Skip to main content

Withdrawn Module: Antipodean Encounters: Aborigines, Convicts and Settlers in New South Wales, c. 1770-1850 (HI396)

New South WalesPlease note that this module was available
until 2007, but has since been
withdrawn and is no longer available.


Tutor: Professor Margot Finn

This final-year undergraduate Special Subject module will allow students to develop an in-depth understanding of the complex processes (legal, social, cultural, economic and political) by which Aboriginal peoples in eastern Australia were - together with British and Irish convicts and settlers - incorporated into a European colonial framework.

The module explores the encounters between Europeans and Aboriginal peoples in colonial New South Wales, c.1770-1850. It emphasises the significant differences both within and between European and Aboriginal populations, and the ways in which processes of colonisation both consolidated and eroded these differences. Substantial emphasis is placed upon the ways in which Enlightenment thought helped to frame the colonial encounter: Enlightenment conceptions of human nature, science, economy and civilisation are all examined in this context. The impact of legal structures also receives substantial attention: the conviction of criminals in Britain, their transportation to Australia and the operation of the criminal law in New South Wales all shaped the structure, function and perception of colonial Antipodean society. The emergence of a society of ‘free’ settlers and labourers from these convict origins provides an additional topic of focus for the module. Throughout the module, attention will be paid to historiographical debates within Australian history. This aspect of Antipodean Encounters should be approached by single Honours students as complementary to the core issues of the third-year Historiography module.