Domestic Subversions: Resistance and Affective Labour in the Settler Colonial Nation
20 Oct 2017, 17:15 to 20 Oct 2017, 19:15
IHR Pollard Seminar Room, N301, Third Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Victoria Haskins, University of Newcastle, Australia
In 1934 a remarkable petition from a group of women calling themselves ‘Halfcastes of Broome’ was submitted for the consideration of a Royal Commission into Aboriginal Status and Conditions in Western Australia. ‘[M]ost of us work for white people for a living’, the petitioners stated, and ‘by doing so get used to their kind of living.’ The petitioners asked the Commissioner to ‘give us our Freedom and release us from the stigma of a native and make us happy Subjects of this our country.’ Such protests provide an insight into the crucial relationship between domestic service and Indigenous civil rights in Australian history. This paper will explore the connections between Indigenous domestic employment and the curtailing and asserting of Indigenous civil rights more generally. These connections reveal not only the important role of Indigenous domestic work and workers in the history of the Aboriginal civil rights, but point also to domestic service as a site of contestation and potential subversion of the project of colonization.
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