PAGE III of the abstracts
from the Colonial Places, Convict Spaces: penal transportation in global context, c. 1600-1940 Conference which was hosted by The Department of Economic & Social History, University of Leicester.

The abstracts are listed in alphabetical order on four separate pages to facilitate downloading.

Page I (A-G) (see below)

Chriss Addams & Mark M. Newell, The Dromedary Hulk, Bermuda

Clare Anderson, Fashioning Identity: the development of penal dress in the Indian convict settlements

Susan Ballyn, Hispanic and Lusophone Convicts in Australia: Research in Progress

James Bradley
, An Engine of Unlimited Power: Phrenology and the Individuation of Convicts in the 19th Century

Andrea Button, Commodities of the State: the trade in convict labour to the West Indies during the Interregnum

Timothy Coates, Exile as a Tool in Building and Maintaining the Early-Modern Portuguese Empire

Ian Duffield, Slave, Apprentice and 'Khoisan' Spaces in Colonial Places: Criminal Transportation from the Cape Colony to Australia as a Site of Contested Power Relations

Samantha Fabry, Convicts and Tobacco Consumption in Hyde Park Barracks

Lucy Frost, Constraining Foreign Tongues

Farley Grubb, The Trans-Atlantic Market for British Convict Labour (1767-1775)

Page II (H-Ma)

Bruce Hindmarsh, 'I'll be damned if I don't have some'; Convict Trangressive Consumption in Van Diemen's Land 1820-40

Erin Ihde, Edward Smith Hall: Colonial Paradox

Toni Johnson-Woods, 'The Hermit Convict'

Sara Joynes, The Australian Joint Copying Project and sources for Convict Studies

Patricia Kennedy, Exporting felons from British North America

Jan Kociumbas, Convict and Aboriginal Relations in Early Australia

Toomas Kotkas, The 19th Century Deportations of Finnish Convicts to Siberia

Ian McLean, Convict art and cultural capital: the case of Thomas Watling

Matthew P. Mauger, Criminal History Transported: The Literary Origins of the Convict Narratives

Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Between the Lines: Murder and Convict Society at Macquarie Harbour Penal Station

Page III (Me-Re) (see below)

David Meredith, Tasmanian Convict Workers: Modelling the Convict Labour Market in Van Diemen's Land, 1848-60

Tim Millet, Leaden Hearts: convict love tokens

Gwenda Morgan & Peter Rushton, Criminal Connections: Criminal Transportation and the Place of the North in the Atlantic World of the Eighteenth Century

Mark M. Newell & Chriss Addams, The Dromedary Hulk, Bermuda

Tamsin O'Connor, Charting New Waters With Old Patterns: The Black Marketeers, Pirates and Those Who Just Dreamed of the Way Home. The Penal Station and Port of Newcastle, 1804-1824

Diana Paton, An "Injurious" Population: Race and Slavery in the Transportation of West Indian Convicts to Australia

Tina Picton-Phillipps, Frozen Identities: An Exploration, 1810-1830

Anoma Pieris, Productive illegalities in the Colonial Straits Settlements

Geraldo Pieroni, The Portuguese Inquisition and Banishment to Brazil

Cassandra Pybus, "By any available means": The case of the Canadian Political Prisoners

Kirsty Reid, Gender and convict culture in Van Diemen's Land

Page IV (Ro-Z)

Sue Rosen, 'That Den of Infamy': The No. 2 Stockade, Cox's River.

Peter Rushton & Gwenda Morgan, Criminal Connections: Criminal Transportation and the Place of the North in the Atlantic World of the Eighteenth Century

Abby M. Schrader, Lawless Vagabonds and Civilizing Wives: The Official Cult of Domesticity and the Exile Problem in Early Nineteenth-Century Siberia

Heather Shore, From courthouse to convict-ship to colony: the Euraylus boys in the 1830s

Max Staples, Australian colonial art: is there a convict aesthetic?

Norma Townsend, An Alternative View of Female Convicts

Jim Walvin, Atlantic Slavery and convict slavery: an area for comparison

Kerry Ward, 'Bandieten and Bannelingen': penal and political transportation in the Dutch East India Company's Indian Ocean empire, c.1655-1795

Emily Warner, Subjectivity and the Penal Colony: Convict Narratives and Foucault

Stephen G. Wheatcroft, The Tsarist Prison System in the Perspective of the Stalinist and Other Prison Systems

Anand A. Yang, Con(vict) Tales from Bengkulen: Convict/Laborer/Slave in Early Nineteenth Century South and Southeast Asia

David Meredith, School of Economics, University of NSW (d.meredith@unsw.edu.au)
Tasmanian Convict Workers: Modelling the Convict Labour Market in Van Diemen's Land, 1848-60

This paper is concerned with the operation of the convict labour market in Van Diemen's Land. The market was comprised of two components: public employment and private employment. Specifically, the paper focuses on the private sector. A private labour market was created by the government assignment of convicts to private employers through a system known as 'probation'. This system underwent several changes, but at each stage, the government set broad terms and conditions for the employment of convict labour, although it did not stipulate wage rates. This paper uses data from individual labour contracts made between private employers and the government, for the period 1848 and 1860, to explore the work experiences of 10,137 convict men and women. Who did they work for? Who did they work with - were these small or large establishments? For how long were they with each employer? Did good workers get re-hired? What were they paid? Were there career paths open to convict workers? How did women fare compared with men? This information forms the basis for modelling how the private convict labour market operated in VDL, and to speculate on the relationship between penal transportation and economic development.
Tim Millet, Baldwin's Coin Dealers
Leaden Hearts: convict love tokens

Between 1814-45, the production of 'love tokens' was common practice. As convicts awaited transportation, they worked or paid to give material form to their last words. The love tokens produced have been described as 'postcards before sailing'. They speak of many things: artisan craftsmanship; the resources available to the incarcerated; and, loves, hopes and lives. Through the tokens, convict voices emerge. They speak of convicts' own understandings of incarceration and transportation to Australia.

Mark M. Newell, Georgia Archaeological Project & Chriss Addams, Advocational Marine Archaeologist, Bermuda, & (marknewell@aol.com/addamsfamily@ibl.bm)
The Dromedary Hulk, Bermuda

This paper presents preliminary data concerning the discovery, recovery, and preliminary analysis of the first major deposits of the material culture of the British shipboard penal system of the Western Hemisphere. The find reveals a distinct pattern of deposition which enables clear delineation of functional areas of the Prison Hulk Dromedary, moored in the Naval Dockyard of Bermuda's Ireland Island in the mid-nineteenth century. Analysis of the artifact assemblage provides insights into the lifeways of the hulk crew and inmates, into their subsistence patterns and into their economic activities. The potential for future research is discussed, revealing the likelihood that Bermuda offers a unique resource for future research into the use of shipboard prison systems dating from the Revolutionary War.
Tamsin O'Connor, Dept of History, University of Edinburgh (tamsin2@excite.co.uk)
Charting New Waters With Old Patterns: The Black Marketeers, Pirates and Those Who Just Dreamed of the Way Home. The Penal Station and Port of Newcastle, 1804-1824

On the eve of federation, Australia's first wave of republicans plundered the imagery of colonial bush life to meet the needs of an emergent national identity and this inward gaze would be held fast and firm by successive generations. The origins and implications of the bush legend have been much explored and at its heart we invariably find the convict, the old lag or the bushranger. This paper aims to re-examine not the myth, but the contexts of its human sources - their physical and mental geographies. By using the penal station of Newcastle as something of a microcosm for the wider colony, it will be demonstrated that the ocean was as powerful a societal force as the bush. The men and women of these first coastal settlements, while not unaware of their colonial predicament, did not turn invariably inward to construct their communities - they also looked to the sea with all its currents that coursed the globe and brought the possibility of comfort, grief, or even knowledge. It was the ports that allowed the convicts and free sailors and soldiers to replicate the black trading patterns of the old world. Equally the sea remained the enduring focus for dreams of freedom, it was the quite simply the only way in and the only way out. The ports of NSW witnessed all the brisk comings and goings of a military and imperial power and home might be any corner of the empire. Further, even when the convicts looked inward to the centre - it was an ocean or China they sought not yet Australia. It is hoped that this paper will contribute to the global understanding of convictism by examining the convicts' experiential and imagined relationships with the sea and its promise of worlds beyond - both known and unknown.
Diana Paton, Queen's College, University of Oxford (diana.paton@queens.ox.ac.uk)
An "Injurious" Population: Race and Slavery in the Transportation of West Indian Convicts to Australia

"The transportation of Convicts from the West Indies to the Australian Colonies ... tends to multiply in New South Wales & Van Diemen's Land, a population injurious to the best interests of those rising Settlements." This was the official reason for ending the transportation of convicts from the British Caribbean to the Australian colonies. The decision to prevent transportation of Caribbean prisoners was taken in 1837, one year before the complete abolition of slavery, and fifteen years before the last British convicts were sent to Van Diemen's Land. This paper explores the reasons behind that decision, and in particular, attempts to unpack what was "injurious" about West Indian convicts to the "rising Settlements" of Australia. It focuses especially on evidence from Jamaica, but also draws on material from other British colonies in the Caribbean. The paper suggests that, while the additional expense involved in transporting convicts the extra distance from the Caribbean was a factor in the decision, the debate also involved anxiety about "race." Colonial policy makers and bureaucrats expressed racialized views with considerable reticence. James Stephens even crossed out the word "negro" and replaced it with "this type of person" on one occasion. However, the response of Jamaican elites to the decision makes it clear that they understood that Jamaicans were not to be transported because they were "negroes." If Australia was not considered an appropriate destination for "negro convicts," asked the Jamaican House of Assembly in 1839, could not an area on the West coast of Africa be established as a penal colony?

What kind of theories about race and culture underlay the development of a conception of colonial whiteness that would ultimately erase the stigma of convict origins in Australia? Were black convicts seen as dangerous because they threatened to blur the line between indigenous people and convict-colonizers? Was it their status as people just released from enslavement that meant that West Indians were not "suitable" for transportation? And why did the Jamaican authorities argue, in contrast, that "negroes" were especially responsive to the threat of transportation?

This paper will use the records of the debate about transportation from Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean to analyze the racialized assumptions underlying colonial policy at a moment when official policy declared the impermissibility of racially based decision-making. It will also discuss the implications for the Jamaican penal regime of the decision to prevent transportation. One result of the decision was that Jamaican policy makers had to find ways to deal with "serious" but non-capital offenders earlier than did those in Britain. As is becoming clear with regard to a number of other areas, the colony - usually presented both at the time and historiographically as trailing "behind" the metropolis - turns out to have been in some respects more "modern" than the so-called mother country.

As a background to the discussion of the decision to end transportation from the West Indies, the paper will describe the development of the system of transportation from Jamaica during slavery. Although convicts were sent to Australia from Jamaica for the first time only in 1831, the island had been transporting individuals convicted of serious crimes since the seventeenth century. These "criminals" were enslaved, and the arrangements for their transportation were largely integrated into the slave trade, with private purchasers, usually slave traders, buying convicts and selling them in the Spanish American colonies. The newly independent Latin American republics' refusal in the 1820s to accept enslaved convicts led to the initial pressure on the Colonial Office to allow West Indian convicts to be transported to Australia.
Tina Picton-Phillipps, Dept of History, University of Edinburgh (C.Pictonphillipps@tesco.ne)
Frozen Identities: An Exploration, 1810-1830

Convict identities, as constructed by the home and colonial administrations, have provided a vast database for historians. These identities were collected in what were known as the "Convict Indents". The extension of fields of information gathered together as it related to each transportee has been the basis of several important academic works. The prosopographic information, when collected and collated through modern research methods could and does result in demonstrating "typical" and "a-typical" categories of convicts. Such an approach affirms the essentialisation of the individual as a member of an inclusive social group - "the convicts". Additionally these indents along with the annual Musters have provided a rich source for those searching their ancestors in Britain. These identities along with the accompanying "Ship of Arrival" which each convict had to name in official correspondence to the colonial administration is suggestive of a "new identity" with the transport ship taking an almost baptismal role in this figurative birth. The relative neglect by historians of correspondence from and to convicts as well as their petitions to the home and colonial administrations has privileged the identities imposed through the official surveillance and control records. This paper explores and interrogates these "Ego Documents" thereby disclosing an alternative identity for the individual. Through these documents we learn some of the aspirations and fears of transportation before embarking on a ship to New South Wales. Additionally we learn something of the sense of abandonment expressed by families and friends of those who were to be, or had been transported.

Each of these apparently opposing identities was created by the penal transportation system. Neither one nor the other identity is more "authentic" than the other. Each was socially constructed in the context of transportation. The ego documents demonstrate an alternative identity to that physical one collected by the administration for the purposes of labour. The indents demonstrate one "identity" and ego documents another. Neither identity invalidates the other. What is disclosed is the complex humanity of transported men and women.
Anoma Pieris, Dept of Architecture, University of California at Berkeley (anomap@hotmail.com)
Productive illegalities in the Colonial Straits Settlements

The illegal practices that were operative within the urban 'native quarters' of the 19th century Colonial Straits Settlements were perpetuated with the complicity of the colonial government. The bodily discourses surrounding the convict, the prostitute and the opium addict for example while emphasizing the perceived degeneracy of the native population produced a stigmatized labor pool that ensured a source of steady revenue for the colonial government. Illegality was thus colonized, administered and exploited by the Colonial bureaucracy and remained a productive but contentious bedfellow of its ethical self-projections. This essay takes the bodily discourse that surrounds the employment of Indian convict labor in the colonial building industry and examines the extent to which these subject categories are able to operate in contradiction to their subjugated status. To what extent does the production of the individual body within Colonial categories enable Indian immigrants to mobilize themselves within an alien social environment? How do they deploy the bodily discourses on illegality to their advantage and create a cohesive and alternate subculture to that prescribed to them by their European masters? To what extent is the Colonial government compelled to rewrite the notions of subjugation in order to accommodate immigrant culture? Taking the body as the starting point this essay argues that the subjugated body is a productive body that problematizes the application of centralized power.

On Wednesday 10 September 1856 the night of the Mohorrum festival in Singapore a few hundred Indian convicts forced their way out of their lines and lighting their way by torches carried their taboot in procession through the public streets to the house of the Resident Councilor and to the Government offices. This public rioting was their collective response to a government order that prevented them from carrying their taboot through the streets as in former years. They vented their displeasure by noisy cries and excited gestures protesting the curtailment of their freedom. In former years we are told "they were allowed to indulge in their Saturnalia without restraint, their taboot was the gayest and their processions the noisiest to be seen on public streets". Once they had vented their grievances they were persuaded to return quietly to the prison. A year later in August 1857 in view of the previous years protests the local government decided to repeal this order and allow the convicts the liberty of parading the streets during this same festival. The Governor stated that permission was granted under the conviction that "to refuse it would have the effect of needlessly exasperating the convict body , and of driving them to acts of desperation more dangerous to the peace and good order of the town than those that occurred the previous year". The convicts however are said to have refused to avail themselves of the permission given them. (from CB Buckley in An Anecdotal history of old Times in Singapore 1819-1867, p. 531).

The dialogue generated between the residents of the Colonial settlement and the Government regarding the issue of the convicts typically took two directions. The direction of the first disciplinary dialogue was to question those privileges awarded to the convicts which seemed in contradiction to their penal status. The direction of the second disciplinary dialogue was regarding control over the caliber of the convicts sent to the settlement. The convicts in Singapore armed with a peculiar coercive mobility deftly maneuvered the liminal space between freedom and incarceration complicating the social dialogue in an unprecedented manner. The position of the convict in Singapore was a frequent cause for debate largely because the degree of mobility across penal boundaries was kept conveniently ambivalent by an opportunistic colonial government. Laws instituted in favor of stricter regulation were constantly being revoked by the government using arguments which may be perceived as being in the convicts' favor. The objective of the punitive model was to create an industrious body of men operating in large gangs that required little control or supervision. In fact unlike the 19th Century European prisoner who had retreated into a concealed cellular environment the Indian convict in Singapore had become a common public figure.

My interest in this paper is not so much in the dividing practices or the scientific classification that no doubt will be referenced throughout this discussion but how those practices and classifications were containers for processes of subjectification through which the individual initiated an active self formation. My intention therefore is not to attempt a critique of the penal model put forward by Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish but to suggest that a different set of colonial priorities allowed prisoners in the Straits settlements a greater degree of extra penal interaction. My objective is to take a conventionally centralized authority such as the penal institution and to explore it as a fertile environment for the dissemination of a capillary form of power. My investigation is primarily concerned with the way in which the Colonial government's efforts to create a productive penal subject contributed albeit within a punitive framework to the subject's own self mobilization.
Geraldo Pieroni, Universidade de Brasília (pieroni@pop3.tba.com.br)
The Portuguese Inquisition and Banishment to Brazil

Public authorities have always fought against the criminal word and, in order to achieve a harmonious society (at least theoretically), have organized judiciary systems that were strong and coercive. These were considered by magistrates as essentially necessary for the defense of community. The practice of excluding undesirables from a community by arresting and condemning them to banishment has always existed in human society. The history of banishment in Portugal acquired new angles with the maritime expansion of the 15th and 16th centuries and the Inquisition's establishment in Portugal. Who were these condemneds? The exclusion of undesirable elements from the community was used by the Holy-Office both as a means of achieving social normalization and of populating recently discovered lands. By studying the royal laws and inquisitory regulations, one perceives that the majority of the banished was punished by crimes against morality and religion. These were new Christians, witches, blasphemers, visionaries, sodomites, bigamists, immoral and false priests. For the Inquisition, banishment functioned as a necessary religious and social defense against heterodox infection, while at the same time, serving as a mystical procedure for the purification of sins. Ministers of the Holy-Office used as many castigations and banishments as possible to insure proper purification. Social normalization and the expiation of sins fit perfectly into the colonizing struggle.
Cassandra Pybus, International Centre for Convict Studies, University of Tasmania (cass@peg.apc.org)
"By any available means": The case of the Canadian Political Prisoners

In September 1839 the warship HMS Buffalo took delivery of 137 Canadian political prisoners in Quebec to be delivered directly to the antipodean penal colonies of VDL and NSW. These men, known as the Canadian exiles, had been sentenced to death by hasty courts martial in the provinces of Lower and Upper Canada (present day Quebec and Ontario respectively) for fomenting rebellion but had received pardons conditional on transportation for life.

Examination of the documentation around the voyage of the Buffalo reveals this highly dubious manoeuvre was almost certainly illegal and undertaken by the Colonial Office in concert with the Admiralty, without the intervention of the Superintendent of Convicts in the Home Office. As such it was designed to short-circuit legal challenges from radical reformers in England which would have seen these men set at liberty.

My paper will consider this micro transportation in the context of political unrest in the British colonies in the age of reform and consider the political and legal issues it throws up in the use of inter-colonial transportation as a tool for political repression and control.
Kirsty Reid, School of Historical Studies, University of Bristol (Kirsty.Reid@Bristol.ac.uk)
Gender and convict culture in Van Diemen's Land

Historians have repeatedly characterised working-class culture in the Australian penal colonies as deeply misogynistic. Gender relations between the convicts have been particularly represented as antagonistic, brutal and exploitative. Convict women, we are told, bore the brunt of this, and were thus transformed into the 'victims of victims'. As a result, numerous historians have argued that convict women, seeking the protection of the state, saw the Female Houses of Correction as much as welcome asylums from male brutality as for the punitive and oppressive institutions of the penal state that they were. Others sought out individual protectors but apparently fared little better. Intimate relationships between convicts, and convict marriages in particular, have been depicted in almost wholly negative terms. Allegedly motivated by little more than instrumental considerations such partnerships are depicted as, at best emotionally unfulfilling, and at worst as abusively and violently patriarchal. Convict women, as one recent account argues, were 'consigned to domestic patriarchy - hidden, unregulated, often brutal but still the(ir) most likely chance of happiness and opportunity'.

Such representations draw upon two, perhaps ironically, interlocking discourses. The first of these belonged to the colonial ruling class which drew upon and adapted well-established metropolitan discourses of plebeian gender conflict and brutality in order to construct and reinforce an ideology of convict 'savagery'. The second belongs to feminist historians who have imposed a teleological framework upon the convict past in an attempt to explain the intensity and enduring nature of modern gender oppression in Australia. Such agendas have led historians to focus rather too exclusively upon evidence of male convict violence and female convict oppression at the cost of other, more conflicting, accounts that suggest the need for a more complex and nuanced understanding of convict culture.

A key problem with the convict misogyny approach is that it fails either to appreciate or to explain the extent to which male and female convicts sought each other out. If male convicts were really so unremittingly brutal and unpleasant then we can only assume that convict women were either their powerless and rather dim-witted victims or that they simply had appallingly bad taste in men. Moreover, rather than acting, as has been alleged by some historians, in patriarchal collusion with male convicts the colonial state and colonial employers generally sought either to prevent convict liaisons or at least to dictate their terms. Thus while the state encouraged convict marriage, it also sought a tight control over the institution. Convict women were only permitted to marry after a designated period of good conduct, and only if their marriage partners had been approved by the Governor. The family was perceived as a powerful disciplinary institution, central to the transformation of the convicts into a well-ordered, domesticated colonial working class. Attempts by convicts to establish and maintain proscribed relationships, often at high personal cost, therefore directly undermined this strategy.

Employers likewise struggled to keep male and female convicts apart. Partly they did so because they resented the loss of female convict labour which marriage or pregnancy all too often entailed. But they also did so because they recognised that the attempts by male and female convicts to socialise together were bound up with, and thus fed into, wider patterns of convict resistance. Shared leisure time was a powerful incentive for absenteeism and a frequent cause of drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Absentees of both sexes congregated in public houses, theatres and 'disorderly houses' and at card games, dances and the racecourses. On rural properties, male and female convicts together transformed sites such as huts, stables, barns and other outhouses into forums for their entertainment. On a more serious level a network of brothels, stretching throughout the colony, doubled as houses of assignation. These not only enabled convicts to maintain romantic and sexual affiliations despite employer and state opposition but also served as refuges and hideaways for women on the run.

These activities and the presence of large numbers of women on the streets testifies to the tenacity of a disorderly female culture in the colony. The material and lifestyle gains which women made from this culture were substantial. Sexual favours were exchanged for a range of items, including cash, alcohol, clothing and shelter for absentees. These enabled convict women to make the most of their absences from work and so in turn contributed to their ability to construct and maintain a semi-independent cultural space. Women subsequently sent to the House of Correction fed their earnings from prostitution into the informal economy trading for privileges that substantially lessened the severity of their punishment.
Rather than a culture of misogyny this paper will argue that convict culture was a culture of conflict. At its heart was the attempt by convicts, male and female, to reclaim from the state a measure of control over their intimate lives. The result was a gender order based as much upon convict solidarity as upon antagonism between the sexes.

Continue with abstracts:

Page I (A-G)


Page II (H-Ma)

Page III (Me-Re)

Each page lists all abstract authors alphabetically.

Page IV (Ro-Z)






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