Dancing with Strangers: Europeans and Australians at First Contact

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"In January 1788 the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales and a thousand British men and women encountered the people who would be their new neighbors. Dancing with Strangers tells the story of what happened between the first British settlers of Australia and the people they found living there. Inga Clendinnen offers a fresh reading of the earliest written sources, the reports, letters, and journals of the first British settlers in Australia. It reconstructs the difficult path to friendship and conciliation pursued by Arthur Phillip and the local leader 'Bennelong' (Baneelon); and then it traces the painful destruction of that hard-won friendship as profound cultural differences asserted themselves." A distinguished and award-winning historian of the Spanish encounters with Aztec and Maya Indians of sixteenth-century America, Clendinnen's analysis of the early cultural interactions in Australia touched broader themes of recent historical debate: the perception of others, the meanings of culture, and the nature of colonialism and imperialism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Clendinnen wrtes so well, with an eye for detail and character that maker her a pleasure to read." The New York Times Book Review

“It is not often that a nonspecialist writing outside her usual area of study does as well as Clendinnen does here. Clendinnen writes understandably for anyone interested in early Australian history. ”

"In this book Inga Clendinnen breathes new life into early contact between indigenous and incoming peoples in Sydney, Australia, during the late eighteenth century...This book is a wonderful rollercoaster ride through the highs and lows of cross-cultural contact, and is highly recommended." - American Historical Review, Fiona Paisley, Griffith University

"Clendinnen writes in such an engaging, lively, and moving way and with real anthropological insight that the general reader interested in the human condition and relations between races will find her book a stimulating read." - Stefan Petrow, University of Tasmania

"A beautifully written account of cross-cultural relations...a valuable contribution both to ways of understanding colonial pasts and ongoing efforts to pursue reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples today"
Anne Keary, Canadian Journal of History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521616812
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Inga Clendinnen is Emeritus Scholar in History at La Trobe University. She is also the author of Aztecs (Cambridge, 1991), Reading the Holocaust (Cambridge, 1999), and Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in the Yucatan, 1517-1570 (2nd edition 2003, Cambridge).
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Dancing with strangers; 3. Meeting the informants; 4. Governor Arthur Phillip; 5. Captain John Hunter; 6. Surgeon-General John White; 7. Judge-Advocate David Collins; 8. Watkin Tench, Captain-Lieutenant of Marines; 9. Settling in; 10. What the Australians saw; 11. Arabanoo; 12. Enter Baneelon; 13. Spearing the Governor; 14. 'Coming In'; 15. House guests; 16. British sexual politics; 17. Australian sexual politics; 18. Boat trip to Rose Hill; 19. Headhunt; 20. On disciple; 21. Potato thieves; 22. Expedition; 23. Crime and punishment: Boladeree; 24. Barangaroo; 25. Tench goes home; 26. Phillip goes home; 27. Collins goes home; 28. Collins reconsiders; 29. Baneelon returned; 30. Bungaree; 31. Enter Mrs Charles Meredith; 32. Epilogue.
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