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Conciliation – Compulsion – Conversion

British Attitudes Towards Indigenous Peoples 1763-1814

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Merete Falck Borch

This work is an examination of British imperial policy and attitudes towards the original inhabitants in the American colonies, New South Wales and the Cape colony of South Africa. A comparative study of the formative phase in this area of policy, it covers the period between the mid-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, examining and comparing the development of policy in each of the three geographical regions and tracing the legal and intellectual context within which this policy took shape. It suggests an important shift of attitude towards indigenous peoples in the course of the period covered – a change that had a major impact on political perceptions and policy formation.

Caught Between Cultures

Women, Writing & Subjectivities

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Edited by Elizabeth Russell

The essays in this collection ( on Canada, the USA, Australia and the UK) question and discuss the issues of cross-cultural identities and the crossing of boundaries, both geographical and conceptual. All of the authors have experienced cross-culturalism directly and are conscious that positions of ‘double vision’, which allow the / to participate positively in two or more cultures, are privileges that only a few can celebrate. Most women find themselves “caught between cultures”. They become involved in a day-to-day struggle, in an attempt to negotiate identities which can affirm the self and, at the same time, strengthen the ties which unites the self with others. Theoretical issues on cross-culturalism, therefore, can either liberate or constrict the /. The essays here illustrate how women's writing negotiates this dualism through a colourful and complex weaving of words - thoughts and experiences both pleasurable and painful - into texts, quilts, rainbows. The metaphors abound. The connecting thread through their writing and, indeed, in these essays, is the concept of ‘belonging’, a theoretical/emotional composite of be-ing and longing. ‘Home’, too, assumes a variety of meanings; it is no longer a static geographical place, but many places. It is also a place elsewhere in the imagination, a mythic place of desire linked to origin.
Policies of multiculturalism can throw up more problems than they solve. In Canada, the difficulties surrounding the cross-cultural debate have given rise to a state of “messy imbroglio”. Notions of authenticity move dangerously close to essentialist identities. ‘Double vision’ is characteristic of peoples who have been uprooted and displaced, such as Australian Aboriginal writers of mixed race abducted during childhood. ‘Passing for’ black or white is full of complications, as in the case of Pauline Johnson, who passed as an authentic Indian. People with hyphenated citizenship (such as Japanese-Canadian) can be either free of national ties or trapped in subordination to the dominant culture; in these ‘visible minorities’, it is the status of being female (or coloured female) that is so often ultimately rendered invisible.
Examination of Canadian anthologies on cross-cultural writing by women reveals a crossing of boundaries of gender and genre, race and ethnicity, and, in some cases, national boundaries, in an attempt to connect with a diasporic consciousness. Cross-cultural women writers in the USA may stress experience and unique collective history, while others prefer to focus on aesthetic links and literary connections which ultimately silence difference. Journeying from the personal space of the / into the collective space of the we is exemplified in a reading of texts by June Jordan and Minnie Bruce Pratt. For these writers identity is in process. It is a painful negotiation but one which can transform knowledge into action.

Women's Movement

Escape as Transgression in North American Feminist Fiction

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Heidi Slettedahl MacPherson

Women’s Movement critically explores the transgressive potential of feminist escape narratives and argues that they are, almost by definition, radically different from paradigmatic male escape narratives. While definitions of escape are necessarily broad, they have too often excluded the ambiguous escape – the escape most closely associated with the female. Indeed, feminist escape narratives often resist a happy ending, and Women’s Movement argues that these narrative closures reflect the changing face of feminism, as it sheds its old certainties, is faced with a monumental “backlash” and is refigured as the potentially less threatening “postfeminism”.
Resisting the automatic association of “escape” with “escapist,” Women’s Movement analyzes male adventure and quest narratives, including Moby-Dick, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Blood Meridian, and Deliverance, before turning to a range of feminist texts. While being the first book to give critical attention to some postfeminist novels, Women’s Movement more often acts as a channel for offering different ways of approaching familiar feminist texts, including, among others, Marian Engel’s Bear, Atwood’s Surfacing and The Handmaid’s Tale, Joan Barfoot’s Gaining Ground and Dancing in the Dark, Anne Tyler’s Earthly Possessions and Ladder of Years, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying and Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners.