Illicit Love: Interracial Sex and Marriage in the United States and Australia

Discussion of New Book - followed by a reception concluding at 6pm

Illicit  Love  is  a  history  of  love,  sex, and  marriage  between Indigenous peoples and settler citizens at the heart of two settler colonial nations, the United States and Australia. Award-winning historian Ann McGrath illuminates interracial relationships from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century through stories of romance, courtship, and marriage between Indigenous peoples and colonisers in times of nation formation.

The book sheds new light on how coloniser states were constituted, and how certain marriages and their children were classed as illegitimate and illicit.   Reserves severed the marital
middle ground and wrenched families apart.

Illicit Love reveals how marriage itself was used by disparate parties for both empowerment and disempowerment and came to embody the contradictions of imperialism. This study demonstrates vividly how interracial relationships between Indigenous and colonising peoples were more frequent and threatening to nation-states in the Atlantic and Pacific worlds than historians have previously acknowledged.

Speakers include Professor Philippa Levine of the University of Texas at Austin, Professor Kim Rubenstein, Director of the Centre for International and Public Law, and Director of the Gender Institute, ANU, Dr Peter Read, School of History, ANU and Shauna Bostock-Smith, PhD student, ANU

Copies of the book will be available for purchase

RSVP for catering purposes -

Sponsored by: Australian Centre for Indigenous History, CASS

School of History, CASS

Gender Institute, ANU


Date & time

Tue 24 May 2016, 4–6pm


Theatrette 2.02 Sir Roland Wilson Building, ANU

Event series


School of History


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