Law, history and power: The British treatment of Aboriginal rights in land in New South Wales

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In recent decades historians have devoted considerable attention to the historical treatment of indigenous title in Anglophone settler colonies. These scholarly accounts have tended to emphasise the role metropolitan legal and intellectual discourses played in the dispossession of indigenous peoples. In this article I present a critical analysis of an influential example of such work in respect to the British denial of Aboriginal rights in land in the colony of New South Wales before providing an alternative account of the manner in which Aboriginal title was treated, which focuses on the nature of the relations on the ground between sojourners, settlers and Aboriginal people, the ways in which these encounters were represented by the British and the local practices regarding the transfer of land.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171 - 192
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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