Changing Frames: Identity and Citizenship of New Guineans of German Heritage during the Interwar Years

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    Abstract

    This paper investigates Melanesian-German history across national and regional boundaries, highlighting conflicting pressures on Pacific Islander-Germans during the interwar years; it brings to the fore a Kafkaesque web of contradictory transnational policy developments, legislation and radicalised government practices that impacted on the lives of German-New Guineans who lived in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea and as (transient) diasporas in Australia and National Socialist Germany. The assertions and challenges of Melanesian-Germans to externally ascribed racialised identities by German and Australian agencies are explored within the wider context of German-Pacific Islander experiences and linked to present-day remembering and representations. Whether the descendants of German fathers and New Guinean mothers were fellow citizens or enemy aliens, Germans, New Guineans, Europeans, natives, mixed-bloods or half-castes depended on the political circumstances and on who defined and framed their being and their rights.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)347-367
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Volume47
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012

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