INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Book On Post-Colonial Issues Of 'Body Trade'

Published: Mon 1 Oct 2001 11:32 AM
The cover image of a new book is compelling: three people stare solemnly at the viewer. They are thought to have been from Palau and taken captive by a Russian captain in the late eighteenth- century. One is naked and appears hermaphroditic. Who were these people? Why is one of ambiguous gender? What was their fate?
Body Trade: Captivity, Cannibalism and Colonialism in the Pacific explores these and other questions about the 'traffic' in human bodies in the Pacific from the eighteenth century to the present day. Edited by Barbara Creed and Jeanette Hoorn, both from the University of Melbourne, it comprises thirteen essays by international academics.
Body Trade is the first scholarly book to explore post-colonial issues in relation to the body in the Pacific region. The book is divided into four parts: Circus, Trade & Spectacle, Manufacturing the 'Cannibal' Body, Captive White Bodies & Colonial Imagery in Terra Australis, and Film, Desire & the Colonised Body. The scope is enormous, taking in history, anthropology, literature, art and film.
What is interesting about this book is that it is a multi-faceted theoretical discussion of trade in bodies during the colonial era that hardly mentions New Zealand - so it should prove stimulating for post-colonial debate and research here. The material covered is wide-ranging, including the trade in human heads, cannibalism, displays of indigenous people in fairs and circuses, 'captive' white women in Aborigine tribes, Australia's 'stolen generations', the 'comfort' women of World War II, colonial fiction and modern film.
Body Trade is published in New Zealand by University of Otago Press as a co-publication with Pluto Press (Australia) and Routledge & Kegan Paul (UK). It features several fascinating illustrations, and, as well as offering several new slants on our own history and culture, will be a valuable text in several academic fields.
[ENDS]
Contents: 1 'Rare work amongst the professors': the capture of indigenous skulls within phrenological knowledge in early colonial Australia 2 Chained to their signs: remembering breastplates 3 How can one be Oceanian? The display of Polynesian 'cannibals' in France 4 Captors or captives? The Australian Native Mounted Police 5 Narratives of the self: Chevalier Peter Dillon's Fijian cannibal adventures 6 Cannibalising indigenous texts: headhunting and fantasy in Ion L. Idriess' Coral Sea Adventures 7 Lines of fright: fear, perception and the 'seen' of cannibalism in Charles Wilkes's Narrative and Herman Melville's Typee 8 Captivating fictions: Younah! A Tasmanian Aboriginal Romance of the Cataract Gorge 9 'Cabin'd, cribb'd, and confin'd': the White Woman of Gipps Land and Bungalene 10 Material culture and the 'signs' of captive white women 11 Captivity melancholia and diaspora in Marlon Fuentes' Bontoc Eulogy: revisiting Meet Me in St Louis 12 Breeding out the black: Jedda and the stolen generations in Australia 13 Blame and shame: the hidden history of the comfort women in World War II
ABOUT THE EDITORS Barbara Creed is the author of The Monstrous Feminine: film, feminism, psychoanalysis (Routledge 1993). She has written on film and popular culture for a range of journals including Screen, New Formations, Camera Obscura and the Journal of Postcolonial Studies. She is Associate Professor and Head of the Cinema Studies programme in the School of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology at the University of Melbourne.
Jeanette Hoorn is the author of The Lycett Album: Aboriginal life and scenery (Australian National University Press, 1990) and the editor of Strange Women: Studies in art and gender (Melbourne University Press, 1994) and has written on Australian art, film and popular culture in journals such as The Third Text, Photofile and Art and Australia. She teaches in the Cinema Studies programme in the School of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology at the University of Melbourne.
Contributors: Julie Carr, Barbara Creed, Kate Darian-Smith, Robert Dixon, Freda Freiberg, Chris Healy, Jeanette Hoorn, Yves Le Fur, Paul Lyons, Mary Mackay, Susan K. Martin, Gananath Obeyesekere, Paul Turnbull
Body Trade Captivity, Cannibalism and Colonialism in the Pacific edited by Barbara Creed & Jeanette Hoorn 304 pages, $39.95 ISBN 1 877276 12 X Published September 2001
CONTACT For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact Philippa Jamieson, University of Otago Press, tel. (03) 479 9094, fax (03) 479 8385, email: philippa.jamieson@stonebow.otago.ac.nz
Co-published with Pluto Press in Australia and Routledge & Kegan Paul in UK.

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