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Education and the colonial construction of whiteness

journal contribution
posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by J Coté
European imperialism spawned settlements of invasive white communities throughout Asia and Africa. Stoler and Cooper (1997: 27) argue these evolving colonial societies became subject to what amounts to an extended bourgeois project such that "we can not understand the construction of whiteness without exploring its class dimensions". If in terms of that project, nineteenth-century metropolitan society was deemed vulnerable to the ravages of a brutish and unruly working class, these white colonial outposts, whether constituted as settler colonies or colonies of exploitation, were even more vulnerable to the more insidious danger of miscegenation. Racial intermingling became simultaneously an issue of class and race. Imperialism therefore added a further dimension to the on-going detinition of "bourgeois-ness": the discourse of whiteness transforming a national discourse into a discourse on civilisation.

In focusing on education as the colonial authorities' response to what they perceived of as the danger of mixed parentage, this article develops a comparative framework that links coloniai settlements in Asia and Australia. It examines the discourse surrounding miscegenation, education and the "rising generation" in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the Dutch East Indies British India, French Indo China and (British) Australia. In so doing, I demonstrate the universality of a linked discourse of whiteness and class across Imperial Asia.

History

Journal

Australian critical race and whiteness studies association journal

Volume

5

Issue

1

Pagination

1 - 14

Publisher

Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association

Location

Adelaide, S. Aust.

ISSN

1832-3898

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association

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