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Davies

New Lives in an Old Land

Re-turning to the Colonisation of New South Wales through Stories of My Parents and Their Ancestors

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Buch. Hardcover

2021

XXX, 422 S.

In englischer Sprache

Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 9789004446700

Format (B x L): 15,5 x 23,5 cm

Gewicht: 959 g

Das Werk ist Teil der Reihe: Brill's Specials in Modern History; 4

Produktbeschreibung

This book re-turns to the colonisation of New South Wales through the lives of the author’s ancestors. By looking hard and listening carefully, by being prepared not to look away, and at the same time, by delving with love into the specificity of those ancestral lives, this research entangles the author, and the reader, in the acts of colonisation that are taken for granted in their present day lives. Through letters, journals, photos, portraits, newspaper clippings and official records, the author re-turns to the spacetimemattering of colonial lives. She finds the means to re-think the scarifications of the present, of people and landscapes. Bringing concepts from Deleuze and Barad, among others, she re-thinks the way history might be done.

"New Lives in an Old Land is an extraordinary book of narrative scholarship in relation to the great global colonisation of the world in the eighteenth century. It traces the origins of the settler colonial establishment of Australia through the major historic events of the time, such as the Irish uprising, the American revolution and the fierce wars for land and culture in Scotland, that led to extreme poverty and displacement of large numbers of people. Through a delicately narrated family history Bronwyn Davies teases out the threads of complex networks of entanglement that produced the numerous lives through which she interprets the coming of settlers to the Australian colony. Not shying away from the horrendous impact on the Aboriginal custodians who had cared for the land for tens of thousands of years, or the brutal treatment of convicts on whose labour the settlement was built, the book looks unstintingly at the complex characters involved in this entanglement. In its forward-looking possibilities, it is essential reading for all Australians who struggle to comprehend the ethical, social and environmental challenges of this land".

Margaret Somerville, Professor, Western Sydney University.

"Bronwyn Davies’ New Lives in an Old Land has ambitious, glorious, scope. The book spans centuries; it traces and re-traces its protagonists’ arduous, sometimes violent, journeys across the oceans; and it addresses the micro- and macro-politics that infuse, shape, and are shaped by, actions and actors. The book, however, is also a work of profound intimacy, in which the author takes the reader into hers and her ancestors’ worlds, “re-imagin[ing] the vital specificity of their lives”. Compelling, provocative, and scholarly, Davies’ book is joyously impossible to categorise, a historico-literary-theoretical portrayal of family, social and political life".

Jonathan Wyatt, Professor, University of Edinburgh.

"New Lives in an Old Land is a deep journey into the colonisation of New South Wales through the lives of Bronwyn Davies’ ancestors. Davies re-turns to historical events that most Australians would be familiar with, events that are re-animated in surprising ways in this book. Drawing on family lore, personal documents, photographs and following every possible trail of evidence, Davies moves beyond the silences and myths that are passed down, to confront the realities of colonisation and the part her forebears played in it. This book reveals the webs of connection across generations, unexpected continuities across time, even where people made strenuous efforts to make breaks. The people in this book come to life in ways that evoke compassion and empathy, refusing the judgement that slips so easily into historical work. Recognising the threads that bind past and present, Davies shows how we risk becoming ignorant of ourselves, and of what is to come when we forget our ancestors, the lives they lived and the passions that drove them. This book weaves a gripping and deeply moving account of migration, generation, of love and power, of aspiration and struggle, of ‘what it was to be’ her ancestors, each in the context of their time and place as they built new lives in this old land".

Johanna Wyn, Redmond Barry Distinguished Emeritus Professor, The University of Melbourne.

"New Lives in an Old Land is a gift to readers. There are astonishing insights about ancestors whose lives are intertwined with people today. But, more than this, Bronwyn Davies has used the much-lauded writing skills she has developed over a lifetime to create a ground-breaking shift in the way history can be written. These subtle and audacious moves offer new ways to grapple with old contradictions within Australian history. While writing this book, Bronwyn discovered that her family emerged from a tangled romantic conjunction of convicts exiled to 'terra nullius' and affluent entrepreneurs from England, Wales, Denmark and beyond. These people of different social origins, who might never have met in their countries of origin, were thrown together in this land that claimed to be 'new' while failing to acknowledge the ubiquitous presence of the indigenous peoples already in place. The book brings these ancestors to life with their own words (evidence that writing talent goes back a long way in this family) supplemented by a haunting archive of photographs. These diverse stories give the reader poignant insights into the doubts and angst early colonists experienced as they carried out sometimes horrendous acts of appropriation and even murder, acts that had direct resonance with earlier experiences in countries such as Ireland. This alternative history rattles the comfort of long-held clichés about the founding and flowering of European life in this 'great southern land'. These ancestors often knew what they were doing and, as we come to grips with this insight, we have to wonder how our descendants will view us".

Lise Claiborne, Professor at Waikato University, New Zealand.

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