Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788-1836

Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788-1836

Paperback Harvard Historical Studies

By (author) Lisa Ford

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  • Publisher: HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 229mm x 25mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 30 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass
  • ISBN 10: 0674061888
  • ISBN 13: 9780674061880
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 6 maps
  • Sales rank: 319,056

Product description

In a brilliant comparative study of law and imperialism, Lisa Ford argues that modern settler sovereignty emerged when settlers in North America and Australia defined indigenous theft and violence as crime. This occurred, not at the moment of settlement or federation, but in the second quarter of the nineteenth century when notions of statehood, sovereignty, empire, and civilization were in rapid, global flux. Ford traces the emergence of modern settler sovereignty in everyday contests between settlers and indigenous people in early national Georgia and the colony of New South Wales. In both places before 1820, most settlers and indigenous people understood their conflicts as war, resolved disputes with diplomacy, and relied on shared notions like reciprocity and retaliation to address frontier theft and violence. This legal pluralism, however, was under stress as new, global statecraft linked sovereignty to the exercise of perfect territorial jurisdiction. In Georgia, New South Wales, and elsewhere, settler sovereignty emerged when, at the same time in history, settlers rejected legal pluralism and moved to control or remove indigenous people.

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Author information

Lisa Ford is Lecturer in History at the University of New South Wales.

Review quote

The key to understanding Australian attitudes to the law lies deep in our history, as Lisa Ford shows with great forensic flair...[This] is comparative history at its best. Ford moves confidently between the two societies and appears equally at home in both. Both the similarities and the differences are revealing. Each study enlightens the other. This is so because the supporting scholarship is so impressive, the fruit, Ford tells us, of ten years' research and reflection. -- Henry Reynolds Australian Book Review 20100401

Table of contents

* Introduction *1. Jurisdiction, Territory and Sovereignty in Empire *2. Pluralism as Policy *3. Indigenous Jurisdiction and Spatial Order *4. Legality and Lawlessness *5. The Limits of Jurisdiction *6. Farmbrough's Fathoming and Transitions in Georgia *7. Lego'me and Territoriality in New South Wales *8. Perfect Settler Sovereignty * Conclusion