Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

‘We Are Not... [A]boriginal... We Are Australian’: William Lane, Racism and the Construction of Aboriginality

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (1997), 72, (1), 35–49.

Abstract

This article explores representations of Aboriginality in a leading colonial paper, the Boomerang. It examines contradictions in William Lane’s colonialist discourse, exploring the semiotic tension between ‘noble’ and ‘ignoble’ ‘savage’ and the commodification of sexuality through the construction of the ‘primitive’. It also identifies a distinctive genre of frontier literature, noting the adaptation of tales of first contact (such as the Pocahontas saga) in an Australian context. Finally, it explores Lane’s ambivalent attitude towards the invasion of Aboriginal lands and his attempt to aesthetise nationalism by appropriating (and re-inventing) Aboriginal motifs and imagery. The article is focused on both written and visual sources and is informed by recent debate on the historicisation of whiteness and the construction of the ‘other’.

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Details

Author details

Scates, Bruce

Table of Contents

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