the contemporary pacific · fall 2003 dedicated to Gananath Obeyesekere, a contributor whose work is taken to be emblematic of the strain in postcolonial studies that brings together literary analysis, historical contextualization, and anthropological understanding. In Part 1 (Circus, Trade & Spectacle), Paul Turnbull examines the circumstances in which phrenologists acquired the skulls of Australian Aboriginal people, sometimes illegally, in order to answer a colonial question of the 1820s: What was the destiny of indigenous Australians in the wake of settler expansion? Turnbull shows that the phrenological knowledge gained made a scientific contribution to the antiquarianism of the day, setting the course for colonial ambitions concerning land and culture. For historians of racial thought, this is a chapter in a larger story of the relations between European sciences of humanity and colonial aspirations in Australia. Chris Healy documents the practice of issuing breastplates to be worn by indigenous people in Australia as a kind of passport. Distributed by all state governments (except Tasmania and South Australia) from 1815 until the 1930s, the plates conferred "titles" on their wearers. In Healy's view, the inscriptions also tell a story of European domination and subjugation and were a signifier of the
The Contemporary Pacific – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 7, 2003
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