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 Featured Title
Colonial Proximities
Crossracial Encounters and Juridical Truths in British Columbia, 1871-1921
Renisa Mawani  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 5/15/2009
ISBN: 9780774816335    

$34.95 Paperback
Release Date: 1/1/2010
ISBN: 9780774816342    

288 Pages

Law and Society series


About the Book

Contemporary discussions of multiculturalism and pluralism remain politically charged in former settler societies. Colonial Proximities historicizes these contestations by illustrating how crossracial encounters in one colonial contact zone -- late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century British Columbia -- inspired juridical racial truths and forms of governance that continue to inform contemporary politics, albeit in different ways.

Drawing from a wide range of legal cases, archival materials, and commissions of inquiry, this book charts the racial encounters between aboriginal peoples, European colonists, Chinese migrants, and mixed-race populations. By exploring the real and imagined anxieties that informed contact in salmon canneries, the illicit liquor trade, and the (white) slavery scare, this book reveals the legal and spatial strategies of rule deployed by Indian agents, missionaries, and legal authorities who, in the interests of racial purity and European resettlement, aspired to restrict, and ultimately prevent, crossracial interactions. Linking histories of aboriginal-European contact and Chinese migration, this book demonstrates that the dispossession of aboriginal peoples and Chinese exclusion were never distinct projects, but part of the same colonial processes of racialization that underwrote the formation of the settler regime.

Colonial Proximities shows us that British Columbia’s contact zone was marked by a racial heterogeneity that not only produced anxieties about crossracial contacts but also distinct modes of exclusion including the territorial dispossession of aboriginal peoples and legal restrictions on Chinese immigration. It is essential reading for students and scholars of history, anthropology, sociology, colonial/ postcolonial studies, and critical race and legal studies.

About the Author(s)

Renisa Mawani is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


1) Introduction: Heterogeneity and Interraciality in British Columbia’s Colonial "Contact Zone"

2) The Racial Impurities of Global Capitalism: The Politics of Labour, Interraciality, and Lawlessness in the Salmon Canneries

3) (White) Slavery, Colonial Knowledges, and the Rise of State Racisms

4) National Formations and Racial Selves: Chinese Traffickers and Aboriginal Victims in British Columbia's Illicit Liquor Trade

5) "The Most Disreputable Characters": Mixed-Bloods, Internal Enemies, and Imperial Futures

Conclusion: Colonial Pasts, Entangled Presents, and Promising Futures





"This book offers fascinating new perspectives on the roots of Canadian racism. Moving beyond traditional narratives of Aboriginal-European contact and Chinese-European relations, Renisa Mawani probes the unsettled landscape of crossracial encounters between 'Indians' and 'Chinese' in British Columbia history. She deftly captures the frenzied anxieties that whites harboured over ungovernable mixed-race activities, and brilliantly dissects the renewed state racisms that were born of such encounters."
-- Constance Backhouse, Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

"Renisa Mawani is a rigorous researcher, a sharp analyst, and a wide-ranging thinker. This is a powerful piece of work, and scholars of colonialism and race making in British Columbia and settler colonies more generally will benefit from it."

-- Adele Perry, Canada Research Chair in Western Canadian Social History, University of Manitoba, and author of On the Edge of Empire

Sample Chapter

Front Matter and Chapter One

Related Topics

Aboriginal Studies
Cultural Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Colonial Proximities from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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