion of print culture – five new Yoruba-language weekly newspapers and also several new English-language publications. This print culture was produced and consumed predominantly by a small educated elite, the core of which was the “Saro” – people repatriated from Sierra Leone after return from slavery overseas or rescue from slave ships. The Saro culture since the 1880s had been highly exclusive, protecting the elite’s distinctive Anglophile culture and affirming their proximity to the British colonial authorities.  But in the 1920s we see a shift, indicated in part by the creation of new Yoruba-language papers accessible to the large Lagosian constituency of primary-school educated people who could read Yoruba but who were less conversant with English. The 1920s newspapers set out deliberately to bring these people into the fold. This was (at least partly) in response to the advent of restricted electoral politics from 1920 onwards: the Lagos oligarchy had begun to realise how important it was to demonstrate to the British that they had a large popular following, even if, at that moment, most of their supporters were not yet enfranchised. The Yoruba newspapers of the 1920s emphasised their remit to educate the populace and explain the ins and outs of current political developments to them. The tone was often didactic. But at the same time, popular voices were incorporated – through letters to the editor, local events columns, and through the collection and inscription of popular genres such as topical street ballads, gossip, and fictional narratives set in lower-class Lagos. This paper will explore the changing class dynamics of 1920s Lagos through the Yoruba print culture.

Karin Barber, University of Birmingham, email
Karin Barber is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Birmingham. Her main interest is African everyday culture, with a central focus on verbal texts, both oral and written, in African languages. Most of her research has been concentrated on the Yoruba speaking area of southwestern Nigeria, but she has also done broader comparative work on popular culture across sub-Saharan Africa and on approaches to texts in Africa and beyond. She is the author of many books and articles, including the prize-winning I Could Speak Until Tomorrow: Oriki, Women and the Past in a Yoruba Town (1991) and The Generation of Plays: Yoruba Popular Life in Theatre (2000) She is a Fellow of the British Academy, a past president of the African Studies Association of the UK, and the editor of Africa, the journal of the International African Institute.

——————————————————-

talk:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————-

questions:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————-

No Comments

Antoinette Burton – Postcolonial Flyover: Above and Below in Frank Moraes’ The Importance of Being Black (1965)

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 26th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: 26 June 2010
Bristol, UK

Antoinette Burton (University of Illinois)
Postcolonial Flyover: Above and Below in Frank Moraes’ The Importance of Being Black (1965)

Frank Moraes was an editor for the Times of India who wrote a searing analysis of the African continent called The Importance of Being Black in 1965 in the wake of decolonization. Very much the view from an airplane (he never lived in Africa), it is nonetheless a critical ethnography of emergent African nation-states — refracting the fate of postcolonial India and Indians through its telescopic lens and honing in on African cultural practices on the ground as evidence (or not) of Africans’ fitness for self-rule. In Moraes’ work as in that of a number of his contemporaries, the figure of the African woman recurs, serving as a sign of Africa’s postcolonial possibility and as a site of anxiety about racial intermixture. The Indian woman, if she appears at all, functions as an index of national virtue and as key to the making of a worldly Indian masculinity, whether secular or communal. Whereas postcolonial histories have either emphasized Indians’ relationship with Britons or have glossed their solidarity with Africans, I argue that concerns about south-south racial and sexual politics were paradigmatic of postcolonial Indian culture and history. Moraes’ text offers a view from the vantage point of a newly postcolonial Nehruvian state which saw itself as a patron of emerging African nations. My paper plays with the scalar complexities of this promontory view in an attempt to capture some of the shifting ground of the post-imperial world.

Antoinette Burton, University of Illinois, email
Antoinette Burton is Professor of History at the University of Illinois. Her core research interests are in the areas of Britain and the empire, the history of women and gender, and world history. She is the author of many articles and books including: Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women and Imperial Culture, 1865-1915 (University of North Carolina Press, 1994), At the Heart of the Empire: Indians and the Colonial Encounter in Late Victorian Britain (University of California Press, 1998), Dwelling in the Archive: Women Writing House, Home and History in Late Colonial India Oxford University Press, 2003) and The Postcolonial Careers of Santha Rama Rau (Duke University Press, 2007).

——————————————————-

talk:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————-

questions:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————-

No Comments

Paul Pickering – The Rhythm of the Hustings: Music and Electoral Politics in Victoria’s Empire

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 26th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: June 24-­26th 2010
Bristol, UK

Paul Pickering (Australian National University)
The Rhythm of the Hustings: Music and Electoral Politics in Victoria’s Empire

This paper explores the integral part that music played in the rituals in nineteenth century elections. At a time when the vast majority of people stood outside the political nation and those who could vote did so under public scrutiny, musical performances helped to rally support for rival candidates, offered short-hand manifestoes to the undecided, steeled the courage of timid voters, heralded famous victories and provided a rich avenue for those who sought to protest against the inequities of the political system. In Britain these rituals were part of a long established tradition of public theatre and counter-theatre. In what ways were they replicated across the Empire, particularly in the colonies of settlement? What role did music play in facilitating continuity or change?

This paper is offered as part of a panel with Dr Kate Bowan. Both papers draw up on their joint research project which examines the place of music in politics in the nineteenth-century British world.

Paul Pickering, Australian National Universityemail
Professor Paul Pickering is Convener of Graduate Studies and Director of the National Europe Centre at the Research School of Humanities, The Australian National University. He has published extensively on Australian, British and Irish social, political and cultural history and public memory and commemoration. His current project is a study of music and politics in the nineteenth-century British world (with musicologist Kate Bowan). This will be published by Manchester University Press.

—————————————————–

talk:

PLAY

 

download

—————————————————–


No Comments

Nicholas Nourse – Music as an adjunct to punishment in the armed forces and the people of Britain and the Empire

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 26th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: 26 June 2010
Bristol, UK

Nicholas Nourse (University of Bristol)
Music as an adjunct to punishment in the armed forces and the people of Britain and the Empire

The inspiration for this paper came from the various erroneous comments that wrongly attribute the tune, ‘The Rogues March’, in its application as an accompaniment to the naval punishment ‘flogging around the fleet’, to the popular song- and opera-writer, Charles Dibdin. This paper will examine the true source of the tune, and the symbolic features it brings to instances of punishment and mockery across the armed services and in the general population too.  This tune, and the symbolisms attached to it, seem to address the ‘from below’ aspect of this conference particularly well. I will also examine two other songs with established associations with punishment, even death: the ‘Dead March’ from Saul, and the oft-quoted doleful song, ‘Fortune my Foe’.

This paper is offered as part of a three-way panel with Dr. Kate Bowan and Prof. Paul Pickering. Our papers will meet with instances of rituals and punishments, and public theatre and spectacle, which were repeated across the expanding Anglophone world and were not exclusive to Britain’s shores.

Nicholas Nourse, University of Bristol, email

Nicholas Nourse originally trained as a violin maker and graduated from the Open University as a mature student in 2007. He moved into full-time postgraduate study at the University of Bristol studying their MA in Music: British Music pathway. He is continuing to work with Prof. Stephen Banfield as his supervisor on his doctoral thesis, ‘Who took the singing out of popular song? Britain and the Empire, 1800-1863’.

——————————————————–

talk:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————–

questions:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————–

No Comments

Arnab Dasgupta – Conflicting ‘selves’ and the project of Empire: The case of Anandaram Dhekiyal Phukan

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 26th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: 26 June 2010
Bristol, UK

Arnab Dasgupta (University of Delhi)
Conflicting ‘selves’ and the project of Empire: The case of Anandaram Dhekiyal Phukan

Narratives about the lives of natives in the service of the Empire, especially at times when his loyalty puts him at odds with the general public sentiment, tend to throw up a precarious equation. The individual’s life becomes a complex negotiation between an apparent public loyalty to the colonial state and at times a subdued, rather private, sense of angst at the subjugated state of his motherland. This specific negotiation can be detected in the writings of Anandoram Dhekiyal Phukan, one of the foremost political thinkers of early – colonial Assam. Born in 1829 to a liberal, western educated family with a strong alliance with the colonial state (father Haliram Phukan employed with the Collectorate at Gauhati, Assam), Anandaram received education at Hindu College, Calcutta in 1841-44 and joined Government service at Gauhati in 1845. Around the same time, scattered voices of resistance to various policies of the government, primarily the decision to impose an alien language (Bengali) in the Courts and schools of Assam, started taking shape. With the inception of the first Assamese periodical named Orunodoi in 1846, this polyphony of voices found an organizational platform for ventilating disparate opinions about the state of the country. Organised resistance to the colonial language policy acquired steam in the early 1850s. When a Judge of the Sadar Dewani Adalat named A. J. Moffat Mills visited Assam in June 1853, a number of petitions and letters were dispatched for his consideration by various functionaries of the colonial machinery.

This paper seeks to analyse one such treatise submitted to Moffat Mills titled ‘Observations on the administration of the Province of Assam’ by Anandoram Dhekiyal Phukan in 1853. Read in conjunction with an 1855 tract ‘A Few Remarks on the Assamese Language and on Vernacular Education in Assam’ written by Phukan but under the pseudonym ‘A Native’, this paper hopes to explore the extent of negotiation between the private and the public in the life of a native official of the Empire. Does this attempted negotiation shed more light on the nature of Empire as it unraveled in early-colonial Assam? Are these proto-nationalist tracts critical milestones in the history of micro-nationalism in Assam? This paper seeks to locate these tracts and their author Anandaram Phukan within the volatile matrix of mid-nineteenth century Assam and examine their long shadow in the consolidation of a predominantly middle class nationalism in Assam.

Arnab Dasgupta, University of Delhiemail
Arnab Dasgupta teaches English at Ramjas College, University of Delhi. His areas of interest include colonial historiography in India and popular print cultures in early-colonial Assam. He is currently working on representations of Assam in prominent nineteenth century periodicals appearing in Assam and Bengal.

————————————————————

talk:

PLAY

 

download

————————————————————

questions:

PLAY

 

download

————————————————————

No Comments

Kimberley Rae Connor – Reading from the Heart Out: Chief Bromden Through Indigenous Eyes

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 26th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: 26 June 2010
Bristol, UK

Kimberley Rae Connor (University of San Francisco)

Reading from the Heart Out: Chief Bromden Through Indigenous Eyes

Recently I was presented an opportunity apply my knowledge of American minority literatures to the interpretation of American Indian cultures, ably led by Daniel Wildcat, a social scientist at Haskell Indian Nations University. From him I learned that re-writing empire means also re-reading empire.  Indeed, in the canon of American experience, acquiring the ability to not just read but interpret text has served a pivotal function in the development of many a protagonist.  Applied in a series of stages of increased vision, I offer a post-colonial reading of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that recasts the Indian protagonist not as a victim but as an individual relying on indigenous strategies to negotiate the world after empire. The essay unfolds the process of engaging in this kind of reconsideration, offering an experiment in reading an American classic after empire, culminating in the application of a method developed by an Indian writer to Kesey’s text. The novel and its Indian narrator can be understood from an indigenous point of view by applying the narrative logic behind N. Scott Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain. This text directs a way of reading Chief Bromden’s narrative from the multiple points of view by which he presents it but without the presumption of psychosis. Indeed, by rendering his tale as myth, memoir, and history, Bromden performs a supremely sane act.


Kimberley Rae Connor, University of San Francisco, email
Kimberly Rae Connor attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania where she received a B.A. in English in 1979. In 1981 she earned an M.A. in Literature and Theology at the University of Bristol, England, and completed her graduate studies at the University of Virginia, receiving a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature in 1991. Connor has steadily taught various courses in religion and literature, ethnic studies, and writing in a variety of academic settings. Currently she is Associate Professor at the University of San Francisco. Connor’s scholarship focuses on African American religious life and cultural production. She also applies the interpretative lens she acquired through the study of African American life to the cultural production of other marginalized populations, including gay men and women, people with AIDS, Japanese Americans, and Native Americans. She has published two books: Conversion and Visions in the Writings of African American Women and Imagining Grace: Liberating Theologies in the Slave Narrative Tradition that was selected by Choice as an outstanding academic title in the humanities for 2000. Connor has received grants for her work from The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Jesuit Foundation, and The Lilly and Luce Foundations. In addition to her books she has edited a book of essays on academic satire and published numerous articles, reviews, and reference book entries on topics related to African American religion and literature and multicultural pedagogy. Connor is a board appointed member of the Publications Committee of the American Academy of Religion for which she serves as editor of the Academy Series, a joint publishing venture of the American Academy of Religion and Oxford University Press.

—————————————————

talk:

PLAY

 

download

—————————————————

questions:

PLAY

 

download

—————————————————

No Comments

Cecilia Morgan – What a difference there is between this country and America”: Native Peoples’ Letter-writing Across the British Empire, 1800-1870

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 25th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: 25 June 2010
Bristol, UK

Cecilia Morgan (University of Toronto)
What a difference there is between this country and America”: Native Peoples’ Letter-writing Across the British Empire, 1800-1870

Literary and historical scholarship on Native peoples’ movements within, through, and beyond the settler colonies of early to mid-nineteenth century British North America has explored their production of published texts. The publications of the Cherokee-Scots-Mohawk soldier, explorer, and writer John Norton, and the Ojibwa Methodist ministers Kahkewaquonaby (Peter Jones) or Kahgegagabowh (George Copway) have been the subject of various analyses in Canadian and American Native history.  However, while noting these authors’ fluency in English, cultivated primarily because of their missionary education, familial relationships with British settlers, and negotiations with the colonial authorities, scholars have paid little sustained attention to another form of communication, the letter.  Yet in addition to their published works, highly visible individuals such as Jones and Norton left extensive collections of personal correspondence written to both family and friends on both sides of the Atlantic.  As well as those left by these adult men, letters written by mixed-race children of the transatlantic fur trade, sent to England and Scotland for education and training, are powerful – and sometimes very poignant – ‘scribblings from below’ that circulated between Britain, fur trade posts, the Red River colony, and Australia.

While letters exchanged through colonial and imperial networks have often been seen as repositories of information about colonial conditions, scholars such as Charlotte McDonald, Kate Teltscher, and Erika Rappaport have demonstrated the centrality of personal letters for British subjects across the Empire, particularly to the constitution of imperial networks and formations.  Focusing on those Native and mixed-race travelers who form the basis of my research, my paper will address a number of related, yet divergent, questions about the practices of letter writing.  For one, these collections of correspondence demonstrate the varied ways in which their authors appropriated and used the written word to help create and sustain their own imperial networks, ones in which the worlds of formal and domestic politics intermeshed.  As well, these varied bodies of correspondence illustrate the ongoing forging of colonial subjectivities and their relationships to the particular spaces inhabited and, to some extent, created by their authors within colonial and imperial formations.  In keeping with the suggested theme of performance, these letters also give us insights into their authors’ performances of ‘Native’ or ‘mixed-race’ subjectivities on multiple stages.  Furthermore, these letters were not just reflections of the latter: they also were performances in which their authors struggled to write and create themselves.

Cecilia Morgan, University of Toronto, email
Cecilia Morgan is a Professor in the History of Education Field, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, where she teaches gender and colonial/imperial history, Canadian gender history, and the history of commemoration and memory.  Her latest major publication is ‘A Happy Holiday’: English Canadians and Transatlantic Tourism, 1870-1930 (University of Toronto Press, 2008).  She is currently working on a SSHRC-funded study of Native and mixed-race peoples’ travels from British North America and Canada, 1800-1920.  Her other project examines the lives of a number of Canadian-born women who crafted transnational careers in theatre and other forms of performance, 1880-1940.  Her article on Irish-Canadian actress Margaret Anglin will appear in the collection, Transnational Lives: Biographies of Global Modernity, 1700-present, Angela Woollacott, Desley Deacon, and Penny Russell, eds. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).

———————————————————–

talk:

PLAY

 

download

———————————————————–

questions:

PLAY

 

download

———————————————————–

No Comments

Kirsty Reid – Writing racism on the streets of early nineteenth-century England

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 25th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: June 24-­26th 2010
Bristol, UK

Kirsty Reid (University of Bristol)
Writing racism on the streets of early nineteenth-century England

‘From his own mouth, this story is told
No doubt Sam Springer could much more unfold’

This paper opens with the story of Udolpho Samuel Springer, a runaway slave from St Kitts and an early nineteenth-century London street performer. In the late 1830s, Springer – also known as ‘Black Sampson’, ‘Sable Sam’, ‘Smutty Face’, ‘Santo Domingo Sampson’ and ‘The Black Indian Giant’ – told his life-story to a journalist called ‘Jack Rag’, who published it in a sixpenny periodical aimed at a popular, even street, market. In the course of his narrative, Springer related an account of how he had once talked his way around a crowd of men who were insisting on forcibly washing him white. The paper builds on this episode to consider the ways in which ideas about racial difference informed early nineteenth-century English street cultures more broadly. It begins by exploring two inter-related areas: firstly, the ways in which ideas about race figured in street literature, and particularly in hybrid oral/literary forms like broadside ballads; secondly, the extent to which other non-white itinerant performers (who were present in surprising numbers on the streets of nineteenth-century English cities) were like Springer able – or not – to talk, perform and even play their way around racism. It asks questions, for instance, about the widespread popularity of street musicians like ‘Black Billy Waters’ in these years. Having plumbed the depths of popular prejudice, the final section of the paper moves on to consider two episodes in which white labouring-class communities apparently sought to right racism in this period. Two cases of men of African and ex-slave descent who were tried and convicted in the English courts (one for theft, the other for the carnal knowledge of a young white girl) and sentenced to transportation to the Australian colonies will be considered. Their plight aroused strong feelings in their respective communities of Coventry and Hull, feelings that stimulated popular defence campaigns and mass petitions in which racism was cited as grounds for clemency. By drawing on a variety of archival, written and oral fragments, the paper seeks to explore some of the ways in which racism was variously inscribed, spoken, practiced, performed, negotiated and challenged on the streets of early nineteenth-century England.

Kirsty Reid, University of Bristol, email
Kirsty Reid is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Bristol and also currently a Sackler-Caird Research Fellow at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Her research has primarily focused on convict transportation to the Australian colonies and her publications in this area include the prize-winning Gender, crime and empire: convicts, settlers and the state in early colonial Australia (Manchester, 2007). She is currently working on a new book based on her research project at the National Maritime Museum: Australia bound: convict voyaging, 1788-1868. Some of the stories and scribblings that will make up that book will shortly be made available on her recently launched blog.

——————————————————–

talk:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————–

questions:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————–

accompanying images:

No Comments

Fiona Paisley – Britain’s Gun Bragging: Aboriginal and Black on the Streets of Interwar London

in Academic Service - Archive by on June 25th, 2010

Writing the Empire: Scribblings from Below

An international & interdisciplinary conference

Phillipe de Vigors, ‘Convicts letter writing at Cockatoo Island, New South Wales, 1849’
Reproduced by kind permission of the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney

 

Event Dates: 25 June 2010
Bristol, UK

Fiona Paisley, (Griffiths University)
Britain’s Gun Bragging: Aboriginal and Black on the Streets of Interwar London

In 1929 and 1930, the South Asian-Aboriginal advocate of international intervention into Aboriginal rights in Australia, Anthony Martin Fernando kept a diary of his daily life on the streets of London. In three tiny notebooks he wrote (in sometimes staccato form) of local and global matters that shaped his existence, from the daily brutality of racism in East London markets to what he saw as Britain’s criminal influence as an imperial power in the twentieth century. Although Fernando was not unique among Aboriginal activists in placing Aboriginal rights within a global context in the interwar period, he does appear to have been the first to do so from the streets of Europe and London. Since the first years of the century, Fernando had protested the treatment of Aborigines when in Western Australia: having assumed the role of witness to injustices towards Aboriginal people living on the outskirts of a small mining town in that state, he found it impossible to remain in his country of birth, and in middle age left Australia forever. Over the next forty years, Fernando worked in Europe and England, as a metalworker then hawker and trader before being interned during WWI in Austria. After the war, he was employed as a clerk/servant for barristers in central London from where he escaped periodically to Europe to call upon the Swiss people in one instance and the Vatican in another to intervene in Aboriginal affairs. Later in the 1920s, Fernando picketed Australia House, advising passers-by of their implication in genocidal practices in the distant colony, and took up the soapbox at Hyde Park Corner as a passionate speaker against the failure of the Church to defend the colonized. It is from the perspective of these latter protests that this paper focuses on Fernando’s notebooks as a remarkable window onto working class race politics in interwar London as well as a performative literature given their evident use by Fernando to rehearse his public discourse on the limits of modernity. The notebooks are powerfully imbued with the psychological and physiological stresses experienced by Fernando as ‘exile’ and ‘witness’, and express not simply the rational foundations of political protest but also their psychological and embodied wellsprings.

Fiona Paisley, Griffiths Universityemail
Fiona Paisley teaches cultural history at Griffith University. She is the author of Glamour in the Pacific: Cultural Internationalism and Race Politics in the Women’s Pan-Pacific (2009), Loving Protection? Australian Feminism and Aboriginal Women’s Rights, 1919-1939 (2000), co-edited Uncommon Ground: White Women in Aboriginal History (2005), and has written numerous articles and chapters concerning gender, social justice, and settler colonial history in the first half of the twentieth century. She edited a special issue of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History on settler colonialism in 2003.

——————————————————————-

talk:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————————-

questions:

PLAY

 

download

——————————————————————-

No Comments