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Convicts By Clare Anderson.pdf



'Clare Anderson's book is the first detailed study of a hitherto neglected aspect of Mauritian history - the importation of convicts from India in the early 19th century - but it is also much more than this. Dr Anderson does an admirable job in placing the Mauritius convict experience within a wider theoretical and historical context...the convict lives which [she] has painstakingly recreated make this history a riveting read. She has the rare skill of combining academic precision with the ability to tell a good story.' - Mauritian International




Convicts by Clare Anderson.pdf


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Anderson has researched penal colonies for almost twenty years, since the start of her PhD research in 1994 and appointment to a lectureship at Leicester on 1.9.1997. She is co-founder of the International Centre for Convict Studies, based in Tasmania (1999), which brings together international scholars and partners from government, museums, and heritage, and she has been awarded numerous competitive research grants [G1, G2]. These grants have resulted in many research outputs (including [1-6]). Anderson's research and publications have together forged an entirely new area in the field of criminal justice, labour and convict history by revealing the existence of numerous penal colonies in the Indian Ocean [2, 6]. She has shown that convicts moved multi-directionally around Empire, not uni-directionally from Britain and Ireland to the Australian and American colonies only (as historians previously assumed). She has researched hitherto unknown Indian Ocean transportations in Mauritius, Burma, the Malay Archipelago and Indonesia; mapped sites and counted convicts; established convicts' economic and cultural importance [1, 2, 6]; written about the relationship between penal colonies and the making of categories of race and gender [3, 5]; uncovered the extent of convict resistance [1-6]; and shown that transportation was part of a larger colonial repertoire of un-free labour, and that it has had important cultural, social and heritage legacies [1, 2, 6].


This extensive body of published research led the Australian Government's Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts to invite Anderson in 2006 to become one of 12 international expert academic consultants (and the only UK-based scholar) on the UNESCO nomination group bidding to place a group of penal colonies onto the World Heritage List. The sites are situated across Australia, including in Western Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania and Norfolk Island. These sites received c. 166,000 British and Irish men, women and children during the period 1787-1868. The Government needed to build a case to show that the sites were globally significant as unique surviving heritage of the history of punishment and convict labour. Of key importance was the Government's desire to claim them as the best heritage examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts. It was Anderson's comparative research that was of critical importance in building this case.


The Australian government team used Anderson's research extensively in preparing its bid, and it also commissioned her to research and write two reports for the nomination team on the heritage legacies of penal colonies, indentured labour ghats, and slave forts at colonies in a variety of locations outside Australia, namely: the Indian Ocean, including India, Burma, the Straits Settlements (now Singapore and Malaysia) and Mauritius; French Guiana on the northern coast of South America; New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific (2006, 2007; see below, section 5). The purpose of these reports was to compare sites all over the world to the Australian convict sites under consideration for nomination, and to assess in what ways the Australian sites were notable, unique or outstanding. Drawing on her existing research and knowledge of the history of punishment, penal transportation, penal colonies, and un-free labour regimes [1, 2, 5, 6], Anderson reported on the ways in which the history and material legacies of the sites as well as the experiences of convicts in them could be compared. This gave the Australian government team the essential comparative data they needed to develop the final application for its own convict sites. All this work was completed while Anderson was employed at Leicester, before she took up an academic post at the University of Warwick on 1.10.2007.


Anderson's contribution allowed the 252-page nomination document to assert confidently that, "The Australian Convict Sites are unparalleled in the world today as an outstanding example of the forced migration of convicts . . . The analysis is based on extensive studies of convict sites and non-convict sites around the world undertaken by international experts in 2006 and 2007". After the nomination was published in 2008, the Australian Government's Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts wrote to Anderson to thank her for her "on-going support and assistance". The letter noted: "The wide ranging advice and information you provided were invaluable to the completion of our nomination. We very much appreciated being able to draw on your extensive knowledge and expertise in this field" [D]. 041b061a72


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