White settler societies: 'Living in diaspora'

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper


Whether white settler societies can be described principally as diasporas or migrations is open to debate. Colonisation in Australia and New Zealand was a mix of involuntary and willed movements: settlement occurred often through schemes of assisted migration and was a legacy of the Enlightenment ideology of colonisation. But evidence of transnational ethnic networks, settler restlessness, and unease, and longing for the metropolitan homelands of Britain and Europe question established myths of collective belonging and other national identity formations associated with cultural nationalism. Referring principally to the white settler society of New Zealand, this paper examines some literary texts which might be defined as diasporic, and therefore ex-centric to national constructions and cultural representations. It will consider the diasporic text in aesthetic, generic terms (e.g. Edward Said’s contrapuntalism, Bhabha’s hybridity), and will refer to the global and transnational movements of New Zealanders who travelled in the first half of the twentieth century and wrote about their experiences. In contrast to these white settler constructions of home and belonging, it will also examine the concepts of race and diaspora in Patricia Grace’s novel Tu (2004), about the Maori battalion in World War II. Reading these transnational texts through the lens of diaspora enables reinterpretation of the narratives by which national citizenship, race and identity have been defined
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011
EventDiaspora/Cultures of Displacement? - Universite Paul Valery, Montpellier, France
Duration: 1 Jun 2011 → …


ConferenceDiaspora/Cultures of Displacement?
Period1/06/11 → …
Internet address


  • Diaspora
  • white settler
  • Fleur Adcock
  • Robin Hyde
  • Janet Frame
  • Katherine Mansfield
  • migration
  • transnational


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