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Travelling 'Under Concern': Quakers James Backhouse and George Washington Walker tour the Antipodean colonies, 1832-41


Edmonds, P, Travelling 'Under Concern': Quakers James Backhouse and George Washington Walker tour the Antipodean colonies, 1832-41, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 40, (5) pp. 769-788. ISSN 0308-6534 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Taylor & Francis

DOI: doi:10.1080/03086534.2012.730830


In 1832, British Quakers James Backhouse and George Washington Walker travelled ‘under concern’ on a trans-imperial journey that took nine years and spanned the Australian colonies of Van Diemen's Land, New South Wales and Swan River in Western Australia, Mauritius and South Africa's Cape Colony. Backhouse and Walker were fundamental to the creation and expansion of humanitarian networks in the antipodes, where they made major humanitarian interventions in matters concerning Aboriginal peoples, penal reform, slavery and education. This paper first traces the genesis and historical dimensions of their journey to contextualise it within a long transnational tradition of Quakers travelling ‘under concern’. The paper considers the tour through diverse interpretative approaches such as transnationalism and new work on transnational social movements, humanitarian travel writing and textuality, and argues that Backhouse and Walker were not imperial agents, nor were they agitators operating outside empire, but rather occupied a complex position as ‘institutional opponents’ working within imperial political circuits to broker various humanitarian reforms at multiple levels in the furtherance of their particular moral empire.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Historical studies not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding past societies not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Edmonds, P (Associate Professor Penny Edmonds)
ID Code:82378
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Riawunna
Deposited On:2013-01-29
Last Modified:2017-11-02
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