Informit article: Containment, elimination, settler colonialism

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One of the founding statements of settler colonial studies as an autonomous scholarly field, a field that has consolidated in the last two decades, is that the ‘settler invasion is a structure, not an event’. Patrick Wolfe’s invitation was to look for settler colonialism in the ongoing subjection of indigenous peoples in the settler societies. The contemporary settler polities, he noted, have been ‘impervious to regime change’. It was an Australian-produced response to the consolidation and global spread of postcolonial studies as discourse and method (interestingly, postcolonial studies was also originally an Australian intellectual export). This article exceeds Wolfe’s invitation and looks for settler-colonial structures beyond the contemporary polities established by settlers during the age of the ‘settler revolution’ and controlled by their political descendants. After all, it is a collection of former settler colonies that eventually became the uncontested ‘global hegemon’. My most recent book argues that settler colonialism as a specific mode of domination has gone global and fundamentally defines present dispensations. This article focuses on the need to understand, and on the urgency to respond to, a new reality.

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