Associate Professor Karin Speedy has been awarded a Marsden Fund grant in the 2021 round for her trans-imperial historical project titled, ‘When colonial worlds connect: trans-imperial networks of forced labour between the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the untold stories of Reunionese Creoles in Oceania’.
How interconnected was the colonial Pacific? To what extent was the Pacific a site of continuing cultural creolisation? What are the legacies of these trans-imperial migrations today? While there has been much recent historical interest in British imperial networks and horizontal mobilities (of colonised peoples) around the British empire, Speedy’s project questions the bounded nature of these networks and focuses instead on uncovering intersecting 19th century trans-imperial connections (French and British) operating across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. She will investigate the roles of merchants, Marists, and colonial administrators in a triangular Reunion-Pacific labour trade, with Sydney as its locus.
Bringing the neglected Francophone Pacific into historical conversations around mobilities, her project will also tell the stories of Reunionese Creole migrants to the region, revealing through archival research, oral histories, artefacts and literary sources, the technological and cultural contributions of Creole knowledge systems to Oceania.
By tracing the movement of people, knowledge and ideas between diverse colonial spaces, highlighting Sydney as a site of exchange for trans-imperial ‘immigration schemes’, writing hidden Francophone migration histories of Creoles in the Pacific, interrogating intergenerational trauma, memories of slavery and rhizomatic identity construction, Speedy will make an important original contribution to scholarship on trans-imperial histories in the Pacific and racial fluidity across colonies.
Associate Professor Karin Speedy obtained this Marsden Fund grant as a private individual through her organisation, Speedy Research & Consulting. She is affiliated to The University of Adelaide where she holds an honorary Visiting Research Fellow position. The success rate for established researchers in the 2021 round was 10.2%.
If you are a descendant of 19th century Reunionese migrants to the Pacific and would like to participate in this research, please get in touch with Associate Professor Karin Speedy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Total funding: $455,000 (excluding GST) over three years from 2022.
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