The settler colonial woman as a new woman: Larissa Fritzenschaf, The New Zealand New Woman: Representations of White Women in Settler Colonial New Zealand, PhD dissertation, Johannes Gutenberg University, 2022


Abstract: In recent decades, settler colonial theory has been a a field of continuously growing academic interest and research. However, the role of white women within the settler colonial framework so far has often been neglected, especially in front of a specific New Zealand backdrop. Thus, this dissertation examines how the structures of settler colonialism affect and influence the role and ideal of white New Zealand women. A survey of the development of New Zealand suffrage, as well as of the female ideals shaping and being shaped in the Anglosphere over the course of the nineteenth century will provide the backbone to a comparative approach which will contrast New Zealand with the Empire’s home Britain, and the United States of America, as fellow settler colonial nation, in order to show what sets New Zealand women apart from their peers. The rich archival material available in the New Zealand context will be explored thoroughly, and the representations of white New Zealand women in personal accounts and historical pieces of life-writing, as well as in historical newspapers will be compared to their portrayal in autobiographical/autofictional narratives and historical novels by contemporary women authors. Focusing on the particular area where life-writing studies, gender studies, and settler colonial theory overlap, literary analysis and archival work will be the two cornerstones on which this dissertation is founded. Reading personal reminiscences in continuity with pieces of life-writing and fiction will allow me to address the question whether there is such a thing as a New Zealand New Woman and what role she assumes within settler colonial New Zealand. Ultimately my research will reveal whether settler colonialism, due to its nature as on-going phenomenon, still resonates in New Zealand writing until today in order to come to terms with a settler colonial past and present.

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