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The Australian National University

Brokers and Boundaries: Colonial Exploration in Indigenous Territory

Dr Maria Nugent
ANU Press, Canberra
Book
2016

Tiffany Shellam, Maria Nugent, Shino Konishi, Allison Cadzow

Colonial exploration continues, all too often, to be rendered as heroic narratives of solitary, intrepid explorers and adventurers. This edited collection contributes to scholarship that is challenging that persistent mythology. With a focus on Indigenous brokers, such as guides, assistants and mediators, it highlights the ways in which nineteenth-century exploration in Australia and New Guinea was a collective and socially complex enterprise. Many of the authors provide biographically rich studies that carefully examine and speculate about Indigenous brokers’ motivations, commitments and desires. All of the chapters in the collection are attentive to the specific local circumstances as well as broader colonial contexts in which exploration and encounters occurred.

'This collection breaks new ground in its emphasis on Indigenous agency and Indigenous–explorer interactions. It will be of value to historians and others for a very long time.'
— Professor Ann Curthoys, University of Sydney

'In bringing together this group of authors, the editors have brought to histories of colonialism the individuality of these intermediaries, whose lives intersected colonial exploration in Australia and New Guinea.'
— Dr Jude Philp, Macleay Museum

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