Southern worlds, globes, and spheres
in Worlding the south

The introduction to this collection proposes a new literary history of the Anglophone southern hemisphere in the long nineteenth century. Drawing on the methodologies of ‘worlding’, southern theory, hemispheric analysis, and Indigenous studies, it rethinks the conceptual paradigms, periodisations, and canons of the nineteenth-century ‘British world’ by focusing on southern cultural perspectives in multiple regional centres from Cape Town to the Pacific Islands. Adopting a perspective that Isabel Hofmeyr has called a ‘southern latitude’, it argues for the importance of considering the shared and interconnected histories of imperialism, colonialism, and structural inequality that shape the literatures and experiences of the peoples of the southern colonies, deprioritising Eurocentric orientations and identities in favour of southern viewpoints and south–south relations across a complex of oceanic and terracentric spaces. Considering each of the chapters within the collection as part of a related unit of literary and cultural analysis, its aim is to produce a more inclusive literary model of the nineteenth century that takes into account southern histories of cultural estrangement and marginalisation and draws its proof-texts from so-called ‘minor’ and ‘minority’ writers, as well as identifying shared thematic concerns, literary forms and tropes, and aesthetic and stylistic practices that are distinctive to the region.

Linked by the histories, geographies, and legacies of ‘imperial desire’, the countries and peoples of the southern hemisphere have long been shaped by their approximate otherness.1 Defined and redefined by shifting European cartographic visions of unknown and unknowable lands inspiring exploration, discovery, conquest, and colonisation from at least the sixteenth century onwards, the qualities of distance and difference ascribed to those southern topographies by a northern gaze have more recently been remapped on to the south as an ‘indexical category’ and conceptual space.2 No longer characterised solely or necessarily by hemispheric location, this south is perceived as the antithesis or antimony to the north’s modernity, as belated, inverted, nugatory, and even pathological in its relation to the time/space coordinates exported by Euro-American capital and territorial expansion.3 Whether the American South, the Mediterranean South, or the Global South, the south is nearly always an ‘uncanny temporal figure’, implying a vertical hierarchy of ‘above and below’ and ‘centrality and marginality’ based on the apparently normative qualities of ‘free-market democracy, modernity and its absence’.4 As Harry Harootunian reminds us, this unevenness within the global field is not an incidental or temporary condition but rather a functional outcome of a long history of imperialist and/or neo-imperialist capitalist accumulation, requiring us to reinstate the ‘mixed temporalities’ and ‘historical uncanny’ that have been ‘written over’ by histories of nation statehood, modernity, and globalisation.5

Nowhere have these progressive, familiarising strategies been more apparent than in the literary histories and national canons of the historically ‘British’ southern settler colonies of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, where enduring myths of Anglo-Saxon cultural exceptionalism and national self-containment have persistently overwritten the uncomfortable legacies and enduring realities of settler colonialism.6 Driven by the rise of Black Consciousness, Indigenous activism, and anti-racism movements, revisionary scholarship in multiple disciplines over the last fifty years has penetrated these colonial amnesias and national characterologies in ways that have brought to the fore the speculative nature of settler colonies as sites of ‘uneasy emergent’ modernities, as well as foregrounding the histories, genealogies, and cultures of Indigenous, Black, and other non-European peoples.7 In the literary field, a number of studies have contested foundational settler myths and reinstated racialised silences within national historiographies and canons. Yet aside from pioneering works by African nationalist, Black Consciousness, and Indigenous studies scholars, few have radically questioned the periodisations and conceptualisations of long-standing literary histories of the ‘British world’, or sought to move outside either distinctive national paradigms or a transnational turn limited primarily to dialectical or comparative relations with Britain and/or America.8 Despite some significant new work resituating extra- and non-European southern geographies, temporalities, and histories, the literary histories of the southern hemisphere remain largely nation-centred and globally marginal.9

Beginning with the premise that our current literary histories and conceptual paradigms must take into account neglected histories of southern cultural estrangement and marginalisation, this collection focuses on the literary cultures of the British-controlled settler colonies in the southern hemisphere from 1780 to 1920. While our emphasis is primarily on the periods, practices, and ideologies traditionally designated ‘Romantic’ and ‘Victorian’ in British literary studies, we extend our timeframe to the first two decades of the twentieth century in order to test the relevance, longevity, and/or belatedness of these periodisations and paradigms in a number of extra-European contexts and cultures. More specifically, the collection encompasses the English-language, transliterated, and translated literatures of Indigenous, Black, mixed-race, and European communities in British colonies and settlements in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, the South Pacific Islands, and the Straits Settlements, as well as the diasporic and migratory cultures of the Indian, South Atlantic, South Pacific, and Southern Oceans, including those of Malay, Chinese, and Indian diasporas. Although a single edited collection cannot hope to adequately cover the richness of émigré, diasporic, settler, mixed-race, and Indigenous literary traditions over such a wide geographical space and historical time, we offer eighteen intra- and/or inter-colonial chapters that reflect the demographics, size, and scale of cultural production in various southern colonies and settlements: eight on (or partly on) the Australian colonies, three on New Zealand, three on South Africa, two on the Pacific Islands, one on British Guiana, and one on the Straits Settlements. In each case, these chapters serve as gestures towards the various literary cultures of the southern colonies while nonetheless seeing both colony and nation as emergent, permeable, and hybrid, rather than natural or normative, categories in the nineteenth century.10 As Christopher Bayly has pointed out, ‘nations’ are ‘not originary elements to be “transcended”’ by transnational forces but rather the complex (and often late) products of those very forces.11

Without attempting anything close to complete hemispheric coverage or suggesting that these chapters have any kind of representative status, our aims are, first, to bring under a synoptic framework new scholarship on the literatures and cultures of the southern colonies and to consider methodologies, from worlding to hemispheric analysis, that might allow us to decentre nation-based accounts of literary scholarship in favour of more permeable oceanic and place-based ones; second, to reflect on the southern colonies’ interconnected histories of imperialism, settler and mercantile colonialism, and structural inequality; and, third, to collectively elucidate a set of shared thematic concerns, literary forms and tropes, and aesthetic and stylistic practices that are distinctive (although not always exclusive) to the region. The collection’s focus on the British southern colonies as an analytical field is not, therefore, intended primarily in the ‘possessive sense’ – as in, the colonies belonging to Britain – or even in the ‘adjectival mode’ as a means of describing ‘elective, hyphenated forms of belonging’, but rather as a way of illuminating complex sets of historical and cultural relationships or correspondences, including shared histories of estrangement, violence, indenture and unfree labour, and the frictions of ethnological encounter, as well as more positive qualities of interconnection, relationality, mobility, syncretism, and circuitry engendered by relative geographic proximity, transnational and transcultural processes, and shared cultural attitudes.12 This methodological position revises current approaches to British world studies by uncoupling the southern settler and island colonies from studies of settler colonialism in North America, while simultaneously de-prioritising imperial orientations and identities in favour of southern perspectives and south–south relations across a complex of southern oceanic and terracentric spaces.13

Although we acknowledge the linguistic and other diversities of the southern colonies, our emphasis on literature in English reflects, as Tamara Wagner has put it, ‘the beginning of a global spread of “Anglophone” writing … that “the nineteenth century literary world took for granted”’ but that we can now see involved a range of ‘suppressions, substitutions, and coercions’ that turned English literature into an ‘increasingly global phenomenon’.14 Concerned as much with these suppressions and coercions as with the opportunity to consider literary history and genre formation on a hemispheric scale, our goal is to ‘open up wider questions about the definition and status of literature in English’ and to consider the ways in which the foundation of English-language national canons silenced other languages and cultural forms.15 Although the collection primarily explores Anglophone writing and thereby risks reproducing ‘the very dominance of English culture and imperial power [it] sets out to question’, we understand such writing as existing within a multilinguistic field. We also take seriously Sharon Marcus’ call for a truly transnational (as opposed to a merely comparative) approach to literary studies: ‘when used rigorously [transnational] refers to countries whose power relations are asymmetrical’ and explores ‘how those asymmetries “become the conditions of possibility of new subjects”’.16

While not all the individual chapters collected here are transnational in their coverage or scope, we see the collection – when taken as a whole – as addressing the asymmetries inherent to Marcus’ rethinking of transnationalism. This kind of transnationalism rests not so much on comparative studies concerned with ‘national distinctiveness’, even ones that study ‘variations and interactions among national literatures’, or on new imperial histories that see imperial and colonial histories as ‘interdependent’ and ‘mutually constitutive’, but rather on recent offerings from postcolonial, world-literary, and Indigenous studies that think ‘in less imperialist terms’ and resist ‘re-inforc[ing] the old imperial hegemony, subsuming all history within the boundaries of the imperial relationship’ to which comparative accounts can still be susceptible.17 While acknowledging the importance of pioneering work on cross-cultural, transnational, and lateral literary exchanges within empire by Elleke Boehmer and others, we primarily focus in this collection on southern subjectivities, orientations, and perspectives – what we call ‘worldings’ – rather than on south–south exchange, seeing the collection as the first step towards a more fully integrated hemispheric account of southern literary history – one that must take into account epistemic specificity as much as it does regional connection.18

The primary significance of the collection therefore lies in its attempt to rethink British or metropolitan perspectives and to reorient the literary history and canons of the nineteenth-century British world in order to better account for the varied and sometimes competing perspectives and literary cultures of the southern colonies and their peoples. Conceptualising a shared history of English-language and translated writing from this part of the southern hemisphere has the ‘heuristic potential’ to challenge both the cohesion of national literary histories of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa (themselves often seen as secondary to a ‘primary framework’ of ‘English literature’) and the ‘homogenizations of overarching categories’ such as British world and Anglosphere.19 It also has the potential to reassess critical constructions and periodisations such as Romantic and Victorian by showing how minor, marginal, neglected, and/or non-canonical writers can be central to a different kind of canon – one that is predicated less on metropolitan literary histories and their turning points, or even on the idea of a global ‘imperial commons’, and more on southern cultural productions in multiple regional centres from Cape Town to Dunedin.20

How, we ask, can we construct a new and collective literary history of the southern colonies over the long nineteenth century and why should we want to do so? What is to be gained by thinking collectively about the literatures and cultures of the colonial south? And what can a more regionally specific study of the southern colonies add to British world perspectives that generally include Canada and the United States within their frames of reference? How, too, does our view of literatures traditionally seen within national contexts change when we view them from a regional and/or hemispheric perspective? How do transnational or comparative studies focused on an east–west or north–south perspective alter when seen from south–south perspectives? How might such a literary history challenge our current literary periodisations and conceptualisations of the nineteenth-century British world? And how can we learn from Indigenous and diasporic perspectives in ways that are both intertwined with and independent of what has been called the ‘settler aesthetic’?21

The impetus behind these questions lies in the recent interest in the legacies of colonial knowledge production and related understandings of southness as part of an ethical ‘re-territorialising of global intellectual production’.22 Contemporary theory, scholarship, and activism across multiple disciplines has used the south as a powerful way of writing against Eurocentric and transatlantic ideas of knowledge production and the economic dominance of the north, rejecting in particular ‘imperial framings that disavow thinking in and from those areas being studied and compared’ and/or that view the south primarily as an abstraction, reflection, or projection of European imaginaries.23 In attempting to understand what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls the ‘epistemologies of the south’ as part of both a larger critique of Eurocentric modernity and a longer, unfinished history of emigration, imperialism, and settler and other colonialisms, this collection looks back to the nineteenth century as a way of understanding the genesis of today’s uneven world field and the Global South’s ‘entangled political geographies of dispossession and repossession’.24

A recurring argument in many of our chapters is that the south as we know it today was to a large extent produced at the intersection of nineteenth-century literary, cartographic, political, legal, and economic discourses rather than being a pre-defined spatial, ontological, and/or conceptual category.25 From the outright fictions of Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s ‘insider’ positioning in A Letter from Sydney (1829) to the ‘speculative geographies’ of James Vetch and Thomas J. Maslen, imperial cartographies and other mutually informing discursive fields began to fill ostensibly ‘blank’ or ‘absent’ southern spaces, making southern toponymy ‘a vehicle of … collective wish-fulfilment’ where ‘names verbalized images of geographical pathos, bridging physical space with imagined communities’.26 As John Eperjesi has shown in his study of the American Pacific, the ‘imperialist imaginary’ played a crucial role in producing culturally constructed zones that later become classified geographies.27 Oceania, for example, was successively imagined and reimagined as the gendered, racialised, and erogenous site of what the Samoan-New Zealand poet and scholar Selina Tusitala Marsh’s poem in our epigraph calls ‘dark feminine instinct’ (stanza II, line 31), where ‘skin colour and physical organization’ not only elaborated ‘region-wide racial taxonomies’ but also encouraged an ‘interest in racial plasticity, environmental adaptation, mixing or miscegenation, and blurring of racial boundaries’.28

This constructed south and its emerging regionalisms and interregionalisms (Oceania, Australasia, Indian Ocean, Malay Archipelago, Pacific Islands, etc.) was itself never unitary or self-contained but existed alongside, and was contingent upon, the other southern worlds lived and imagined by Indigenous and diasporic peoples, which form part of what Anne Salmond has called ‘cosmo-diversity’ or what James Clifford has described, in an argument against absolutist and rigid oppositions in defining Indigenous experiences, as ‘composite “worlds” that share the planet with others overlapping and translating’.29 Yet as David Chandler and Julian Reid have argued in their trenchant critique of ontopolitics in the neoliberal context, taking alterity seriously means acknowledging not just that there are multiple ontologies or that Indigenous communities constitute different (albeit relational) worlds, but also that they ‘world’ or enact those worlds in different ways. This requires, as the Aboriginal activist and scholar Mary Graham and the Aboriginal anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose have noted, the extension of ‘ontopolitical ethics’ into ‘the realm of the more-than-human’ and the collapse of nature/culture and subject/object divides.30 Moreover, as Ivan Lacy has pointed out, both world-building and place-making are fundamentally tied to the dynamic and emergent processes of subjectivity and identity formation: ‘as places change, so too do identities’.31

Following Lacy, Clifford, and others, we understand the various peoples and communities of the southern colonies as existing on a ‘continuum’ and/or as occupying a ‘sometimes fraught borderland’ between ‘mutually constitutive’ Indigenous and diasporic affiliations and identities, as well as between European and non-European ones.32 The chapters in this collection therefore aim to unsettle ‘the analytical metaphor of … cross-cultural collision’ by considering experiences of acculturation and transculturation, looking at the ways in which complex processes of ‘adjustment’ and ‘recreation’ can ‘allow for new, vital, and viable configurations to arise out of the clash of cultures and violence of colonial and neo-colonial appropriations’. We nonetheless remain alert to the asymmetries of those configurations, and to the ongoing necessity for non-European and Indigenous-centred perspectives that emerge from within local communities.33

Southern latitudes, hemispheric methods, and Indigenous reworlding

Drawing on north–south hemispheric approaches that have decentred the United States as a field of analysis in American studies, the collection focuses on what Isabel Hofmeyr has called a ‘southern latitude’, primarily creating ways of seeing parallels and lines of connection across the southern hemisphere.34 It therefore involves a way of rethinking the contours of literary production by replacing the ‘dominant circuit of cultural production, running from north to south’ and west to east with south–north routes, as well as with ‘horizontal programmes’ that include south–south routes.35 In particular, we move away from considering ‘the relations of new-world cultures to their old-world counterparts’ towards an emphasis on the literatures and cultures of the new world.36 If our approach is more focused on southern perspectives than on southern comparisons or exchanges, it nonetheless shares with American hemispheric studies an analogous desire to reconfigure, or at least to seriously question, the privileged place of Britain in British world studies, as well as similarly arguing for affinities and parallels between the literatures and experiences of the peoples of the colonial south. It therefore moves away from ‘nationalist claims for the endogamous production of cultural forms’ into a cultural understanding defined by a ‘regional logic’.37

In encouraging a rethinking of a shared and interregional literary history from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific islands, and as well as from Indigenous and diasporic spaces, our aim is not just to challenge western and northern conceptions of knowledge production that tend to see literary forms and ideas as radiating outwards from the metropolitan cores of empires to its peripheries, but also to multiply the loci, platforms, and multi-directional circuits on which alternative worldviews might emerge. We aim, too, to produce a more ‘geographically inclusive’ literary model of the nineteenth century, with ‘proof-texts’ drawn from so-called ‘minor’ and ‘minority’ writers from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, South America, and the Pacific Islands, and from Māori, Pasifika, Aboriginal, African, Indian, Chinese, and mixed-race writers.38 While the collection remains interested in intercultural transfers and cultural retentions between old world and new – that is, in how European genres and forms were read, transplanted, circulated, modified, and adapted in the southern colonies, as well as with how the south and its peoples were represented from within European metropoles – its primary focus is on those texts and cultures produced by the experience of travelling, living, and being in the south, emphasising southern locations, southern audiences and modes of addressivity, and south–south interactions.

In making a virtue of a southern perspective from ‘below’, we seek to counter those literary histories that are nearly always written from ‘above’, but we do not wish to replicate supra-planetary views of the south as itself a monolithic entity or framework. We have no desire to argue for a single south or for a pan-southern literary culture that is universal in its scope and reach; nor we do we seek to study the literary history of the southern colonies solely from within the history of globalisation – even of the counter-hegemonic kind.39 The chapters within this collection do not propose a single ideological perspective or methodological approach, just as the southern colonies and settlements we consider do not share a single language, law, literature, demographic, or ethnic base: it is as possible to argue for an Aboriginal south, a Māori south, a Pasifika south, a Khoisan south, and a Boer south as it is to argue for a Black, Green, or Red Atlantic.40 It is also possible to imagine the south in ways that invoke more explicitly its ongoing epistemological resistance to northern objectification and its lived, sensory experience of ‘southern affinity’ or ‘mutual recognition’ – the south in the world – as Boehmer suggests in her concluding chapter in this collection.

Allowing for these perspectives and for the varying critical views of settler colonial, decolonial, postcolonial, and Indigenous studies is not an either/or proposition, but rather the necessary result of bringing together or collocating chapters that cover a wide geographical space and that require us to look across cultures, peoples, and places, including what Clifford has called the practices of Indigenous and ‘subaltern region-making’, and what Chadwick Allen has called ‘trans-Indigenous’ methodologies.41 While it is essential to rethink nineteenth-century settler colonialism and its legacies, to focus only on settler colonial paradigms or the space/time coordinates of colonial-modernity is to continue to privilege the universality of Euro-American forms of knowledge and their truth claims.42 As Shino Konishi has pointed out in an exceptionally even-handed discussion of the relationship between settler colonial studies and Indigenous history, the fear among some Indigenous studies scholars is that settler colonial studies undermines Indigenous theory and agency, and reifies and replicates the ‘structural inevitability’ of colonial power and/or forces Indigenous peoples into what Alissa Macoun and Elizabeth Strakosch deem a ‘false binary between resistance/sovereignty and co-option in the colonizing process’, requiring the intervention of alternative methodological positions.43

The idea that settler colonial studies is ‘“primarily a settler framework” for thinking through colonial relations’ also finds expression in an ongoing distrust among Indigenous studies scholars towards literary criticism and theory.44 Literature, as the Goori poet and scholar Evelyn Araluen argues, ‘is a term we apply to the textual products of the West, or those texts that reinforce accepted narratives of the other’, while literary theory is either ‘unconcerned with our material realities and processes of cultural production, or it has seized upon our creations for its tropes and metaphors’.45 If for postcolonial scholars such as Gayatri Spivak, there is no lost origin before colonialism, no ‘ontological purity’ whereby we can escape the imperial worlding that defines both the coloniser and the colonised, some Indigenous scholars see decolonial studies as offering a better way of attending to what the Māori scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith calls ‘a long-term process involving the bureaucratic, cultural, linguistic and psychological divesting of colonial power’.46

Acknowledging our own editorial position as white Europeans outside of the Global South, working and operating within a Eurocentric institutional and conceptual framework, requires us simultaneously to draw on a western vocabulary of literary, cultural, and aesthetic scholarship, and to recognise the ways in which the apparent universality of such scholarship has been contested, as well as to acknowledge the ways in which western understandings of literature marginalise alternative traditions of creative expression and identity formation. Decolonial movements within and outside academia demand that we recognise the complicity of literary studies in the erasure of Black, Indigenous, and Asian voices from literary histories, and work to recover and highlight these literary cultures insofar as we can do so. All of the chapters in this collection are therefore attentive to the violent racial histories and cultures of settler colonialism, with at least five chapters centring Black, Indigenous, and/or Asian voices and texts. While this is by no means a sufficient representation of a southern colonial world that was never demographically very white or very British, we attempt to denaturalise ‘whiteness’ throughout the collection, positioning it as a contested, malleable, and unstable category as we navigate the boundaries of what can be appropriately known or addressed by non-Indigenous scholars. Our aim is to come to a more nuanced and ethical position in relation to Indigenous epistemologies and the worlds they construct, and to consider western and Indigenous forms of knowledge within a relational ontology, while simultaneously avoiding any investment in what the Unanga scholar Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang have called ‘settler moves to innocence’: that is, a range of ‘intellectual evasions of settler complicity’ in the colonisation of Indigenous peoples.47

Recognising that it is not enough to attempt to ‘transform settler ontologies’, this collection therefore hopes to learn from the insights of Indigenous studies scholars in ways that are not appropriative and to contribute, however modestly, to the ‘interpenetration of indigenous and exogenous knowledge’.48 In particular, it recognises the insights of studies of Indigenous knowledge, genealogies, and kinships as a way of countering histories of globalisation that obscure different temporalities, inequalities, and asymmetries of power. This risks the neglect of disconnected groups, which are seen ‘at best as supplementary and at worst as irrelevant’, as well as obscuring those ‘non-cosmopolitan’ literary cultures and texts that lie outside the ‘global literary paradigm’.49 As Sanjay Krishnan has pointed out, the prevailing definition of the global – that is, the ‘comprehension of the world as single bounded and interconnected entity developing in common time and space’ – finds its first systematic expression in the nineteenth century during the rise of European territorial and commercial imperialism. This way of thematising the world resulted in the naturalisation of a homogenising ‘global as perspective’, securing for itself ‘the reification[s] of the global as thing’. For Krishnan, the global does not point to the world as such but rather ‘at the conditions and effects attendant upon institutionally validated modes of making legible within a single frame the diverse terrains and peoples of the world’.50

In distinguishing the ‘globe’ and its spatialising methodologies of networked globalisation from the ‘world’ and its temporalising methodologies of mondialisation, this collection draws on an ontological tradition that stretches from Martin Heidegger and Erich Auerbach to Henri Lefebvre, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-Luc Nancy of seeing the world as a spatio-temporal way of inhabiting – as a life-world or a world-picture – rather than as a place on a map or a product of ‘globalising assumptions of totality, transition, and transcendence’.51 While this turn to ontology may seem odd for a collection committed to the spatial or geographic expansion of its field and proof-texts, like Krishnan we seek to decouple the ‘representational structures through which the world is objectively given for sight’ from the world-as-object.52 In thinking about ‘the prestige and power’ of an art work’s ‘metaphoric capture of totality’, one of the central challenges this collection confronts is how better to understand the complex, dialectical relationship between the real world, in which a literary text or art object exists, circulates, and is actuated by readers, and the symbolic or conceptual world (or the idea of a world) it shows or creates: in other words, as Eric Hayot puts it, to demonstrate the ways in which ‘a material understanding of the actual world situation’ can function as ‘a compliment to and subtending force of the world’s apprehension as a philosophical concept’.53

A second challenge is to think through how our own approaches can enable or disenable the processes of worlding and therefore to understand worlding as a critical sensibility as well as a literary or artistic practice. Christian Moraru has deftly pointed to the key question: ‘What does it mean to know our world and lay out this knowledge in our research, to deploy this geo-epistemology – the system this knowledge implies, one way or the other – so as to aggregate cultural production, to describe its poiēsis and agents, and to frame its reading?’54 Our proposal is not a rejection of the insights enabled by the methodologies of critical global thinking, world-systems theory, and/or world literature, but rather their fusion with a more explicit focus on the ontological dimensions of worlding so as to better appreciate the world-making capabilities of aesthetic objects.55 To ignore the temporal and spatial constructions of a text’s own world and its ‘unspoken, world-oriented ideological normativity’ is, we argue, to risk replicating ‘the presuppositions by which perspectives that cannot find institutional validation within the framework established by the global are occluded or suppressed’.56

Conscious of the extent to which worlding is both a process of ‘enclosing’ and ‘excluding’, the ‘worlding’ of our title draws on critical iterations and explications of Heidegger’s term by postcolonial, comparative, and world-literary scholars such as Gayatri Spivak, Edward Said, Homi K. Bhabha, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Eric Hayot, Sanjay Krishnan, and John Muthyala to refer to the ways in which imperialist discourse both projects and conceals the world of the colonised other as it absorbs peoples and spaces into ‘the consolidation of Europe as sovereign subject’ – a universalising ‘form of epistemic violence’ that continues to play a role in how colonised subjects see themselves long after decolonisation, as well as marking out the ‘continuing success of the imperialist project, displaced and dispersed into more modern’ (i.e. neoliberal) forms.57 For Spivak, imperialism is a worlding process that attempts to disguise its own workings, codings, or value-making so as to naturalise western dominance.58 For Krishnan, too, the point of worlding is not so much to study the world-picture itself (i.e. what is seen) but rather to consider the ways in which seeing takes place and ‘how that world is coded in value terms and the forms through which the world is brought into view’, and therefore to expose its conditional, non-universal status.59 This kind of worlding, Krishnan argues, is a critical exercise that ‘not only illuminates how we might think about the past’ but ‘may also shed light on a way of productively making strange or unfamiliar our naturalized sight’ in a way that involves the kind of engaged, contrapunctal reading that Said advocates when he suggests that we must ‘reread’ the ‘cultural archive’ ‘with a simultaneous awareness both of the metropolitan history that is narrated and of those histories against which and together with the dominating discourse acts’.60

In this formulation, the history of artistic production in sites of colonisation is best understood as what Muthyala calls a ‘double movement’ – one that gives hegemonic force to white settler identities and ideologies while simultaneously illuminating the existence of alternative worlds that are often only differently accessible – and must be supplemented by the ‘dialectical movement’ of ‘worlding’ and ‘reworlding’, or what Ralph Bauer terms ‘the European imperial inscription of a hemispheric terra incognita and a critical (or literary) practice that would unsettle this Eurocentric inscription’.61 This dialectical movement perhaps finds its neatest analogy in the idea of ‘mapping’ and ‘remapping’ or the cartographic exchanges between Indigenous peoples and foreign European explorers, which created ‘double visions’ of space and place.62 If imperial cartography can ultimately be seen as an abstractive ‘flattening’ of the world via the form of the empirical map, substituting space for place and encouraging a view that is objective and natural, Indigenous mapping enables a ‘stereoscopic’ blurring of the imperial map’s construction of territory as an ‘object of rule’.63 In her discussion of ‘Tuki’s Universe’ (the map, and Māori world, drawn by Tuki Tahua for Philip King in 1793), for example, Judith Binney shows how Tuki ‘drew a land, which was, in one map, both actual and mythological’, revealing both ‘a knowledge of the physical world, and an imaginative attachment to it’, and ultimately demanding the restoration of a lost ‘indigenous view’, that Margaret Jolly ascribes to ‘Tupaia’s Map’, of ‘lying low in a canoe, looking up at the heavens’.64

Vicente M. Diaz and J. Kehaulani Kauanui’s study of etak, the form of seafaring navigation through triangulation developed by Carolinian Islanders, outlines just such an Indigenous projection – one that views the canoe as stationary while the islands move in a ‘fluidic pathway’, allowing for ‘a clear and unambiguous sense of one’s place at all times’.65 The Tongan-Fijian scholar Epeli Hau‘ofa too suggests a similar reorientation, dismissing land-based ‘views of the Pacific’ as ‘islands in a far sea’ in favour of ‘a sea of islands’, where Oceania ‘is huge and growing bigger every day’.66 Using Hau‘ofa’s reworlding of Oceania to adjust our viewpoint of southern ports, islands, and land masses allows us to consider them not only from the perspectival approach of the exploratory or mercantile ship, but from the ‘perspective of those who gaze out towards the oceans’, thereby paying closer attention to the south’s ‘littoral condition’, while also reconsidering the multivalency of its literary, cartographic, political, and imaginative representations, especially when contact between Indigenous peoples, European settlers, and diasporic peoples creates ‘double visions’ that ask us to challenge Eurocentric worlds.67

Southern periodicity, forms, canons, and genres

Evaluating the ‘imperial’, ‘Anglophone’, ‘geopolitical’, ‘worldly’, and ‘global’ methodologies currently invigorating Victorian studies, Tanya Agathocleous argues that adopting a ‘geographically expansive conception’ of the field can produce both a ‘heightened sense of the artifice of boundaries’ and a ‘powerful and empowering’ ‘disorientation’ that encourages us as scholars to embrace ‘new vantage points’.68 The ‘global turn’ in Romantic and Victorian studies has certainly stimulated a critical reappraisal of both fields over the last two decades, with scholars exploring the relationship between aesthetics, scientific exploration, and colonial expansion, as well as considering the ways in which globalism, cosmopolitanism, and transnationalism, among other concepts, promise to ‘transform what we mean by “British” literature’.69 Taking full account of Romantic and Victorian globalism can reveal the surprising longevity or afterlife of western conceptual and literary frameworks in non-European contexts, as well as offering new critical readings of British texts and their reception. As Nikki Hessell notes, the ‘Romantic period, as a unit of literary history, lasts well into the twentieth century in indigenous thought and intellectual activity, and … such a radical reinscribing of the boundaries of the Romantic period might be essential to comprehending British texts of c. 1789–1832 themselves’.70

While the globalising efforts of these important works inform many of the collected chapters that follow, this volume does not primarily define itself as an example of ‘Global Romantic’ or ‘Global Victorian’ studies, aiming instead to test the application and meanings of these terms in extra-European contexts, and thereby to decentre and detach ‘British’, at least to some degree, from its causal attachment to the region’s literature. Adopting the rhetoric of ‘suspicion’ that postcolonial studies mobilises so effectively in its engagement with literary discourses, we ‘situate formal concerns’ and ‘the evolution of genres and styles’ in their ‘intersection’ with specifically southern ‘materialist issues and ideological/historical context[s]’.71 One of the most productive and necessary disorientations of southern literary culture relates to traditional forms of periodisation, which, we argue, fail to take adequate account of southern dates of political, economic, and cultural significance, from the ‘foundation’ of white Australia in 1788 to the Treaty of Waitangi in New Zealand in 1840 to the Union of South Africa in 1910. We therefore favour a more ‘flexible formulation’ – the ‘long nineteenth century’ – that can ‘be calibrated to the specifics of individual colonial histories’,72 while also acknowledging that these sorts of colonial-specific narratives retain white foundation myths and are susceptible to what Marilyn Lake identifies as the ‘tyranny of the national narrative in Australian history’, belying the ‘conflict in the encounter between diversity and the incitement to national uniformity’.73 The teleological march towards nationhood that structures many of the literary histories of the southern colonies can lead, as Mark Williams and Alice Te Punga Somerville argue of New Zealand, to a ‘foreshortening’ and truncation of literary periods where ‘beginnings’ are chosen or invented ‘rather than simply discover[ed]’.74

While we retain the expansionary term ‘long nineteenth century’, some chapters in this collection aim to ‘cross periods’ in a methodology that Hayot refers to as ‘trans-periodising’, both in order to avoid the ‘logics of totality’ that traditional periodisation can invoke, and because periods organised around key European dates or philosophical concepts cannot adequately address the ways in which literary genres and forms were transformed by settlers and Indigenous peoples in the southern hemisphere.75 Such an approach has the added value of allowing us to question the ideas of derivativeness and belatedness that all too often accompany studies of non-European literary culture. Manu Samriti Chander argues, for example, that we must rethink and renegotiate claims of originality and derivativeness as ‘they open up the possibilities of revising our aesthetic sensibilities and updating our critical conversations’, while Alex Watson and Laurence Williams rightly note that there is a tendency both to ‘draw a line between “European tradition”’ and its ‘reception’ elsewhere, and to focus on European representations of ‘other’ places rather than on their own self-constructions.76

Hessell’s study of Indigenous translations of Romantic works in New Zealand, Hawai‘i, and India provides one example of a critical method that disrupts linear periodicity, arguing that ‘European notions of period’ can be ‘meaningless’ for Indigenous people and ‘distorting’ for Indigenous histories, which stress the ‘simultaneity of the past and present in ways that European temporality struggles to comprehend’.77 Walter Mignolo extends Hessell’s critique of Eurochronology and Eurocentric literary periodicity to the very term ‘literature’ itself, instead offering ‘languaging’ as a decolonial concept that resists literature’s universalising tendencies.78 Attending to Mignolo’s criticism of literature’s European ‘self-referential[ity]’, we use the term ‘literary culture’ in this collection in preference to ‘literature’ with its weighted imperial connotations.79 While ‘culture’ too is Eurocentric in its origins and orientations, it provides us with a more encompassing terminology, asking us to consider what literary histories of Australian Aboriginal, Māori, Malay, or Xhosa culture ‘would look like if we moved beyond Eurocentric concepts of authorship, included genres other than fiction and poetry, and situated reading and writing in specific cultural contexts’ – for example, persistent ‘oral habits’ or the political agency cultivated through acts of citation and intertextuality that mark genres such as correspondence and petitions.80

At the same time, English-language literacy offered many opportunities for agency, resistance, and reappraisal. While literacy and literary study were undoubtedly ‘essential to … processes of sociopolitical control’, Vanessa Smith has shown that Indigenous ‘appropriation and interrogation’ undermines the belief that ‘with the transmission of literacy, the prerogative of interpretation has been surrendered’.81 Penny van Toorn has revealed the strong disciplinary impulses of educational literacy practices and the connections between the promotion of literacy and the stolen generation in Australia, but she too stresses the need to recognise the arrival of the British in Australia as the ‘beginning of an entanglement between two sets of reading and writing practices’.82 This sense of literary and cultural entanglement is perhaps best captured by Simon Gikandi’s characterisation of colonialism as a ‘culture of mutual imbrication and contamination’ – for example, in Africa where the missionary press is, as Ntongela Masilela and Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane argue, intricately connected to the rise of vernacular presses, ‘a new tradition of politically committed writing’, and ‘modern’ African literature.83

Our focus on the varying material conditions and forms of co-existing southern cultures provides an opportunity to trace these moments of entanglement and thereby complicate Franco Moretti’s study of world literature as ‘foreign form’ and ‘local material’: that is, as literature related to a core culture that is largely unmodified by non-canonical authors from a variety of geographic locations. Jahan Ramazani has shown us how mobile or travelling poetic forms contest the traditional view that foreign literary genres and forms were simply imported from metropole to periphery.84 Spivak too questions Moretti’s ‘ambition to create authoritative totalizing patterns depending on untested statements by small groups of people treated as native informants’, which, as Katherine Bode notes, are then ‘amassed at the Anglophone centre’.85 Lauren Goodlad’s revision of Fredric Jameson’s concept of the ‘geopolitical aesthetic’ proves generative here, as it allows us to recognise nineteenth-century literary culture ‘not only as structure or process, but also as form’ and to situate it within Moretti’s formulation of world literature while rejecting his repetition of the ‘Jamesonian tic of viewing the classical metropole as an autochthonous structure’ that is capable of being modularised elsewhere.86

Recent studies of colonial genre and form have further revised Moretti’s formula by rejecting his understanding of the novel as the exemplary or paradigmatic mobile form. Jason Rudy, for example, builds on Ramazani’s work to emphasise the portability of the poetic form in anthologies, commonplace books, periodicals, and newspapers, which meant that it could ‘adapt more quickly to colonial spaces’ than ‘printed and bound texts’, thereby ‘allowing for more local forms of expression’.87 Periodicals and newspapers were of special importance in the colonial context, often providing venues of first publication for poets now considered part of the ‘settler canon’ in Australia and elsewhere, such as Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, Charles Harpur, Banjo Patterson, and Henry Lawson. Bode’s examination of reprint and serialisation culture in nineteenth-century Australian newspapers rightly refutes the idea that British fiction dominated the colonial market, revealing the ‘consistent presence of local writing’.88 Embedded within a material world of circulating goods, poems, short stories, and serialised fiction often appeared earlier and more frequently than novels in the colonies, with their ‘formal qualities’ potentially more revealing of the ‘contradictions of bourgeois national thought’, as well as more readily enabling the iteration of local and/or regional identities and reading publics within global print media and communication networks.89

The frequent authorial anonymity or pseudonymity of periodical fiction also provides a means of testing assumptions about the ‘literary canon and continuing influence of a romantic conception of authorship’ in settler colonial states.90 While we embrace the idea of a global imperial commons where ‘reading depended on comparison and circulation’, our interest in questions of canonicity in this collection recognises that these ‘interdiscursive’ imperial cultures co-existed with ‘originatory’ and proto-nationalist settler myth-making, ‘dying race’ narratives, and racialised accounts of terra nullius.91 ‘Foundational’ Australian settler colonial texts, such as Barron Field’s First Fruits of Australian Poetry (1819), represent Australia as an empty ‘waste land’ effaced of Indigenous inhabitants, with pastoral ‘cultivation’ acting as a synecdoche for imperial ‘civilisation’. As David Higgins notes, ‘the white settlement of Australia was rhetorical as well as physical, involving what Paul Carter has termed the “process of transforming space into place”’, with Australian settler literature presenting ‘flickers of … nativeness’ that Philip Mead detects, for example, in ‘William Charles Wentworth’s dream-vision of an Australian civilization in his long poem of 1822, Australasia, [and] in Charles Harpur’s topographic Romanticism’.92 Similarly, Andrew McCann argues that later works, such as William Lane’s The Workingman’s Paradise (1892) and Henry Lawson’s poems, envision ‘a white Australian autochthony in which settlers themselves appear as, in Lawson’s words, “natives of the land”’.93

Te Punga Somerville reminds us that ‘[c]anons do not produce themselves: they are produced by people’: ‘certain texts (re)produce certain worlds’.94 Unsettling the canon is therefore both an additive/substitutive process and a subtractive process, adding or seeking to recover new texts and worlds while also acknowledging how much has been lost or altered by the superimposition of European cultural forms. Emphasising both the power of terra nullius and the writing of ‘unsettlement’ in the history of Australian poetics, Michael Farrell notes that ‘admit[ting] the erasure’ of Aboriginal people and history from Australia does not mean we can ‘pretend to know what has been erased’.95 Maria Nugent’s analysis of the testimony by Wonnarua man and guide Galmarra (known as ‘Jacky’) of E. B. Kennedy’s death in Cape York in 1848 provides an apt example of the difficulty of determining when ‘the white editorial hand’ enters the script and poses, as Jonathan Dunk points out, an ‘epistemological crisis’ that marks many Indigenous texts within the colonial archive.96 This collection recognises that ‘literary settlement … is an endless project’ while also aiming to unsettle ‘the reigning semantic paradigms that attempt to uphold nation and settlement’.97 Yet whereas Farrell argues for the reconceptualisaton of national literary history to include the poetics of unsettlement, we suggest a more radical departure from the national paradigm by both looking across and drawing parallels between the literary cultures of southern settler colonies in order to uncover shared genres, forms, and themes, from the unsettling and atavistic drama of the colonial gothic, to the female bildungsroman and its rejection of ‘happy resolutions’ and ‘meritocratic drives’, to the ‘stablising’ tradition of the South African ‘farm novel’ or plaasroman.98 The latter points to the popularity and appeal of settler narratives describing the domestication of landscapes that often silence ‘the place of the black man in the pastoral idyll’ while simultaneously underscoring the inherent alienation experienced by settlers on these landscapes in ways that are replicated in countless settler novels of enclosure from Australia and New Zealand.99

Yet if some literary texts present the settler experience as one of stabilising enclosure, others register acknowledged and/or disavowed violence via disruptions within a text’s chosen form, or via complex and formative modes of representation such as bricolage or the hybrid text that amalgamates numerous generic influences. Tracey Banivanua Mar’s study of the Australian-Pacific indentured labour trade asks us to consider how real and imagined processes of violence both mimicked and brought the colonial frontier into being. The ‘literary conventions of Melanesian discourses’, for example, defined by their ‘savagery’ and ‘bloodthirstiness’, created a ‘self-defensive imagination’ that informed pre-emptive attacks against Islanders.100 South Africa too was a key investigative site for racial taxonomists and ethnographers, figuring heavily in the ‘construction of racial stereotypes’ through ethnographic displays of Khoisan people and the racialised writings of Robert Knox.101 The implications of these ethnographic investigations are demonstrable in the peculiarly racialised nature of South African literature evident in works such as H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1885). Yet the imperial adventure genre also provided opportunities for the ‘reappropriation of Zulu historiography’ by John Langalibalele Dube in the 1930s as well as providing a framework for Mhudi (1930) by Sol Plaatjie, who ‘adopted the style, and linguistic register’ of Haggard’s imperial romances, but nonetheless ‘adapted it for his own purposes, undermining and challenging many of [the genre’s] tenets’.102

The ideas of adoption and adaptation are suggestive of the plasticity of genres in the southern colonies as well as offering an opportunity to politicise colonial literacy and literature for decolonial purposes. Plaatjie and Thomas Mofolo, for example, mobilised the imperial romance aesthetic while at the same time questioning the ‘language of a literary canon closely associated with the culture of colonialism’.103 On the other hand, the unsettling of genre could also be a sign of the unsettling of colonial notions of civility and respectability, so that ‘racist taxonomies [were] forced to become flexible, and thereby [began] to come undone, especially for the imperial reader’.104 Indeed, it is this unravelling of European literary taxonomies of form, genre, content, and chronology – and its relationship to the ‘ideological tensions’ within imperialism – that we seek to foreground in this collection, emphasising an unsettling, disorientating literary culture of hybrid genres and forms; an aesthetics of violence, displacement, and resistance; texts that struggle for closure and coherence (with narrative fulfilment frequently underscoring colonial desires for settlement and belonging); and visual, oral, and performance cultures that disrupt Eurocentric literary chronologies.105

These kinds of unsettling, hyphenated, and hybrid texts also speak to hybrid forms of belonging, especially in relation to multi-ethnic communities such as the Cape Colony, where, as Archie L. Dick has shown, Cape Muslims ‘created an independent world view’ with their stories ‘recall[ing]’, ‘recreat[ing]’, and ‘blend[ing]’ the ‘folklore worlds of East Asia and Africa’.106 As the ultimate composite genre, travel writing underscores the processual nature of genre in the southern colonies and its relation to acts of encounter and performances of belonging, ‘facilitat[ing] an intersection between a distant culture and a present enterprise’ while simultaneously expressing and ‘delineating a geography of power’, with literacy frequently, and mistakenly, characterised as the ‘ticket to travel’.107 The chapters collected here do not all focus on travel writing but they all respond, in various ways, to Clifford’s call to examine the multiple ways in which people, texts, and ideas can travel and the ‘kinds of knowledges, stories and theories … they produce’ through their travel, challenging the notion that ‘non-literate cultures can only ever be the objects’ of travelling narratives and exposing the world-making capacities of peoples and cultures too often mischaracterised as minor or marginal.108

Towards a worlding of the south

Responding to the many (and sometimes competing) problematics raised in this introduction, the collection is organised thematically around three key structuring ideas or paradigms: Globe/World, Acculturation/Transculturation, and Indigenous/Diasporic. Far from being binary constructs or discrete, closed entities, these paradigms exemplify the ways in which literary cultures often participate in the hybrid and liminal spaces in between the real and the imaginary, mythography and cartography, settlement and dispossession, and theory and practice. The first set of chapters, Globe/World, reflects on the complex relationships between world and globe, temporalisation and spatialisation, and globalisation and mondialisation. Peter Otto’s opening chapter, for example, considers how the 1828 panorama ‘A View of the Town of Sydney’ ‘conjured an Umwelt’ rather than just a view or prospect. Unlike the globe, the panorama did not attempt to ‘englobe’ or ‘bring a disorganised mass into an ordered whole’ but rather foregrounded a ‘multiplicity of worlds’, with its ‘virtual’ or ‘hyper-realistic illusion’ arousing ‘audience interest in how it had been constructed’. Part of the rise of optical media technologies that materialised the ‘movement between mind and world’, the panorama is a world-making form which offers, as Otto demonstrates, layered hybrid spaces and plural ontologies that, in this case, both represent a ‘modernising’ or ‘civilising’ process and unsettle the very processes of settlement it depicts.109

Otto’s examination of the fictions shaping the virtual worlds of the colonial panorama resonates in Sarah Comyn’s discussion of northern constructions of the southern hemisphere as antipodal. One of the most potent of the European fictions or myths surrounding the south, the Antipodes was imagined as upside down or back to front with feet facing the wrong direction. Examining poetry, fiction, letters, and illustrated articles in a range of newspapers from nineteenth-century Australia, Comyn demonstrates the extent to which the cartographic, corporeal, and metaphoric inversion associated with the Antipodes not only shaped a ‘heightened form of comparative consciousness’ in the southern colonies but was also reinscribed in newspaper depictions of settlers’ lived worlds and experiences.110 Repurposing the tropes of doubling and antipodality, these portrayals challenge Eurocentric ideas of cultural superiority, colonial belatedness, and hemispheric difference in favour of spatial and cultural reorientations between north and south, as well as anticipating discourses of Australian nationhood and federation.

Clara Tuite’s chapter on ‘flash’ culture and ‘lag fever’ also reconsiders the idea of colonial belatedness but this time through the lens of linguistic mobility, arguing that the flash and cant languages of thieves and convicts can be understood as a demotic kind of world language that connects underclasses with upper classes within and across metropolitan Regency London and the convict spaces of colonial Australia. Linking transnational genealogies of masculine self-fashioning and print-visual form with the social arenas of fashionability, convictism, penal transportation, and settler culture across Britain, Ireland, Europe, and Australia, Tuite’s chapter argues for the ‘transformative elements of [cultural] lag’, with flash language ‘bristling against spatial and geographical backwardness, and highlighting the transformative elements of disjunction’. As language moves or circulates across the globe, Tuite argues, it enables new forms of world-making that both realise ‘the Regency as a model of global modernity’ and register the ‘energy and dynamism of the colonial peripheries’.

Continuing the themes of self-fashioning and sociability evident in Comyn and Tuite’s chapters, Fariha Shaikh’s examination of ephemeral shipboard periodicals produced en route to Australia considers their role in transforming emigrants on board ships into colonists, through an anticipatory language and logic that imagined (often violent) encounters with Indigenous peoples. Drawing on methodologies from the ‘blue humanities’, Shaikh considers the ship not simply as a self-enclosed floating world, but ‘also as a piece of travelling communication’ that enabled transfers of ‘cultural norms’ across oceanic spaces. The shipboard periodical, as Shaikh shows, emphasises the mobility of genres such as travelogues, tales, and theatrical performances as they adjust to the littoral aspects of the southern hemisphere, but it also demonstrates the extent to which such genres were already fully embedded in settler discourses of race and power.

Ingrid Horrocks’ chapter on Augustus Earle returns us to the visual arts raised in Otto’s chapter (Earle was one of the painters whose work inspired ‘A View of the Town of Sydney’) as it considers the multiple worldings and, in this case, reworldings that can emerge from imperial-era travel books and paintings. Earle’s Narrative of a Residence in New Zealand (1832) features that key trope of white imperial travel writing, the prospect view, which in his case is frequently accompanied by visual depictions. Arguing that a scholarly focus on arrival, prospects, and moments of encounter produces readings that highlight the emergence of a magisterial European eye, Horrocks moves us away from ‘the global movements of oceanic travel’ to scrutinise more fully the mundane activities within Earle’s texts and paintings, such as walking, guiding, and toiling. Using a mobilities studies lens in combination with ecocritical studies, Horrocks argues for the importance of a methodological approach to the imperial travel genre that takes into account the unstable and shifting double visions of Pākehā and Māori relations.

Utopian worlds across Australia, North America, and South America are the subject of Jason Rudy, Aaron Bartlett, Lindsey O’Neil, and Justin Thompson’s chapter on William Lane’s socialist community in Paraguay – ‘Nueva Australia’ (est. 1893) – a new south that sought to preserve the colour line and was open only to English-speaking Anglo-Saxons. Despite its overt racism, Lane’s vexed utopian project suggests a sense of radical disenchantment with a colonial capitalist system driven by labour shortages, scarcity, and capital accumulation. Examining how race and labour are intertwined in Lane’s periodical, the Cosme Monthly, the authors demonstrate how poetry, song, and, in particular, minstrelsy were used to romanticise enslavement in the service of the white working classes and to ‘situate the Cosmans in relation to other white-supremacist movements’ across Australia and North America, while at the same time constructing a ‘racial and political isolation’ that was undermined by the reality of their dependence on Indigenous Guaraní.

The second set of chapters in this collection, Acculturation/Transculturation, focuses on the aesthetics of settlement, the uneasy and unsettling processes of acculturating to a new world, and the ‘affects of belonging’, or what Terry Goldie calls ‘the impossible necessity of becoming indigenous’, as well as on examples (violent and non-violent) of cultural encounter, colonial blending, and transculturation.111 Attentive to what Leilani Nishima and Kim D. Hester Williams term ‘racial ecologies’, some chapters also consider the relationship between settler colonialism, indigeneity, and radically changing/changed environments, recognising that ‘nature and environment are relational sites’ in which ‘embodied racial identities and ecological space and place’ are ‘navigat[ed]’.112

The section opens with Jane Stafford’s analysis of the reading of Robinson Crusoe in colonial New Zealand, which considers Defoe’s novel not just as an exemplum of the challenges and hardships of settlement, but also as a ‘shared language’, ‘measure’, or metaphor, an adaptable trope about the English capacity for industry, economic self-sufficiency, and ‘natural’ authority. These qualities, it was felt, underwrote the work’s suitability as the first novel to be translated into te reo Māori. In exploring settler and Indigenous responses to Robinson Crusoe, Stafford considers wider questions relating to the English literary canon and its role in the project of nation-building and ‘civilising’ missions. ‘Modelled’, ‘refigured’, and ‘translated’ in New Zealand, Robinson Crusoe, Stafford argues, was a symbol of ‘cultural memory’ and ‘continuity’ integral to the imperial project of improvement and to the still ongoing practices of settlement and land dispossession, albeit one that demonstrates the limitations of this project in the face of Indigenous agency and activism.

Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver’s chapter investigates a similarly global narrative of masculine adventure, exploration, and attempted subjugation: the kangaroo hunt. Surveying the genre in a wide range of textual and visual representations, Gelder and Weaver demonstrate the significance of the kangaroo as a species both to scientific programmes of acclimatisation and to heroic accounts of settler dominance. As a transnational figure circulating within a global imperial commons and networks of colonial science, the kangaroo became its own generic device with symbolic investments ranging from anti-slavery narratives to explorations of global biodiversity. The kangaroo hunter, on the other hand, could be portrayed either as a settler or as a wandering explorer, frequently refracting the violence of the hunt on to Indigenous peoples on colonial frontiers. As Gelder and Weaver demonstrate, the kangaroo hunt narrative, while often seen simply as an account of masculine individualism and homosociality, is demonstrative of the extent to which ‘sites of colonial conquest and imperial trade’ had a ‘profound impact on how ecologies were recognized and imagined’.113

Grace Moore’s chapter on Louisa Atkinson is also concerned with the relationship between settler acculturation, acclimatisation, and environmental adaptation. Focusing on Atkinson’s bushfire stories, the chapter argues that her depictions of fire-setting and fire-fighting are distinct from those of her contemporaries in that they seek to promote respect for the bush. In Atkinson’s stories the bushfire becomes an ‘emblem of settler discomfort’, while the forests subjected to land clearances by settlers frequently come to represent Indigenous Australians in ways that point to the ‘deep connection between the land and its traditional owners’, but also to the violent dispossession of Indigenous peoples by settler farming and land-management practices that equate to ‘ecological vandalism’. Atkinson’s work, Moore argues, also ‘recasts the role of the settler woman in relation to the land’, demonstrating the resourcefulness and capability of Australian settler women in the face of disaster, and resisting the already formulaic story of ‘female endangerment’ and rescue in the bush.

Taking as its case study Thomas Baines’ expedition to Zululand for Cetshwayo kaMpande’s coronation, Lindy Stiebel’s chapter considers the significance of settler mappings of British/African geo-political interests. Examining Baines’ accounts of the expedition, including newspaper reports, journal entries, maps, and illustrations, Stiebel demonstrates his complex and ambivalent engagement with the Zulu kingdom, landscape, and people. As ‘Special Correspondent’ for the Natal Mercury, Baines is jovial and jocular, but his maps approach the topography of Zululand with a ‘scientific seriousness’: unlike previous maps of the region, Baines’ colonial cartography provides a record that instantiates the Zulu king’s possessions, ‘mark[ing] the territory as populated’ and recording Zulu place names, while nonetheless anticipating and depicting settler expansion, invasion, and violence. While Baines’ primary concern is to promote British political and economic interests, his maps nonetheless chart the intrusion of a colonial order into the heart of Zululand, capturing a key moment in the political history of British and Zulu relations.

Matthew Shum’s chapter considers a very different African expedition and travelogue: William Burchell’s two-volume Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa, published in London in 1822 and 1824. Arguing that Burchell ‘does not provide an easy fit for the default postcolonial judgment of the European naturalist explorer as the advance agent or epistemological vanguard’ of empire, Shum suggests that Burchell’s botanical and geological writings are infused with what Pierre Hadot has described as an ‘Orphic’ sense of the phenomena of the world, one that gives primary emphasis to the numinous rather than the instrumental or ‘Promethean’ aspects of science. In his representations of Indigenous Africans, too, Burchell’s writings move away from standard ethnographic accounts and towards sympathetic and affective registers that nonetheless maintain ‘categorical distinctions’ between human races. Recognising the ambivalent impact of his own ‘immersion in “uncivilized” societies’, Burchell demonstrates the extent to which the European in colonial sites can be an imperilled or ‘stressed figure’, unable to ‘modulate’ his own emotions and functioning as ‘a limit case for the exercise of metropolitan sentiment’.

Moving from travel narratives to the genre of the short story, this section ends with Jennifer Fuller’s chapter on Louie Becke’s Pacific stories in By Reef and Palm (1894). Seeing Becke’s stories as a ‘colonial experiment in archipelagic writing’, Fuller offers a relational reading of each of the stories in the volume, arguing that Becke’s stories represent a ‘networked vision of a collective region’ defined by ‘continual circulation, transformation, and exchange’. If Becke redefines the genre of the short story to coincide with the colonial perception of islands as places of violence, sexual transgression, and transactionalism, portraying the ‘calculative logic’ of Pacific cross-cultural and interracial relations, he nonetheless also provides examples of European and Islander agency that resist Eurocentric moral judgement. Fuller’s reading of Becke’s collection allows us to see it both as a means of ‘aggregating’ literary worlds and as a commentary on the increasing invisibility of islands in the face of western globalisation, ‘suggesting that violent intimacies are small scale echoes of the larger problem of cultural erasure in the Pacific’.

Following on from Fuller’s consideration of interracial intimacy, the collection’s final section, Indigenous/Diasporic, considers the Anglophone and/or translated literary cultures of Indigenous populations and non-European diasporas, looking in particular at questions of Indigenous agency, resilience, and resistance; diasporic movement and identities; and imperial literacy, subjecthood, and citizenship. The chapters in this section aim to de-emphasise white settler experience as normative and white writing as archetypal of literary cultures in the southern hemisphere, and instead foreground Indigenous, Black, Creole, and Southeast Asian voices. Focusing on the genres of the petition and on vernacular periodical cultures, many of its chapters attempt to problematise European liberalism’s ideal of a ‘universal subject’ by paying attention to what Tim Rowse characterises as the redemptive potential of ‘Indigenous liberal universalism’.114 As numerous scholars have shown, ‘[t]he presumptive universalism of abstract liberal principles is compromised when these principles encounter the actuality of the colonial other’, challenging ideas of cosmopolitanism and demonstrating liberalism’s inherent provinciality.115

The section begins with Anna Johnston’s chapter, which considers the long and complicated history of linguistic collection in Australia and its contribution to cross-cultural processes of colonial knowledge production. Using the archival traces left by two nineteenth-century women – Eliza Hamilton Dunlop at Wollombi in New South Wales, Darkinyung country and a meeting place between Darkinyung, Awabakal, and Wonnaruah people, and Harriet [Harriott] Barlow in the Maranoa District south of Charleville, Queensland, originally home to the dispossessed Mandandanji people – Johnston analyses wordlists, vocabularies, transcriptions of Indigenous songs, and records of Aboriginal language groups as intimate forms of exchange on (often violent) Australian colonial frontiers. In so doing, Johnston reveals ‘the imbrication of language collection, knowledge production, Indigenous engagement, and settler advocacy’, as well as reflecting both on the ongoing nature of a ‘dispossessive colonialism’ and on the possibility of using linguistic sources for language reclamation and revitalisation projects in the present day.

Also considering the racialised nature of the colonial archive, Michelle Elleray’s chapter examines the often ‘fraught borderline’ between Indigenous writing and European editorial practices in the 1850 publication of translated and abridged instalments from the travel journal of Kiro, a Cook Islander who lived in England from 1847–50. While originally intended for a Cook Islands readership, ‘Kiro’s Thoughts about England’ was published as a text for British children that conformed with the ‘disciplinary structures of Christianity’ and missionary expectations of the ‘newly converted’. ‘Kiro’s Thoughts about England’ thus raises the issue of ‘how we are to read recovered literary texts by peoples disempowered through imperial processes’ when these texts are often entangled with or made to conform to dominant structures of power. Reading Kiro’s writing in transhemispheric terms, Elleray considers how we might reframe both his writing and Indigenous status within the context of South Pacific values, genealogies, and belief systems, thereby recognising the ‘Islanders’ agency in suturing the new to the old’ and resituating their past and future in relation to the new ‘technology of alphabetic literacy’.

Moving from the appropriation and rewriting of Kiro’s journal by missionaries to the reappropriation of Thomas Babington Macaulay’s verse in petitions written by Te Whānau a Rerewa to secure their lands from the 1860s onwards, Nikki Hessell’s chapter is concerned with questions of imperial literacy or the ways in which circulating European concepts, including universalism, could be repurposed to create ‘a resurgent Māori identity from within a European tradition and aesthetic’. Hessell’s chapter centres around the Ngāti Porou rangatira (chief) Mokena Kōhere and the ways in which his grandson Rēweti Kōhere framed his grandfather’s legacy via lines from Macaulay’s poems. If Macaulay famously ‘placed a “New Zealander” at the centre of a reimagined metropolis’, Hessell argues that in Rēweti Kōhere’s appropriation of Macaulay’s lines it is Macaulay and not Māori ‘who is figured as mobile and exotic, his texts reaching Aotearoa and undergoing various translations, appropriations, and reinterpretations’. Hessell’s chapter demonstrates not only that poetry and its strategic citation was a key element of Māori rhetoric, political diplomacy, and petitioning, but also that its repurposing was central to Māori land claims and their relevant legal instruments in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Similarly looking at the petition as a genre of political writing and as protest literature, Hlonipha Mokoena considers the often ‘forgotten history of [African] liberalism’ in the longer context of the end of apartheid and the establishment of a constitutional democracy. Distinguishing between ‘minor’ and ‘major’ liberal traditions, Mokoena demonstrates the extent to which the printed word became ‘an expression of political subjecthood’, encouraging ‘vigilance’ or ‘watchfulness over the actions and policies of successive colonial governments’ even as a major liberalism, ‘dependent on missionaries for its spread and justification’, failed to produce its desired results. As Mokoena shows, the petition was itself ‘a reproduction of the ideological foundations of mission stations’ and their particular form of rhetorical tutelage, but, when liberated from ‘the stranglehold of the mission station’, it was also a powerful form of protest that later prompted the idea of a ‘native congress’ such as the South African Native National Congress and its ‘reformist parleys with white politicians and white capitalist interests’.

Focusing on the Afro-Creole poet Egbert Martin, Manu Samriti Chander’s analysis of the complex othering of Indigenous peoples by Guianese literati argues that the rise of periodical culture in British Guiana from the late 1830s ‘came to ground ideas of humanity in the capacity to read and thereby participate fully in the social life of the colony’. Examining the close relationship between ‘literacy and cultural legitimacy’ in a range of periodicals and missionary writing, as well as in Egbert’s poetry, Chander argues that Indigenous Guianese peoples, or Amerindians, were ‘understood as essentially illiterate’ and ‘always in danger of falling back into a pre-civilised’ and pre-Christian state, thereby becoming the ‘cultural field’s abject other’. Drawing on the idea of Creole indigeneity, ‘whereby Creole claims to belonging erase those of Indigenous peoples’, Chander understands Egbert’s poetry as complicit in a wider imperial process of erasing Indigenous peoples from the cultural field in a bid to ‘appeal for recognition … to centres of imperial power’. Decolonising cultural recognition, then, involves refusing ‘recognition from the Global North’ and instead ‘offer[ing] recognition to Amerindian communities’.

Similar questions of cultural recognition are taken up in Porscha Fermanis’ chapter on the ways in which Straits Chinese elites in Singapore strategically used discourses of comparatism and universalism both to marginalise ‘native’ Malays and ‘sojourning’ Chinese diasporas, and to point to colonialism’s inherent contradictions. Examining the political stakes of comparatism and its relationship to anticolonial, postcolonial, and ethnic nationalism in the context of Nanyang South Sea and Indian Ocean spaces, Fermanis reads the Straits Chinese Magazine (est. 1897) as an anticolonial project. Despite its apparent investment in the logic and rhetoric of imperial liberalism, Straits Chinese contributors to the magazine ultimately turn European comparatism on its head, encouraging a reversal of the comparative gaze and an exposition of the defective use of Enlightenment methodologies by European comparatists. If Straits Chinese authors often fall back on arguments for the universality of human experience, the Straits Chinese Magazine demonstrates the extent to which competing Sinocentric and Islamocentric civilisational accounts could disrupt European modes of seeing, destabilising what is considered natural and self-reflexively exposing the Eurocentric grounds on which comparisons are made.


1 Paul Carter, ‘Australindia: The Geography of Imperial Desire’, Postcolonial Studies, 18 (2015), 222–33. On the difference between ‘otherness’ and ‘approximate otherness’, see Jonathan Z. Smith, ‘What a Difference a Difference Makes’, in Jacob Neusner and Ernest S. Frerichs (eds), To See Ourselves as Others See Us: Christians, Jews, ‘Others’ in Late Antiquity (Chico: Scholars Press, 1985), pp. 3–48.
2 For an overview of this cartographic history, see Avan Judd Stallard, Antipodes: In Search of the Southern Continent (Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2016). For the term ‘indexical category’, see Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, ‘Theory from the South: A Rejoinder’, Cultural Anthropology Online, 25 February 2012, n.p., (accessed 24 June 2019). On the Global South as a ‘conceptual space’, see Stephen Muecke, ‘Cultural Studies’ Networking Strategies in the South’, Australian Humanities Review, 44 (2008), 39–51.
3 A useful definition of Global South can be found in Mathew Sparke, ‘Everywhere but Always Somewhere: Critical Geographies of the Global South’, The Global South, 1:1 (2007), 124. For a critique of the Global South as term/concept, see Walter Mignolo, ‘The Global South and World Dis/Order’, Journal of Anthropological Research, 67:2 (2011), 165–88.
4 Comaroff and Comaroff, ‘Theory from the South’, n.p.; Kevin Murray, ‘Keys to the South’, Australian Humanities Review, 44 (2008), 24; Harry Harootunian, ‘Remembering the Historical Present’, Critical Inquiry, 33:3 (2007), 486. On the ways in which the European global imperial imaginary marginalised its own south, see, e.g., Roberto M. Dainotto, Europe (In Theory) (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007); and Franco Cassano, Southern Thought and Other Essays on the Mediterranean, ed. and trans. Norma Bouchard and Valerio Ferme (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012).
5 Harootunian, ‘Historical Present’, 474.
6 On the performance and re-enactment of settler possession, see Bain Atwood, Possession: Batman’s Treaty and the Matter of History (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2009).
7 Penelope Edmonds, ‘“I followed England round the world”: The Rise of Trans-Imperial Anglo-Saxon Exceptionalism and the Spatial Narratives of Nineteenth-Century British Settler Colonies of the Pacific Rim’, in Leigh Boucher, Jane Carey, and Katherine Ellinghaus (eds), Reorienting Whiteness (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), p. 109. On settler colonial studies, see, e.g., Patrick Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of an Ethnographic Event (London and New York: Cassell, 1998); and Lorenzo Veracini, ‘Introducing Settler Colonial Studies’, Settler Colonial Studies, 1:1 (2011), 1–12. On Black Consciousness and the role of Steve Biko, Njabulo Ndebele, and others, see, e.g., Tendayi Sithole, Steve Biko: Decolonial Meditations of Black Consciousness (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2016); and Ian M. Macqueen, Black Consciousness and Progressive Movements under Apartheid (Pietermaritzburg: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2018). On the interpenetration of Black Power and Indigenous oppositional politics in the Māori and Pasifika context, see Robbie Shilliam, Black Pacific: Anti-Colonial Struggles and Oceanic Connections (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2015).
8 For excellent literary histories that nonetheless primarily retain the national paradigm, see, e.g., Peter Pierce (ed.), The Cambridge History of Australian Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009); David Atwell and Derek Attridge (eds), The Cambridge History of South African Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); and Mark Williams (ed.), A History of New Zealand Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016). On the transnational turn, see, e.g., Robert Dixon, ‘Australian Literature–International Contexts’, Southerly, 67:1/2 (2007), 15–27; and David Carter, ‘After Postcolonialism’, Meanjin, 66:2 (2007), 114–19. For Indigenous studies scholarship from the southern hemisphere that has decentred western literary histories, see, e.g., Alice Te Punga Somerville, Once Were Pacific: Māori Connections to Oceania (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012). For the African and/or pan-African perspective, see, e.g., Victoria J. Collis-Buthelezi, ‘Caribbean Regionalism, South Africa, and Mapping New World Studies’, Small Axe, 19:1 (2015), 37–54, and ‘Under the Aegis of Empire: Cape Town, Victorianism, and Early-Twentieth-Century Black Thought’, Callaloo, 39:1 (2016), 115–32; and Khwezi Mkhize, ‘Empire Unbound: Imperial Liberalism, Race and Diaspora in the Making of South Africa’ (PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2015).
9 Isabel Hofmeyr’s work has been pioneering in its decentralising efforts. See, e.g., ‘Universalizing the Indian Ocean’, PMLA, 125:3 (2010), 721–9. See also Manu Samriti Chander, Brown Romantics: Poetry and Nationalism in the Global Nineteenth Century (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2017); Jason Rudy, Imagined Homelands: British Poetry in the Colonies (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017); Nikki Hessell, Romantic Literature and the Colonised World: Lessons from Indigenous Translations (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); Fariha Shaikh, Nineteenth-Century Settler Emigration in British Literature and Art (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2018); and Philip Steer, Settler Colonialism in Victorian Literature: Economics and Political Identity in the Networks of Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).
10 Tony Ballantyne, ‘Putting the Nation in its Place? World History and C. A. Bayly’s The Birth of the Modern World’, in Anne Curthoys and Marilyn Lake (eds), Connected Worlds: History in Transnational Perspective (Canberra: ANU Press, 2005), p. 24.
11 C. A. Bayly et al., ‘AHR Conversation: On Transnational History’, The American Historical Review, 111:5 (2006), 1449.
12 Saul Dubow, ‘How British Was the British World? The Case of South Africa’, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 37:1 (2009), 2–3. On mobilities studies, see, e.g., Tony Ballantyne, ‘Mobility, Empire, Colonisation’, History Australia, 11:2 (2014), 7–37.
13 For an elaboration of this position, see Sarah Comyn and Porscha Fermanis, ‘Rethinking Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture: British Worlds, Southern Latitudes and Hemispheric Methods’, Journal of Commonwealth Literature (2021), n.p., (accessed 1 February 2021).
14 Tamara S. Wagner, ‘Introduction: Narrating Domestic Portability: Emigration, Domesticity, and Genre Formation’, in Tamara S. Wagner (ed.), Victorian Settler Narratives: Emigrants, Cosmopolitans and Returnees in Nineteenth-Century Literature (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), pp. 1, 2.
15 Paul Giles, Virtual Americas: Transnational Fictions and the Transatlantic Imaginary (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2002), p. 5.
16 Sharon Marcus, ‘Same Difference? Transnationalism, Comparative Literature, and Victorian Studies’, Victorian Studies, 45:4 (2003), 679, 681.
17 Marilyn Lake, ‘White Man’s Country: The Trans-national History of a National Project’, Australian Historical Studies, 34:122 (2003), 348, 349; Marcus, ‘Same Difference’, 680, 682.
18 For studies of interdiscursive, intertextual, and lateral relations between peripheries within empire, see, e.g., Elleke Boehmer, Empire, the National and the Postcolonial: Resistance in Interaction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002); Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih (eds), Minor Transnationalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005); and Neil Lazarus, The Postcolonial Unconscious (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). On Indigenous mobility and transnationalism, see, e.g., Lynette Russell, Roving Mariners: Australian Aboriginal Whalers and Sealers in the Southern Oceans, 1790–1870 (New York: State University of New York Press, 2012); and Rachel Stanfield (ed.), Indigenous Mobilities: Across and beyond the Antipodes (Canberra: ANU Press, 2018). On the Global South and lateral relations, see Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Patricia Daley (eds), Handbook of South–South Relations (Oxford: Routledge, 2018). On the balance required between tribal epistemic specificity and ‘relational regionality’, see Tol Foster, ‘Of One Blood: An Argument for Relations and Regionality in Native American Literary Studies’, in Janice Acoose, Daniel Heath Justice, Christopher B. Teuton, and Craig Womack (eds), Reasoning Together: The Native Critical Collective (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008), pp. 265–302.
19 Philip J. Holden, ‘Between Modernization and Modernism: Community and Contradiction in the Paracolonial Short Story’, Philippine Studies, 55:3 (2007), 321; Nicholas Jose, ‘Introduction’, in Nicholas Jose (ed.), Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2009), p. 1.
20 On a global imperial commons, see Antoinette Burton and Isabel Hofmeyr, ‘Introduction’, in Antoinette Burton and Isabel Hofmeyr (eds), Ten Books that Shaped the British Empire: Creating an Imperial Commons (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), p. 1.
21 See Marcia Langton, Well, I Heard It on the Radio and Saw It on the Television (North Sydney: Australian Film Commission, 1993), cited in Evelyn Araluen, ‘Resisting the Institution’, Overland, 227 (2017), n.p., (accessed 26 June 2019).
22 Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism, (accessed 26 June 2019).
23 Walter D. Mignolo, ‘On Comparison: Who Is Comparing What and Why?’, in Rita Felski and Susan Stanford Friedman (eds), Comparison: Theories, Approaches, Uses (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), p. 115. See also, e.g., Raewyn Connell, Southern Theory: The Global Dynamics of Knowledge in Social Science (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2007); Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Another Knowledge Is Possible: Beyond Northern Epistemologies (London and New York: Verso, 2008); and Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff, Theory from the South: Or, How Euro-America Is Evolving toward Africa (Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2011).
24 Boaventura de Sousa Santos, The End of the Cognitive Empire: The Coming of Age of Epistemologies of the South (Durham: Duke University Press, 2018), p. 1; Sparke, ‘Everywhere but Always Somewhere’, 117.
25 Comaroff and Comaroff, Theory from the South, p. 47.
26 Carter, ‘Australindia’, 225, 224; Paul Giles, Antipodean America: Australasia and the Constitution of U.S. Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 14.
27 John Eperjesi, The Imperialist Imaginary: Visions of Asia and the Pacific in American Culture (Hanover: University Press of New England, 2005), p. 3.
28 Selina Tusitala Marsh, ‘Guys Like Gauguin’, in Fast Talking PI (2009; Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2012), pp. 37–8; Bronwen Douglas, ‘Foreign Bodies in Oceania’, in Bronwen Douglas and Chris Ballard (eds), Foreign Bodies: Oceania and the Science of Race, 1750–1940 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2008), p. 8; Warwick Anderson, ‘Racial Conceptions in the Global South’, ISIS, 15:4 (2014), 782, 783.
29 Sugata Bose, A Hundred Horizons: The Indian Ocean in the Age of Global Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 6; Anne Salmond, Tears of Rangi: Experiments across Worlds (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2017), p. 2; James Clifford, Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), p. 64.
30 David Chandler and Julian Reid, ‘“Being in Being”: Contesting the Ontopolitics of Indigeneity’, The European Legacy, 23:3 (2018), 257, 260; Mary Graham, ‘Some Thoughts about the Philosophical Underpinnings of Aboriginal Worldviews’, Australian Humanities Review, 45 (2008), 181–94; Deborah Bird Rose, ‘An Indigenous Philosophical Ecology: Situating the Human’, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 16:3 (2005), 294–305. See also Mario Blaser, ‘Ontology and Indigeneity: On the Political Ontology of Heterogeneous Assemblages’, Cultural Geographies, 2:1 (2014), 49–58.
31 Ivan Tacey, ‘Tropes of Fear: The Impact of Globalization on Batek Religious Landscapes’, Religions, 4 (2013), 250.
32 James Clifford, ‘Indigenous Articulations’, in Rob Wilson and Christopher Leigh Connery (eds), The Worlding Project: Doing Cultural Studies in the Era of Globalization (Berkeley: New Pacific Press, 2007), p. 15. On articulation theory as opposed to threshold or authenticity approaches to indigeneity, see Stuart Hall, ‘Gramsci’s Relevance for the Study of Race and Ethnicity’, Journal of Communication Inquiry, 10:2 (1986), 5–27.
33 Ingrid Horrocks, ‘A World of Waters: Imagining, Voyaging, Entanglement’, in Mark Williams (ed.), A History of New Zealand Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), p. 26; Silvia Spitta, Between Two Waters: Narratives of Transculturation in Latin America (Houston: Rice University Press, 1995), p. 2.
34 Isabel Hofmeyr, ‘Southern by Degrees: Islands and Empires in the South Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, and the Subantartic World’, in Kerry Bystrom and Joseph R. Slaughter (eds), The Global South Atlantic (New York: Fordham University Press, 2018), p. 82. On American hemispheric studies, see, e.g., the classic Gustavo Pérez Firmat (ed.), Do the Americas Have a Common Literature? (Durham: Duke University Press, 1990); and Bianet Castellanos, Lourdes Gutiérrez Nájera, and Arturo Aldama (eds), Comparative Indigeneities of the Américas: Toward a Hemispheric Approach (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2012).
35 Southern Conceptualisms Network, (accessed 26 June 2019).
36 Ralph Bauer, ‘Hemispheric Studies’, PMLA, 124:1 (2009), 234–50.
37 Stephen Shapiro, The Culture and Commerce of the Early American Novel: Reading the Atlantic World-System (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2008), p. 4.
38 Alex Watson and Laurence Williams, ‘British Romanticism in Asia, 1820–1950: Modernity, Tradition, and Transformation in India and East Asia’, in Alex Watson and Laurence Williams (eds), British Romanticism in Asia: The Reception, Translation, and Transformation of Romantic Literature in India and East Asia (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), p. 20; Philip Steer, ‘The Historians, the Literary Critics, and the Victorian Settler Empire’, Literature Compass, 15:5 (2018), 4.
39 ALICE, (accessed 26 June 2019).
40 See, e.g., Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993).
41 Clifford, Returns, p. 58; Chadwick Allen, Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012) and ‘A Transnational Native American Studies?’, n.p., (accessed 26 June 2019). On Indigenous mobility, see, e.g., Tracey Banivanua Mar, ‘Shadowing Imperial Networks: Indigenous Mobility and Australia’s Pacific Past’, Australian Historical Studies, 46:3 (2015), 340–55.
42 See, e.g., Walter D. Mignolo, Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Designs (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); and David Slater, Geopolitics and the Post-Colonial: Rethinking North–South Relations (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004).
43 Shino Konishi, ‘First Nations Scholars, Settler Colonial Studies, and Indigenous History’, Australian Historical Studies, 50 (2019), 1–20; Alissa Macoun and Elizabeth Strakosch, ‘The Ethical Demands of Settler Colonial Theory’, Settler Colonial Studies, 3:4 (2013), 426, 436. For an overview of critical Indigenous studies, see Aileen Moreton-Robinson (ed.), Critical Indigenous Studies: Engagements in First World Locations (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2016).
44 Konishi, ‘First Nations Scholars’, 291.
45 Araluen, ‘Resisting the Institution’, n.p.
46 Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Decolonising Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Auckland: Zed, 1999), p. 98. More recently, see Jo-Ann Archibald, Jenny Lee-Morgan, and Jason De Santolo (eds), Decolonizing Research: Indigenous Storywork as Methodology (London: Zed, 2019). On Spivak’s position, see R. Radhakrishnan, Theory in an Uneven World (Malden: Blackwell, 2003), p. 157.
47 Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, ‘Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor’, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1:1 (2012), 1–40, cited in Araluen, ‘Resisting the Institution’, n.p.
48 Araluen, ‘Resisting the Institution’, n.p.; Margaret Jolly, ‘The South in Southern Theory: Antipodean Reflections on the Pacific’, Australian Humanities Review, 44 (2008), n.p., (accessed 26 June 2019).
49 Jonathan Saha, ‘No, You’re Peripheral’, 18 July 2013, n.p., (accessed 5 April 2019), cited in Gareth Curless, Stacey Hynd, Temilola Alanamu, and Katherine Roscoe, ‘Editor’s Introduction: Networks in Imperial History’, Journal of World History, 26:4 (2016), 705–32; Michael Allan, ‘“Reading with one Eye, Speaking with One Tongue”: On the Problem of Address in World Literature’, Comparative Literature Studies, 44:1–2 (2007), 16–17.
50 Sanjay Krishnan, ‘Reading Globalization from the Margin: The Case of Abdullah Munshi’, Representations, 99:1 (2007), 40–41, 41.
51 Mei Zhan, Other-Worldly: Making Chinese Medicine through Transnational Frames (Durham: Duke University Press: 2009), p. 23. See also Martin Heidegger, ‘On the Origin of the Work of Art’, in Basic Writings, ed. David Farrell Krell (New York: Harper Collins, 2008), esp. pp. 168, 171–2, and ‘The Age of the World Picture’, in Off the Beaten Track, ed. and trans. Julian Young and Kenneth Hayes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), esp. p. 60.
52 Krishnan, ‘Abdullah Munshi’, 41.
53 Eric Hayot, On Literary Worlds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 40, 28.
54 Christian Moraru, ‘“World”, “Globe”, “Planet”: Comparative Literature, Planetary Studies, and Cultural Debt after the Global Turn’, n.p.,“world”-“globe”-“planet”-comparative-literature-planetary-studies-and-cultural-debt-after (accessed 2 March 2020).
55 For the macrosociological approach of world-system units and scales of analysis, see, e.g., Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System (New York: Academic Press, 1964), esp. p. 98; and Peter Hitchcock, The Long Space: Transnationalism and Postcolonial Form (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010), esp. p. 35.
56 Hayot, On Literary Worlds, p. 7; Krishnan, ‘Abdullah Munshi’, 41.
57 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, ‘Three Women’s Texts and a Critique of Imperialism’, Critical Inquiry, 12:1 (1985), 243–5, 243. See also ‘The Rani of Sirmur: An Essay in Reading the Archives’, History and Theory, 24:3 (1985), 254, 247. For another engagement with Heidegger’s idea of worlding in the context of subaltern studies, see Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), esp. pp. 95, 241.
58 For this characterisation of Spivak’s position, see Sue Thomas, Imperialism, Reform, and the Making of Englishness in Jane Eyre (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), p. 2.
59 Krishnan, ‘Abdullah Munshi’, 50.
60 Krishnan, ‘Abdullah Munshi’, 54; Edward Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. 51.
61 John Muthyala, Reworlding America: Myth, History and Narrative (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006), p. 2; Bauer, ‘Hemispheric Studies’, 241–2.
62 Margaret Jolly, ‘Imagining Oceania: Indigenous and Foreign Representations of a Sea of Islands’, The Contemporary Pacific, 19:2 (2007), 508–45.
63 Patrick D. Joyce, The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City (London and New York: Verso, 2003), pp. 36, 37.
64 Judith Binney, ‘Tuki’s Universe’, New Zealand Journal of History, 38:2 (2004), 215; Jolly, ‘Imagined Oceania’, 509.
65 Vicente M. Diaz and J. Kehaulani Kauanui, ‘Native Pacific Cultural Studies on the Edge’, The Contemporary Pacific, 13:2 (2001), 317. Diaz is Filipino-Pohnpeian and Kauanui is Ka-naka Maoli.
66 Epeli Hau‘ofa, ‘Our Sea of Islands’, in Eric Waddell, Vijay Naidu, and Epeli Hau‘ofa (eds), A New Oceania: Rediscovering Our Sea of Islands (Suva: University of the South Pacific, 1993), pp. 6–7.
67 Meg Samuelson, ‘Rendering the Cape-as-Port: Sea-Mountain, Cape of Storms/Good Hope, Adamastor and Local-World Literary Formations’, Journal of South African Studies, 42:3 (2016), 524. For an examination of the ‘littoral condition’ of the southern hemisphere, see, e.g., Meg Samuelson and Charne Lavery, ‘The Oceanic South’, English Language Notes, 57:1 (2019), 37–50.
68 Tanya Agathocleous, ‘Imperial, Anglophone, Geopolitical, Worldly: Evaluating the “Global” in Victorian Studies’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 43 (2015), 657.
69 Tanya Agathocleous and Jason R. Rudy, ‘Victorian Cosmopolitanisms’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 38 (2010), 390. See also, e.g., Alan Bewell, Romanticism and Colonial Disease (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), and Natures in Translation: Romanticism and Colonial Natural History (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017); Deirdre Coleman, Romantic Colonization and British Anti-Slavery (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Tim Fulford, Debbie Lee, and Peter J. Kitson (eds), Literature, Science and Exploration in the Romantic Era (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004); Evan Gottlieb, Romantic Globalism: British Literature and the Modern World Order, 1750–1830 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2014); Lauren M. E. Goodlad, ‘Cosmopolitanism’s Actually Existing Beyond; Toward a Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 38 (2010), 399–411, and The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015); Upamanyu Pablo Mukherjee, ‘Introduction: Victorian World Literature’, The Yearbook of English Studies, 41:2 (2011), 1–19.
70 Hessell, Romantic Literature and the Colonised World, p. 7.
71 Charles Forsdick and Jennifer Yee, ‘Towards a Postcolonial Nineteenth-Century’, French Studies, 72:2 (2018), 172, 174. See also Elleke Boehmer, Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).
72 Margaret Harris, ‘The Antipodean Anatomy of Victorian Studies’, AUMLA: Journal of the Australasian Universities Modern Language Association, 100 (2003), 68; Maggie Tonkin, Mandy Treagus, Madeleine Seys, and Sharon Crozier-De Rosa, ‘Re-Visiting the Victorian Subject’, in Maggie Tonkin, Mandy Treagus, Madeleine Seys, and Sharon Crozier-De Rosa (eds), Changing the Victorian Subject (Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press, 2014), p. 3.
73 Marilyn Lake, ‘White Man’s Country’, 347; Patricia Grimshaw, Marilyn Lake, Ann Mcgrath, and Marian Quartly, Creating a Nation, 1788–1900 (Ringwood: Penguin Book Australia, 1994), p. 2.
74 Mark Williams, citing the work of Alice Te Punga Somerville, ‘Introduction’, in Mark Williams (ed.), A History of New Zealand Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 3, 2.
75 Hayot, On Literary Worlds, pp. 149, 156.
76 Chander, Brown Romantics, p. 101; Watson and Williams, ‘British Romanticism in Asia’, p. 2.
77 Hessell, Romantic Literature and the Colonised World, pp. 229, 230, 5–6. See also Mark Rifkin, Beyond Settler Time: Temporal Sovereignty and Indigenous Self-Determination (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017).
78 Mignolo, ‘On Comparison’, pp. 100, 106.
79 Mignolo, ‘On Comparison’, pp. 104–5.
80 Penny van Toorn, Writing Never Arrives Naked: Early Aboriginal Cultures of Writing in Australia (Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2006), p. 2; Jeff Opland, ‘Nineteenth-Century Xhosa Literature’, Kronos, 30 (2004), 22; Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane, ‘Colonial and Imperial Themes in South African Literature, 1820–1930’, The Yearbook of English Studies, 13 (1983), 181–95; Amin Sweeney, A Full Hearing: Orality and Literacy in the Malay World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), p. 1; Horrocks, ‘A World of Waters: Imagining, Voyaging, Entanglement’, pp. 18, 25; Arini Loader, ‘Early Māori Literature: The Writing of Hajaraia Kiharoa’, in Mark Williams (ed.), A History of New Zealand Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), pp. 31, 33.
81 Gauri Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest: Literary Studies and British Rule in India (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), pp. 3, 10; Vanessa Smith, Literary Culture and the Pacific: Nineteenth-Century Textual Encounters (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) pp. 109, 5, 116.
82 Van Toorn, Writing Never Arrives Naked, p. 20.
83 Simon Gikandi, Maps of Englishness: Writing Identity in the Culture of Colonialism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), p. xviii; Anna Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 1800–1860 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p. 29; Ntongela Masilela, ‘Vernacular Press’, in Simon Gikandi (ed.), Encyclopedia of African Literature (London: Routledge, 2003), pp. 547–54; Mzamane, ‘Colonial and Imperial Themes in South African Literature, 1820–1930’, 183.
84 Jahan Ramazani, A Transnational Poetics (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2009).
85 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Death of a Discipline (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003), pp. 107–8; Katherine Bode, Reading by Numbers: Recalibrating the Literary Field (London: Anthem Press, 2012), p. 11.
86 Franco Moretti, ‘Conjectures on World Literature’, New Left Review, 1 (2000), 65; Goodlad, ‘Cosmopolitanism’s Actually Existing Beyond’, 404, 406.
87 Rudy, Imagined Homelands, p. 7.
88 Katherine Bode, ‘Fictional Systems: Mass-Digitization, Network Analysis, and Nineteenth-Century Australian Newspapers’, Victorian Periodicals Review, 50:1 (2017), 101, and ‘“Sidelines” and Trade Lines: Publishing the Australian Novel, 1860–1899’, Book History, 15 (2012), 115.
89 Holden, ‘Between Modernization and Modernism’, 319, 326.
90 Katherine Bode, ‘Thousands of Titles without Authors: Digitized Newspapers, Serial Fiction, and the Challenges of Anonymity’, Book History, 19 (2016), 298.
91 Burton and Hofmeyr, ‘Introduction’, pp. 1, 2, 5; Julie F. Codell, ‘Introduction: Imperial Co-Histories and the British and Colonial Press’, in Julie F. Codell (ed.), Imperial Co-Histories: National Identities and the British and Colonial Press (Danvers: Rosemount Publishing, 2003), p. 16.
92 David Higgins, ‘Writing to Colonial Australia: Barron Field and Charles Lamb’, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 32:3 (2010), 219; Philip Mead, ‘Nation, Literature, Location’, in Peter Pierce (ed.), The Cambridge History of Australian Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 549. For an overview of legal understandings of the term terra nullius, see Thomas H. Ford and Justin Clemens, ‘Barron Field’s Terra Nullius Operation’, Australian Humanities Review, 65 (2019), 1–19.
93 Andrew McCann, ‘Romanticism, Nationalism and the Myth of the Popular in William Lane’s The Workingman’s Paradise’, Journal of Australian Studies, 25:70 (2001), 2.
94 Alice Te Punga Somerville, ‘Canons: Damned If You Do and Damned If You Don’t: A Response to Adam Kostsko’, Australian Humanities Review, 60 (2016), 189.
95 Michael Farrell, Writing Australian Unsettlement: Modes of Poetic Invention 1796–1945 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), p. 2.
96 Maria Nugent, ‘Jacky Jacky and the Politics of Aboriginal Testimony’, in Shino Konishi, Maria Nugent, and Tiffany Shelam (eds), Indigenous Intermediaries (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 2015), p. 72; Jonathan Dunk, ‘Reading the Tracker: The Antimonies of Aboriginal Ventriloquism’, JASAL: Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, 17:1 (2017), 3.
97 Farrell, Writing Australian Unsettlement, p. 4, and ‘The Colonial Baroque in Australia: On Drover Boab Texts, Wiradjuri Clubs, and Charlie Flannigan’s Drawings’, Criticism, 58:3 (2016), 428.
98 Patrick Brantlinger, Dark Vanishings: Discourse on the Extinction of Primitive Races, 1800–1930 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003), p. 230; Ken Gelder, ‘The Postcolonial Gothic’, in Jerrold E. Hogle (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Modern Gothic (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 191–207; Mandy Treagus, Empire Girls: The Colonial Heroine Comes of Age (Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press, 2014), pp. 247, 250; J. M. Coetzee, ‘Farm Novel and “Plaasroman” in South Africa’, English in Africa, 13:2 (1986), 1–19.
99 Coetzee, ‘Farm Novel and “Plaasroman” in South Africa’, 17. For a revisionist account, see Sam Naidu, ‘The Emergence of the South African Farm Crime Novel: Socio-Historical Crimes, Personal Crimes, and the Figure of the Dog’, English in Africa, 43:2 (August 2016), 9–38. On settler novels of enclosure, see Steer, Settler Colonialism in Victorian Literature.
100 Tracey Banivanua Mar, Violence and Colonial Dialogue: The Australian-Pacific Indentured Labor Trade (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007), pp. 24, 29.
101 Saul Dubow, Scientific Racism in Modern South Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 24.
102 Kathryn Simpson, ‘H. Rider Haggard, Theophilus Shepstone and the Zikali Trilogy: A Revisionist Approach to Haggard’s African Fiction’ (PhD dissertation, Edinburgh Napier University, 2016), pp. 24–5; Brian Willan, ‘What “Other Devils”? The Texts of Sol T. Plaatje’s Mhudi Revisited’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 41:6 (2015), 1343.
103 Simon Gikandi, ‘Realism, Romance, and the Problem of African Literature’, Modern Language Quarterly, 73:3 (2012), 311–12.
104 Jonathan Lamb, Vanessa Smith, and Nicholas Thomas, ‘Introduction’, in Jonathan Lamb, Vanessa Smith, and Nicholas Thomas (eds), Exploration and Exchange: A South Seas Anthology, 1680–1900 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. xviii; Mandy Treagus, ‘Crossing “The Beach”: Samoa, Stevenson and the “Beach at Falesä”’, Literature Compass, 11:5 (2014), 316.
105 On colonial anxieties and the ways in which these anxieties figure as forms of resistance to imperial infrastructures, see Dominic Davies, Imperial Infrastructure and Spatial Resistance in Colonial Literature, 1880–1930 (Oxford: Peter Lang 2017), esp. p. 35.
106 Archie L. Dick, The Hidden History of South Africa’s Book and Reading Cultures (Toronto and London: University of Toronto Press, 2012), p. 27.
107 Lydia Wevers, Country of Writing: Travel Writing and New Zealand, 1809–1900 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2002), n.p.; Smith, Literary Culture and the Pacific, p. 116.
108 James Clifford, ‘Notes on Travel and Theory’, Centre for Cultural Studies Inscriptions, 5 (1989), n.p., (accessed 5 July 2019); Smith, Literary Culture and the Pacific, p. 116.
109 Helen Groth, ‘Mediating Popular Fictions: From the Magic Lantern to the Cinematograph’, in Ken Gelder (ed.), New Directions in Popular Fiction: Genre, Distribution, Reproduction (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), p. 288.
110 Giles, Antipodean America, p. 24.
111 Terry Goldie, Fear and Temptation: The Image of the Indigene in Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand Literatures (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 1989), p. 13.
112 Leilani Nishime and Kim D. Hester Williams, ‘Introduction: Why Racial Ecologies?’, in Leilani Nishime and Kim D. Hester Williams (eds), Racial Ecologies (Washington: University of Washington Press, 2018), p. 4.
113 Devin Griffiths and Deanna Kriesel, ‘Introduction: Open Ecologies’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 48:1 (2020), 6.
114 Tim Rowse, ‘The Indigenous Redemption of Liberal Universalism’, Modern Intellectual History, 12:3 (2015), 583.
115 Theodore Koditschek, Liberalism, Imperialism, and the Historical Imagination: Nineteenth-Century Visions of a Greater Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 5; Duncan Ivison, ‘Non-Cosmopolitan Universalism: On Armitage’s Foundations of International Political Thought’, History of European Ideas, 41:1 (2015), 80.

Worlding the south

Nineteenth-century literary culture and the southern settler colonies


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