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Inaugural Australian, Canadian, and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies lecture

Published on: 31 Jan 2019

The inaugural Australian, Canadian, and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies lecture will be taking place at Hong Kong Baptist University on 30 May 2019 at 6pm
The Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University is pleased to host the inaugural Annual Australian, Canadian, and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies Lecture:
'"Buying Britishness": Consumption and the construction of settler colonial identities in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada' by Dr. Felicity Barnes (University of Auckland)


Were shoppers as important as soldiers and settlers in forging Britain’s settler empire? We know consumption underwrote imperial economic expansion. Did it also underwrite settler identities? Though we live in what historian Frank Trentmann has called an expanding ‘empire of things’, the historical role of consumption and commodities in forming imperial cultures is not well understood. This lecture will argue consumption played a neglected role in creating identity in Britain’s white settler colonies. In particular, it was crucial to the formation of whiteness and the marginalization of Indigenous cultures.

The interwar British Empire and three white settler colonies within it – Australia, New Zealand, and Canada – form the testing ground for these ideas. During this period, all three created extensive ‘national’ marketing campaigns to persuade British consumers to buy their products: all three relied on being ‘white’ and ‘British’ to do so, and used their imagined affinities with Britain to persuade their own people to ‘buy British’. However, there was one exception: all three limited Indigenous access to the expanding world of goods. Though it has never been studied, it seems consumption – in this case its denial - becomes one more way Indigenous peoples were marginalized by the colonial project.

The lecture will be followed by a reception. All are welcome to attend, however spaces are limited, so RSVP as soon as possible.

See poster for details and to register

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