Race, Gender, and British Anthropology in Nineteenth Century New Zealand
Reilly, Hope Marie
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A popular, though nascent, field of study in nineteenth century Britain, anthropology pioneered research into the interaction of humans with the environment, religion, disease, and culture. In the case of New Zealand, British anthropologists studied the rise of a “half-caste” population, which were individuals of Maori and British descent. In order to apply racial ideologies upon the Maori populations, British anthropologists wanted to understand the place of the Maoris within the British Imperial racial hierarchy, and even more complicated, the position of the half-castes within this structure. This thesis focuses on the complex ways in which British anthropologists constructed the “half-caste” demographic within New Zealand in the years between 1850 and 1890. British anthropologists used these interpretations in order to assess the place of the “half-caste” within the larger system of British settler colonialism in New Zealand. The half-caste body served as a locus for meaning making and discussion on race for nineteenth century British anthropologists imposed a racial categorization for the half-caste that sought to stabilize hybrid identities within a shifting understanding of racial hierarchy.