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Mistress of EverythingQueen Victoria in Indigenous Worlds$
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Sarah Carter and Maria Nugent

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781784991401

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784991401.001.0001

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Sovereignty performances, sovereignty testings: The Queen’s currency and imperial pedagogies on Australia’s south-eastern settler frontiers

Sovereignty performances, sovereignty testings: The Queen’s currency and imperial pedagogies on Australia’s south-eastern settler frontiers

Chapter:
(p.187) Chapter Eight Sovereignty performances, sovereignty testings: The Queen’s currency and imperial pedagogies on Australia’s south-eastern settler frontiers
Source:
Mistress of Everything
Author(s):

Penelope Edmonds

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781784991401.003.0008

This paper considers Queen Victoria’s ‘currency’ on south-eastern Australia colonial frontiers, and Kulin Aboriginal peoples’ engagements with the image and idea of the queen, particularly on coins. It explores the uncertain currency of an imposed sovereignty on new frontiers, and the limits and fantasies of colonial rule. Drawing together themes of embodied and cross-cultural performance, this paper argues that on these frontiers, where plural and precarious sovereignties competed, European sovereignty had to be performed, tested and taught to Aboriginal peoples and did not reside only within the realms of law, territory, and jurisdiction. But here recognition, and wilful misrecognition, of the queen could occur in surprisingly reciprocal and contradictory ways. Lastly, the paper considers the ‘Gold Woman’ series (2008) by Aboriginal artist Darren Siwes depicting an imagined Aboriginal Queen Mary. Siwes compels us to ask ‘who is this woman?’, testing taken for granted notions of sovereignty, ‘Gold Woman’ evokes a past and future indigenous sovereignty, the permanent presence of which perpetually worries the settler state.

Keywords:   Colonial frontiers, Australia, Queen Victoria, Kulin, Aboriginal, sovereignty, performance

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