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White anxieties and the articulation of race: the women’s movement and the making of White Australia, 1910s–1930s

Chapter


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Abstract


  • This chapter examines the racial anxieties at work in the Australian

    women’s movement in the early 1900s, focussing on campaigns and

    organisations aimed at increasing and ‘improving’ the white population

    on the one hand and discussions of the ‘Aboriginal problem’ on the other.

    It particularly examines the activities of the National Council of Women,

    the largest women’s group of this period, and the Australian Federation of

    Women Voters, a smaller but highly influential organisation, as well as

    local groups which emerged to further these causes. Specifically, it

    explores efforts to promote immigration from Britain, which went

    alongside eugenic measures to exclude ‘unfit’ white migrants as well, and

    various schemes aimed at producing ‘well born’ white children. As I hope

    to show, these seemingly disparate activities were informed by a single

    racial imperative. The racial interests of the movement coalesced around

    anxieties about the need for a large and healthy white population to

    secure the nation’s future. Indeed, their racially based reforming

    campaigns revolved almost entirely around anxieties internal to

    whiteness. While the women’s movement showed remarkably little

    interest in the ‘Aboriginal problem’, or the ‘peril’ of Asian immigration,

    their vigorous campaigns around improving the quality and quantity of

    the white population reveal how racialised thinking in fact permeated the

    movement and animated many of its endeavours. And women’s work was

    presented as essential to implementing these vital racial programs.

Publication Date


  • 2009

Citation


  • Carey, J. L. (2009). White anxieties and the articulation of race: the women’s movement and the making of White Australia, 1910s–1930s. In J. L. Carey & C. Mclisky (Eds.), Creating White Australia (pp. 195-213). Sydney: Sydney University Press. http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au//bitstream/2123/8409/1/Creating-White-Australia-Carey-11.pdf

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781920899424

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2791&context=lhapapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1785

Book Title


  • Creating White Australia

Start Page


  • 195

End Page


  • 213

Place Of Publication


  • Sydney

Abstract


  • This chapter examines the racial anxieties at work in the Australian

    women’s movement in the early 1900s, focussing on campaigns and

    organisations aimed at increasing and ‘improving’ the white population

    on the one hand and discussions of the ‘Aboriginal problem’ on the other.

    It particularly examines the activities of the National Council of Women,

    the largest women’s group of this period, and the Australian Federation of

    Women Voters, a smaller but highly influential organisation, as well as

    local groups which emerged to further these causes. Specifically, it

    explores efforts to promote immigration from Britain, which went

    alongside eugenic measures to exclude ‘unfit’ white migrants as well, and

    various schemes aimed at producing ‘well born’ white children. As I hope

    to show, these seemingly disparate activities were informed by a single

    racial imperative. The racial interests of the movement coalesced around

    anxieties about the need for a large and healthy white population to

    secure the nation’s future. Indeed, their racially based reforming

    campaigns revolved almost entirely around anxieties internal to

    whiteness. While the women’s movement showed remarkably little

    interest in the ‘Aboriginal problem’, or the ‘peril’ of Asian immigration,

    their vigorous campaigns around improving the quality and quantity of

    the white population reveal how racialised thinking in fact permeated the

    movement and animated many of its endeavours. And women’s work was

    presented as essential to implementing these vital racial programs.

Publication Date


  • 2009

Citation


  • Carey, J. L. (2009). White anxieties and the articulation of race: the women’s movement and the making of White Australia, 1910s–1930s. In J. L. Carey & C. Mclisky (Eds.), Creating White Australia (pp. 195-213). Sydney: Sydney University Press. http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au//bitstream/2123/8409/1/Creating-White-Australia-Carey-11.pdf

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781920899424

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2791&context=lhapapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1785

Book Title


  • Creating White Australia

Start Page


  • 195

End Page


  • 213

Place Of Publication


  • Sydney