The Gendered and Racialised Self who Claimed the Right to Self-Government

TitleThe Gendered and Racialised Self who Claimed the Right to Self-Government
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsLake, Marilyn
JournalJournal of Colonialism and Colonial History

Histories of democracy and colonial self-government [in Australia] distanced themselves from Aboriginal history, and also women’s history, because the histories of responsible government, manhood suffrage, self-government and sovereignty were not usually seen to have gendered or racial dimensions. Yet it is clear that understandings of race and gender were constitutive of conceptions of the self-governing subject in the nineteenth-century Australian colonies and elsewhere. A number of separate studies have documented the ways in which Aborigines and women were excluded from or denied political rights. Less historical attention has, however, been given to the disenfranchisement of Chinese colonists and few historians have investigated these processes within the same analytical frame with a focus on the subject of self-government. It is only by enquiring into the identity of the settler self who claimed the right to self-government—and the accompanying the processes of disenfranchisement as well as enfranchisement—that we are able to see the centrality of both gender and race to this tangled and uneven history. [Author]

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