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Nineteenth century Western ideas about Indigenous Australians were shaped by theories of ' race '. Define and discuss such theories, how they affected colonialist concepts of Indigenous subjectivity, and their contemporary manifestations.

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  1. The transition from a tolerant and humanitarian racism, in the 18th and first half of the 19th century, to a harsh and discriminatory racism, from the mid 19th century to the Second World War
  2. How those race theories shaped the settlers' ideas about Indigenous people and brought about racist attitudes and policies directed against them
  3. The contemporary manifestations of racism, which take different forms, but most of the time consist of stereotyped statements about Aboriginal people

Racism is an ongoing process: some of the old ideas of the 19th century are still there, though most of them have evolved, but racism, whatever its form, has not disappeared. Defining racism is challenging, as it is a dynamic process. I based my essay on the definition I found the most relevant: racism is made of "beliefs, statements and acts which make certain ethnic groups inferior on the basis that they do not belong to the culture of origin of the dominant ethnic group within the state apparatus." This definition is interesting because it gives three components of racism ("beliefs, statements and acts"), which sum up very well my essay structure. Racism was born out of beliefs ? often made up to justify colonisation and dispossession ? in the 18th and 19th century.

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