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Knapman, Claudia

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White women in Fiji 1835-1930

Picture of White women in Fiji 1835-1930
First published in 1986, White women in Fiji 1835-1930 : the ruin of empire? challenges assumptions and assertions about the role of European women in multi-racial colonial societies. Claudia Knapman used a combination of interviews, archival and newspaper and other sources to picture the lives of European women in Fiji between the 1830s and 1930s. She offered a new and challenging interpretation of the nature and inter-relationship between racism and sexism in colonial societies. As Knapman points out, gender has been used to argue that racial disharmony came with the presence of foreign women. White women in Fiji’s colonial society were stereotyped as discordant forces in the domestic sphere whereas Knapnam show that their domestic work was crucial to the maintenance of white society. Some writers have argued that European women were responsible for promoting racial tensions in Fiji. Knapman shows that women were no different from men in contact situations and rather than an antagonistic element were crucial to establishing inter-racial relations.