SouthHem is a five-year (2016-2021) comparative study of the literary outputs and mediating institutions produced by British settlers, indigenous populations, and mixed-race peoples in the British-controlled Southern Hemisphere and Straits Settlements from 1780-1870. The project focuses on three transnational zones: ‘Zone 1’ (Oceania): Australia and New Zealand; ‘Zone 2’ (Southern Africa): Cape Colony and Natal; and ‘Zone 3’ (Straits Settlements): Singapore, Penang, and Malacca. The literatures considered in this context include writing in English, translations into English, transcriptions, and writing in languages of origin.
- How did literary modernity (and its institutions, associations, and print cultures) emerge and develop outside of Europe and the Northern Hemisphere?
- How did cultural capital and literary value accrue in the colonial Southern Hemisphere and Straits Settlements?
- Was Romanticism a significant model of taste or did other standards of taste predominate?
- How can we think about the relationship between settler and indigenous literary cultures in ways that credit the long histories of aesthetic production among colonized populations?
Work Package 1
“Books and Readers” (2016-2021) is a five-year book history and history of reading project, which traces the changing nature of colonial book holdings and reading habits through an analysis of library, auction, book-seller, and private catalogues.
Work Package 2
“Settler Literary Culture” (2016-2019) considers comparative case studies of white settler literary culture, looking at 1. literary institutions and associations; 2. literary productions and print cultures; and 3. the role of mediators.
Work Package 3
“Translations” (2019-2021) looks at indigenous and mixed-race writing mediated through English, either at the point of production or through translation or transcription.
Work Package 4
“Encounters” (2019-2021) focuses on literary encounters (in English or otherwise) between indigenous and white settler populations, including proximate encounters, distant or virtual encounters, and symbolic or imaginative encounters.