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Race and Realpolitik

The Politics of Colonisation in German Samoa


Evelyn Wareham

German colonisation in Samoa from 1900 to 1914 was characterised by the interplay of conflicting definitions of race. The central question this study asks is to what extent, and in which ways, ideologies of race shaped German colonial policy in Samoa. It analyses the administration’s paternalist development policies, debates over white settlement, the introduction and treatment of indentured labourers, and the legal classification of mixed marriages and half-castes. The author argues that rather than uniting the colonising community in a racist mission of domination, racial thought amplified the fissures in German Samoa’s population and supported the administration’s Realpolitik.
Contents: Rethinking Race in Pacific History – The Colonising Mission: Developing Samoan Difference – «Going Troppo»: White Degeneration and White Settlement – Economies of Race: Classifying the Indentured Labour Force – Legislating Division: Sex, Citizenship and Empire – Race and Imperial Tensions.