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‘The greatest delight to all present’: public engagement with Aboriginal performances and displays in Melbourne Victoria, 1836-1914.

Professor Lynette Russell, Monash University

Wednesday 11 March at 5.30 pm

This paper emerges from a book length project on the Racial Thought at the Edge of the World: Anthropology, Race & Settler Colonialism. In this weare attempting to offer a new interpretation on the development of racial thought and anthropological practice in the period 1836-1914. This is achieved through the framework of intellectual thought in the colonial settlement and later city of Melbourne. Asa Briggs in his classic text Victorian Cities chose Melbourne as a quintessential ‘Victorian community overseas’: noting that, intellectually and culturally this was a sophisticated community that maintained numerous intellectual societies, institutes and associations. Aboriginal Victorians featured in these societies as subjects and objects of study, and there were near weekly anthropology lectures. A key aspect of this study has been to reconstruct the hitherto forgotten history of intellectual activity in Melbourne—lectures, reading groups, cultural performances, museum exhibitions and field trips. Native ‘performances’ were all-too common in the 1850s, giving way to exhibition cricket matches in the 1860s, museum and artistic exhibitions in the 1860s and 70s, and the performance of cultural traditions for tourists in the 1870s, 80s and 90s.

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to http://lynetterussell.eventbrite.co.uk