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Native to the Nation: Disciplining Landscapes and Bodies in Australia

Series: Borderlines
Volume: 21
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
  • Book Info
    Native to the Nation
    Book Description:

    Focusing on Australia, Allaine Cerwonka examines the physical and narrative spatial practices by which people reclaim territory in the wake of postcolonial claims to land by indigenous people and new immigration of “foreigners.” Native to the Nation provides a multi-sited ethnography of two communities in Melbourne, allowing us to see how bodies are managed and nations physically constructed in everyday confrontations.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9594-2
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction: Roots, Dislocations, and Origin Stories
    (pp. 1-52)

    In a suburb of Melbourne, a group of settler Australians¹ spends a mild autumn Saturday afternoon as volunteers, working to clear the Dandenong Ranges of offensive exotic (nonindigenous) species such as blackberries and willow trees, introduced to Australia during European settlement. In a few weeks, this voluntary community group will build boardwalks and plant “natives” (indigenous species), such as nodding salt bush(Einadia nutans)ground cover and a grove of silver banksia(Banksia marginata)trees, which have been “just taken over” by the exotics, creating an ecological imbalance. Volunteers and their supporters frame their activities as an effort to redress...

  5. 1 A Picturesque Nation for a “Barren” Continent
    (pp. 53-102)

    The reterritorialization of the settler Australian state through the taming of natural landscapes that this chapter examines took place within the neighborhood of East Melbourne. Although the East Melbourne Garden Club was located on the border of the city’s central business district, members nevertheless defined nation and class in the shifting landscape of republican politics and multiculturalism in Australia.

    The suburb was divided from the heart of the city’s financial and government district by the Fitzroy Gardens, whose original path design in the late nineteenth century, it was rumored, was arranged to form the shape of the Union Jack. In...

  6. 2 Going Native
    (pp. 103-150)

    Although most members of the East Melbourne Garden Club were firm loyalists to “exotic” plants (imported species) and had a penchant for the English cottage garden form for their own urban gardens, some members were very interested in the ecological push to plant “native” (indigenous) plants. Similar to that of many people who promote native gardening in other parts of Australia and worldwide,¹ the aesthetic of native garden proponents was articulated in terms of a larger philosophical agenda about environmental protection. In Australia and among members of the East Melbourne Garden Club, however, native Australian gardening was also very heavily...

  7. 3 Policing the Body Politic: Mapping Bodies and Space in Fitzroy
    (pp. 151-196)

    The intersection of geography, criminality, and national identity is a particularly rich nexus when considering Australia. Historically, these issues played an important role in defining Australian national identity and Australia’s relationship to the British Empire in its transition from a penal colony to a nation-state in 1901 . We will see that these three issues continue to animate Australians’ renegotiation of their relationship to Britain, albeit in new ways, and inform some of the ways people are defining Australia’s proximity to Asia.

    The Fitzroy Police Station community delineated political identity in everyday place making. And because the police function as...

  8. 4 The Poor White Trash of Asia: Criminality and Australia in the International Landscape
    (pp. 197-230)

    The nation-state’s geographical relationship to political communitiesbeyondits borders is an important component in defining the collective political identity of the peoplewithinnational borders. Australia’s identity has been defined through spatial practices that position the Australian nation-state in the larger international community. This chapter analyzes how people’s efforts to define the nation, historically and today, are strongly linked to positioning Australia geographically in the international landscape. This process is undertaken both within Australia by nationals and by nonnationals beyond its borders. Historically, people have defined Australia’s identity as a modern nation and as a white nation by locating...

  9. Conclusion: On the Margins of Nation
    (pp. 231-236)

    Despite almost thirty years of bipartisan promotion and sweeping popular support for multiculturalism as a narrative of national identity, the practices examined in this study nevertheless still assumed and reproduced a dominant white Australian national order. In this respect many of the spatial practices in East Melbourne and among the Fitzroy police illustrate and support Ghassan Hage’s reading of a dominant nationalist subject position that presumes to be entitled to manage and worry about “third-world-looking people.” Hage discusses how this subject position represents a kind of spatial management. One incident Hage uses in his analysis involves the police. One of...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 237-252)
  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 253-266)
  12. Index
    (pp. 267-269)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 270-270)