Wm. Matthew KennedyNov 6, 2023
The Imperial Commonwealth
Australia and the Project of Empire, 1867-1914
Manchester University Press 2023
The Imperial Commonwealth: Australia and the Project of Empire, 1867-1914 (Manchester University Press, 2023) by Dr. Wm. Matthew Kennedy tells the story of how from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, Australian settler colonists mobilised their unique settler experiences to develop their own vision of what 'empire' was and could be.
Reinterpreting their histories and attempting to divine their futures with a much heavier concentration on racialized visions of humanity, white Australian settlers came to believe that their whiteness as well as their Britishness qualified them for an equal voice in the running of Britain's imperial project. Through asserting their case, many soon claimed that, as newly minted citizens of a progressive and exemplary Australian Commonwealth, white settlers such as themselves were actually better suited to the modern task of empire. Such a settler political cosmology with empire at its center ultimately led Australians to claim an empire of their own in the Pacific Islands, complete with its own, unique imperial governmentality.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.