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QMCECS Seminar: Rosalind Carr: 31 Jan 2017

January 25, 2017

Rosalind Carr

(University of East London)

‘A Landscape of Feeling’? Politeness, Violence and Masculinity in early New South Wales, c.1788-1815

The history of early New South Wales is typically told as the story of Australia’s foundation. Yet it was part of a global European world. Situating New South Wales within this world, the paper examines how British gentlemen educated in Enlightenment principles and polite social mores responded to a landscape they considered the “residence of savages”. Many historians assume that politeness led to a decline in violence. Yet early New South Wales tells a different story; there gentlemen were polite and violent. Diaries and other personal records from early NSW show that it was through their self-identification as polite that British naval officers and others of the elite differentiated themselves from convicts, soldiers and Eora people. This paper will explore how they established and maintained this polite identity, and will consider what this tells us about the role of politeness in the establishment and maintenance of power. Examining the influence of Scottish stadial theory and European Enlightenment concepts of sociability and friendship in White men’s enactment and understanding of ‘frontier’ violence, I will argue that politeness itself was violent and crucial to the imposition of British power in Eora country.

Chair: Amanda Vickery


All welcome

Time: 5.00-7.00pm.

Venue: Seminar Room, Lock-Keeper’s Cottage Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, London, E1 4NS.

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