Serial Representations of First Nations Peoples and Settler Belonging in The Queenslander
Keywords:Periodical fiction, Colonial fiction, Settler colonialism, Aboriginal representations, Frontier violence, 19th Century Serials
This article examines serial representations of Indigenous peoples in colonial periodical fiction to explore settler anxieties around colonisation and the fragile nature of settler belonging. It builds upon Elizabeth Sheehan’s work on seriality to consider the extent to which the serial (re)production of representations of Indigenous peoples in colonial texts works both to support and unsettle settler colonial subject formations and identities. Focusing mainly on the 1880 Christmas Supplement of The Queenslander, this study explores how two interdependent modes of seriality—continuity and subject formation—can be productively traced within a single issue of a periodical (Sheehan 2018). By reading across the contents of a periodical we can explore the strategies settler periodical fiction utilised to sublimate and ‘contain’ Indigenous presence while simultaneously noting where such containment fails or is unsettled by the fragile nature of settler fantasies around colonisation. The ‘operations of affect’ (Dillane 2016) at work in these texts are also discussed in this study to consider how they work to reinforce or undermine narratives of settler belonging for these texts’ colonial readership, with particular attention paid to the role of settler sorrow and ‘sympathy’ for the plight of Indigenous peoples in this era.
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