Settler Anxiety at the Outposts of Empire
312 pages, 6 x 9
4 figures, 6 maps
Release Date:01 Mar 2018
Release Date:05 Apr 2016
Release Date:05 Apr 2016
Release Date:05 Apr 2016

Settler Anxiety at the Outposts of Empire

Colonial Relations, Humanitarian Discourses, and the Imperial Press

UBC Press

Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, fear of Indigenous uprisings spread across the British Empire and nibbled at the edges of settler societies. Publicly admitting to this anxiety, however, would have gone counter to Victorian notions of racial superiority. This posed a distinct problem for journalists tasked with reporting on events of the day.

In this fascinating examination of British imperial communication networks, Kenton Storey compares newspaper coverage in New Zealand and on Vancouver Island during the 1850s and 1860s. Challenging the notion that there was a decline in the popularity of humanitarianism in the mid-nineteenth century, he demonstrates how the local colonial press adopted humanitarian language – hitherto used by Christian evangelists to promote Indigenous rights – to justify the expansion of settlers’ access to land, promote racial segregation, and allay fears of Indigenous violence, all while insisting on the “protection” of Indigenous peoples.

Settler Anxiety at the Outposts of Empire offers fresh perspectives on the history of race relations in British colonies, while it deftly explores the intersections between settler anxiety, the perceived threat of Indigenous violence, and the public use of humanitarian language. By locating New Zealand and Vancouver Island within networks of imperial communication, it also illustrates how the press worked to connect distant parts of the British Empire.

This innovative look at settler colonialism will be of interest to students and scholars of British Empire, Canadian and New Zealand history, print culture, comparative studies of colonialism, and Indigenous studies.

[T]his book is a useful exploration of race, humanitarianism, settler anxiety, and the imperial press, with a comparative framing that is both evocative and revealing. Laura Ishiguro, University of British Columbia, Pacific Historical Review
Settler Anxiety contributes to histories of the British empire, of the interconnections the colonies established within and beyond the empire, and of the role of humanitarianism in shaping colonial policies toward indigenous peoples ... Storey’s history offers an important counterpoint to British imperial histories and to U.S. histories of this period. Veta Schlimgen, Gonzaga University, Pacific Northwest Quarterly
Storey has written an important book … anyone seriously interested in settler colonialism and its relationship with Indigenous peoples will find it a well-researched and well-connected study with surprisingly broad implications. Cole Harris, The Ormsby Review
Settler Anxiety at the Outposts of Empire is meticulously researched and engagingly written. The colonial intrigues of the mid-nineteenth century are suffused with a freshness that draws readers in, as if they were reading about current events. It is a valuable addition to our understanding of the colonization process in New Zealand and on Vancouver Island. Robert Hogg, University of Queensland, Australia, BC Studies
Storey provides a highly nuanced, detailed and thought-provoking exploration of the place of humanitarianism in print culture, in both settler societies, and its relationship to a metropolitan debate about imperial responsibility, in particular in the face of threats of violence. Michael Belgrave, Journal of New Zealand Studies
Settler Anxiety at the Outposts of Empire offers a fresh and original perspective on the role of newspapers in colonial and imperial cultures. Kenton Storey’s pioneering research reveals how the colonial press deployed humanitarianism to soothe anxiety about race relations in the 1850s and 1860s. Jane Samson, author of Imperial Benevolence: Making British Authority in the Pacific Islands and Race and Empire
This book, which reveals how humanitarian discourse was used over the long term to influence colonial politics, makes a vital contribution to our understanding of colonialism, race, and imperialism. Gordon Winder, co-editor of Trading Environments: Frontiers, Commercial Knowledge, and Environmental Transformation, 1750-1990
Kenton Storey is a historian of the British Empire and a legal researcher working in the field of First Nations history. He has published articles in the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, the Journal of British Studies, and contributed a chapter to New Zealand’s Empire.


1 A Short History of New Zealand and Vancouver Island

2 Violence and Eviction on Vancouver Island

3 New Zealand’s Humanitarian Extremes

4 Aboriginal Title and the Victoria Press

5 The Auckland Press at War

6 Colonial Humanitarians?

7 The Imperial Press


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