Emancipation Acts on the Oceanic Frontier? Intimacy, Diplomacy, Colonial Invasion and the Legal Traces of ‘Protection’ in the Bass Strait World, 1832

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Inspired by postcolonial and feminist scholarship and new work on the law and British humanitarian governance, along with recent considerations of the maritime and 'oceans connect' approaches, this article examines the apparent 'emancipation' acts of colonial officials and Quakers who turned to the law to retrieve high-status Aboriginal women from sealers on both sides of the Bass Strait oceanic frontier. Foregrounding issues of Indigenous law and political diplomacy alongside those of Europeans, and attending to questions of intimacy, gendered governance, protection and the law, the article considers how these variously intersected in an 'anomalous legal zone' - the watery Bass Strait world stretching between Van Diemen's Land and the Australian mainland. In paying attention to Bass Strait as one oceanic and colonial legalfield, and the appeals to law to address the problem of abduction, the article argues that higher orders of diplomacy were at play in a precarious period when the rapid colonisation of Aboriginal lands, negotiation and the stabilisation of incendiary frontier violence were necessary. Here, the attempted legal regulation of intimacies on colonial peripheries was directly connected to issues of land, invasion, diplomacy and treaty making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-44
Number of pages25
JournalLaw & History
Volume4
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Emancipation Acts
  • Oceanic Frontier
  • Bass Strait
  • 1832
  • Legal Traces of ‘Protection’

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