The medium of cinema emerged during the height of Victorian-era European empires, and as a result, settler colonial imperialism has thematically suffused film for well over a century. In Cinematic Settlers: The Settler Colonial World on Film (Routledge, 2020), Drs. Janne Lahti (Academy of Finland Fellow in history, University of Helsinki) and Rebecca Weaver-Hightower (Professor of English, Virginia Tech University) bring together a collection of scholars from a variety of disciplines to examine how film has been used to both justify and, in some cases, push against global systems of settler colonial conquest. The essays in the collection are truly global, stretching from Australia to central Asia to Hawaii, the American West, and beyond, and cover film history from the early twentieth century up to the “final frontier” of early twenty first century science fiction films. Together, Lahti and Weaver-Hightower make a strong case for further settler colonial cultural studies as a means of understanding how entertainment can be a force for resistance or a tool for colonial oppression.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.