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The Good Colony? Samoa under German Rule

  • UoA City Campus, Arts 1 Building, room 209 14A Symonds Street Auckland, Auckland, 1010 New Zealand (map)

This week, UoA German is hosting a distinguished guest: Associate Professor Matthew P Fitzpatrick from the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. Matt is a specialist on colonialism in the Pacific and has agreed to give a talk for the Goethe Society.

German colonialism is often viewed as a prelude to the horrors of the Third Reich. According to this view, the genocidal warfare of German Southwest Africa is indicative of Germany’s characteristically brutal history of imperialist conduct. But where does this leave the history of Samoa under German rule? By examining elements of the history German colonialism in Samoa, this paper suggests that the Nazi analogy is a poor one for understanding liberal forms of imperialism, both in Samoa and elsewhere. It obscures the suppleness of empire and the scope for creating systems of domination without recourse to widespread atrocities. Accordingly, this paper suggests an alternative narration of German Samoa; one that neither seeks to reduce it to the pre-history of the Holocaust nor to rehabilitate it naively as Germany’s ‘good colony’.

The talk will be in English.

Drinks and nibbles as usual.

All welcome. Non-members are asked for a gold coin koha.

Earlier Event: September 5
German Film Festival
Later Event: September 27
Goethe Society Exams: prizegiving