The Aesthetic Terrain of Settler Colonialism: Katherine Mansfield and Anton Chekhov's Natives
Journal of Postcolonial Writing (Forthcoming)
25 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2018 Last revised: 30 Jun 2018
Date Written: February 1, 2018
While Anton Chekhov’s influence on Katherine Mansfield is widely acknowledged, the two writers’ settler colonial aesthetics have not been brought into systematic comparison. Yet Chekhov’s chronicle of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East parallels in important ways Mansfield’s near-contemporaneous account of colonial life in New Zealand. Both writers were concerned with a specific variant of the colonial situation: settler colonialism, which prioritises appropriation of land over the governance of peoples. This essay considers the aesthetic strategies each writer developed for capturing that milieu in their travel writings within the framework of the settler colonial aesthetics that has guided much anthropological engagement with endangered peoples.
Keywords: Settler Colonialism, Ethnography, Salvage Anthropology, Sakhalin, New Zealand, Siberia, Maori, Gilyak, Russian Colonialism, Empire
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