Our natives and wild blacks : enumeration as a statistical dimension of sovereignty in colonial Western Australia

Shellam, Tiffany 2012, Our natives and wild blacks : enumeration as a statistical dimension of sovereignty in colonial Western Australia, Journal of colonialism and colonial history, vol. 13, no. 3, Winter, pp. 1-19.

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Title Our natives and wild blacks : enumeration as a statistical dimension of sovereignty in colonial Western Australia
Author(s) Shellam, Tiffany
Journal name Journal of colonialism and colonial history
Volume number 13
Issue number 3
Season Winter
Start page 1
End page 19
Total pages 19
Publisher Johns Hopkins University Press
Place of publication Baltimore, Md.
Publication date 2012-12-01
ISSN 1532-5768
Keyword(s) history of colonialism - Western Australia
Indigenous history
settler colonialism
settler sovereignty
colonial statistics - historiography
Summary This paper investigates the Western Australian colonial authorities' attempts at defining and categorising a "politically relevant" Aboriginal population from first settlement in 1829 until 1850. Studies of colonial enumeration allow us to understand how colonial authorities viewed the spaces and boundaries of settlement and beyond, and who would be included as part of the community inhabiting that space. Enumeration of Aboriginal people in this period mirrored the Western Australian colonial authorities' conception of their sovereignty: the territory which they could effectively control was not the entire western third of the continent, as the map dictated, but rather the surveyed country, within the "limits of settlement." While other studies of colonial census making reveal enumeration as an instrument of control, this paper identifies colonial census making about Indigenous Western Australians in this period as an instance of state incapacity to govern and control. While "control" was the colonial authorities' key objective in their enumerations, the census reports reveal their inability to know the Aboriginal population.

Language eng
Field of Research 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
Socio Economic Objective 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30049748

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Created: Thu, 06 Dec 2012, 09:07:53 EST by Tiffany Shellam

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