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Human Rights Review

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 419–421 | Cite as

The Aborigines’ Protection Society: Humanitarian Imperialism in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Canada, South Africa, and the Congo, 1836-1909 by James Heartfield

New York: Columbia University Press, 2011
  • Susan Hinely
Book Review
  • 86 Downloads

The dominant narrative in contemporary scholarship on late modern imperialism highlights the many ways in which Victorian philanthropy and “civilizing” missions served to facilitate imperial rule and to subjugate non-Western cultures. James Heartfield’s detailed and comprehensive history of the Aborigines’ Protection Society (APS) offers a different way to look at these immense and highly influential humanitarian efforts. While not denying the baleful, sometimes tragic consequences of the policies of the APS, Heartfield complicates the standard story by grounding these policies in the tangled interests and competing forces that shaped imperial expansion, and by persuasively arguing that humanitarian intervention challenged, as well as abetted, the forces of Western commerce. His survey of APS activism in Oceania, North America, South Africa, and the Congo shows that the APS often provided the only counterforce to Western land and labor exploitation, relentlessly troubled the Western...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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