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Disputed Territories

Disputed Territories: Land, Culture and Identity in Settler Societies

David Trigger
Gareth Griffiths
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 340
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  • Book Info
    Disputed Territories
    Book Description:

    Disputed Territories investigates the significance of land for contesting cultural identities in comparable settler societies. In the regions of Australasia and southern Africa, European visions of landscape and nature have engaged with southern hemisphere environments and the cultures of indigenous peoples. Amid conflicts over land as a material resource, there has also been an intellectual contest over the aesthetic, iconic and cultural meanings of natural forms and species.Arising from a programme of seminars held at The University of Western Australia, this collection of eminent international authors assembles contributions from anthropology, geography, history and literary studies. The combination of diverse methods and theoretical approaches establishes the ways that land and nature constitute disputed territories in the mind, as well as material resources subject to pragmatic negotiations.

    eISBN: 978-988-220-103-3
    Subjects: Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of illustrations
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. List of contributors
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    David Trigger and Gareth Griffiths
  6. Introduction: Disputed territories: Land, culture and identity
    (pp. 1-28)
    David S. Trigger

    What has been the significance of land and place for the; construction of cultural identity in settler societies? The contributors to this volume address this question in the context of European migration to the southern hemisphere regions of Australasia and southern Africa. As suggested in the title of the book, these may be regarded as ‘disputed territories’, albeit among identity groups that have become culturally blended in significant respects through the historical processes of colonialism.

    The chapters focus on the making of identity in two settler regions with similar yet distinctive colonial histories. In each region, European visions of landscape...

  7. 1 Setting roots in motion: Genealogy, geography and identity
    (pp. 29-52)
    Catherine Nash

    The Heraldic Office of Ireland, which is formally charged by the state to archive, research, validate and authorise civic and family crests, coats of arms and confirm lineage for the descendants of Ireland’s Gaelic, Anglo-Norman and Anglo-Irish nobility, is an institution that reflects both the complex colonial history of Ireland and contemporary post-colonial cultural politics.¹ It is also a key site in a network of places linked by the travels and desires of those who search for Irish roots. In its Victorian building on Kildare Street in Dublin, the flags of the present-day verified descendants of Irish chiefs hang from...

  8. 2 Hearing grass, thinking grass: Postcolonialism and ecology in Aotearoa-New Zealand
    (pp. 53-80)
    Michèle D. Dominy

    In Monday’s warriors, novelist Maurice Shadbolt represents cultural encounters between Maori prophet and warrior Titokowaru and Colonel Whitmore as ecological encounters, juxtaposing the insurgence of indigenous vegetation with the growth of settlers’ grass. While Titokowaru and his followers encamp in Taranaki’s ‘insurgent vegetation’ (p. 1), acres of forest burn through the pages of Shadbolt, and we find colonists ‘scattering grass seed in the soot’ (p. 111) because ‘they think grass’ (p. 116). As these two geographical configurations simultaneously collided and colluded — ecologically, socially, militarily — the cultivation of grass by colonists and eventually by natives, and its extensions into pastoralism and...

  9. 3 From habitat to wilderness: Tasmania’s role in the politicising of place
    (pp. 81-108)
    Roslynn Haynes

    ‘In wildness is the preservation of the world’. Thoreau’s much-quoted words, delivered at the Concord Lyceum in 1851, raise complex questions of particular relevance to Tasmania, the southernmost state of Australia. The terms ‘wildness’ and the now more fashionable ‘wilderness’ do not define a fixed entity ‘out there’, but represent a dynamic construct fashioned by socio-political and ideological factors and by the discourse of power, which gives them currency. Once established in a particular context, each ‘wilderness’, paradigm resists new interpretations for a time and can be used as a political tool to silence dissenting views and alternative discourses before...

  10. 4 Landscape and ideology: Picturing Sydney Cove 200 years ago
    (pp. 109-130)
    Ian McLean

    Historians typically rely on texts, not pictures. In this chapter, I want to ask what historical information pictures can tell us. I will be looking at pictures made 200 years ago of Sydney Cove, Australia, by English artists in the first years of the penal colony. The obvious information that historians, as opposed to art historians, might garner from such pictures is an understanding of the urban development of Sydney in the late eighteenth century (e.g. see McCormick 1987). However, I will suggest that such pictures do much more than this. They show the ideologies at work in the early...

  11. 5 Portable landscapes: Thomas Mofolo and John Bunyan in The Broad and the Narrow Way
    (pp. 131-154)
    Isabel Hofmeyr

    In 1869, Reverend Tiyo Soga, an employee of the Glasgow Missionary Society in the eastern Cape in present day South Africa, spoke to some men who were enquiring about Christianity. In the ensuing conversation, Soga discussed the idea of the broad and the narrow way. That evening, Soga (1983: 40) noted in his journal:

    the ideas of the narrow way and the narrow gate and of the broad gate, impressed their minds and led to a continuation of some interest. They said they liked the narrow way and they never knew that they were in any other — in fact they...

  12. 6 The art of country: Aesthetics, place, and Aboriginal identity in north-west Australia
    (pp. 155-186)
    Valda Blundell

    In the late 1930s, the anthropologist Andreas Lommel worked among Aboriginal people in the Kimberley region of northern Australia, where he recorded beliefs and practices associated with the area’s spectacular rock art. His informants told him that their ancestors, the Wandjina, had travelled across the earth during the primeval period they called Lalai, creating rivers, mountains and other features of the landscape, before leaving their ‘imprints’ at rock shelters in this ruggedly picturesque area of Australia (Lommel 1997 [1952]).¹ Lommel’s informants also described the ceremonies where men ‘repainted’ the Wandjina so that the rains would come and the world would...

  13. 7 Meaning and metaphor in Yolngu landscapes, Arnhem Land, northern Australia
    (pp. 187-206)
    Neville White

    In the Arafura Swamp region of north-east Arnhem Land, we have, as far as it is possible to tell, an unbroken link between tradition-orientated Aboriginal people and one of the most important wetland complexes in Australia¹ — an area that is comparatively undisturbed by introduced animals and plants, and by outside economic interests. Many of the Aboriginal people living there have never left their traditional lands. They continue to rely partly on the land and its, resources for their survival. Customary burning practices and other resource management techniques are maintained as part of an extensive corpus of traditional ecological knowledge that...

  14. 8 Genocide by cartography: Secrets and lies in maps of the south-eastern African interior, 1830–1850
    (pp. 207-232)
    Norman Etherington

    For a variety of reasons, historians long neglected the study of maps. Some of the reasons were practical. Archival collections tended to place maps on different shelves from written texts. It was, for example, a longstanding practice of Britain’s Public Record Office to remove maps from dispatches and to send them for filing in the Map Room. The appeal of old maps to collectors made them expensive. Big maps were unwieldy to study and hard to copy. A large map reduced to the size of a printed page in a book could be impossible to read, even with a magnifying...

  15. 9 Contesting cultural landscapes in South Africa and Australia: Comparing the significance of the Kalahari Gemsbok and Uluṟu - Kata Tjuṯa national parks
    (pp. 233-268)
    Jane Carruthers

    The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in southern Africa (now incorporated into the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Conservation Area) and Uluṟu -Kata Tjuṯa National Park in Central Australia provide case studies of sites of contestation on the interface between land/place and culture/identity (see Figs. 9.1 and 9.2). This comparison is productive because national parks are favoured spaces for reclaiming — perhaps even reinventing — the cultures of formerly disadvantaged peoples, as well as for publicising aspects of Indigenous knowledge to a wider audience. In both places, the process of overlapping symbolic landscapes and the transformation of ‘space’ into ‘place’ occurred in a context of changing...

  16. 10 Ground designs and the new ichnology
    (pp. 269-296)
    Paul Carter

    Disputed territories are not only the expression of competing cultural frameworks; they are graphic artefacts. The textual production of operational space has been a growing preoccupation of human geographers. Maps construct spaces in advance of their empirical exploration. Their universal projections represent a historical design, a template of future occupation. This much is widely studied and illustrated. Much less attention, though, is given to the graphic conventions themselves. The history of maps is the narrative of the progressive spatialisation of time: ultimately, the ideally continuous lines, the bounded areas and the intervals impose a digital economy on the earth’s surface....

  17. Afterword: Apprehending ‘disputed territories’
    (pp. 297-316)
    Gareth Griffiths

    The task of an afterword here is complicated — perhaps enriched is a better word — by the fact that there are a number of differing disciplines engaged in this volume. In considering what the authors say about various ‘disputed territories’ in settler societies, I wish to focus particularly on several different methodological approaches evident throughout the book. As David Trigger has discussed in the Introduction, our joint vision for the collection has encompassed such cross-disciplinary debates, as well as the intention of investigating the significance of land and place in disputed territories.

    In the context of this volume, it is crucial...

  18. Index
    (pp. 317-322)