Violence and Colonial Dialogue: The Australian-Pacific Indentured Labour Trade

TitleViolence and Colonial Dialogue: The Australian-Pacific Indentured Labour Trade
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsBanivanua-Mar, Tracey
Number of Pages286
PublisherUniversity of Hawaii Press
CityHonolulu, HI

During the post-abolition period, a trade in cheap and often cost-neutral labor flourished in the western Pacific, supplying tens of thousands of indentured laborers to the sugar industry of northeastern Australia. This book tells the story of its impact on the people who were traded. From the beaches and shallows of the Pacific’s frontiers, to the plantations and settlements of Queensland and beyond, a collective tale of the pioneers of today’s Australian South Sea Island community is told through an abundant and effective use of materials that characterize the colonial record, including police registers, court records, prison censuses, administrative reports, legislative debates, and oral histories. With a thematic focus on the physical violence that was central to the experience of people who were voluntarily or involuntarily recruited, the history that emerges is a powerful tale that is at once both tragic and triumphant. The book explores the brutality embedded in the structures of a colonial state, while attempting to recover the stories that such processes obscured.

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