Porscha Fermanis, ‘Pedestrian Touring, Racial Violence, and Bad Feeling in Trans-Tasman Settler Fiction’, The Making and Remaking of Australasia: Mobility, Texts, and ‘Southern Circulations’, ed. by Tony Ballantyne (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2022), 217-32.
Published in The Making and Remaking of Australasia (2022, ed. Tony Ballantyne), this chapter considers the representation of ‘bad feeling’ or negative affect in nineteenth-century settler fiction from Australia and New Zealand. Focusing on peripatetic novels describing various types of trans-Tasman touring, it examines how false, deceptive, violent, and otherwise negative feelings circulate across settler colonial spaces, demarcating Indigenous people, convicts, indentured labourers, and other politically precarious subjects from ‘compassionate’ white settler populations, while simultaneously identifying failures of white intimacy, heteronormative domesticity, and collective identity. The chapter argues that these trans-Tasman novels map out affective grounds that are simultaneously territorial and emotional, establishing ‘old’ Melbourne as the capital of a ‘heartless hemisphere’ with a ‘young’ New Zealand as its sentimental foil. At the same time, such novels propose a geographic repositioning of the affective bonds that mark out the relationship between old worlds and new, with London and other European metropoles figuring as peripheries rather than as affective centres. In considering how trans-Tasman novels place a regional relationship at the centre of their vision, the chapter examine the ways in which settler fiction both establishes and destabilises settler foundation myths of terra nullius and white nationhood.