Made to Matter: White Father, Stolen Generations
Fiona Probyn-Rapsey
Sydney University Press
ISBN: 9781920899974

Most members of the Stolen Generations had white fathers or grandfathers. Who were these white men? This book analyses the stories of white fathers, men who were positioned as key players in the plans to assimilate Aboriginal people by 'breeding out the colour'. The plan to 'breed out the colour' ascribed enormous power to white sperm and white paternity; to 'elevate', 'uplift' and disperse Aboriginality in whiteness, to blank out, to aid cultural forgetting.

The policy was a cruel failure, not least because it conflated skin colour with culture and assumed that Aboriginal women and their children would acquiesce to produce 'future whites'. It also assumed that white men would comply as ready appendages, administering 'whiteness' through marriage or white sperm. This book attempts to put textual flesh on the bodies of these white fathers, and in doing so, builds on and complicates the view of white fathers in this history, and the histories of whiteness to which they are biopolitically related.

It is rare to come across studies of important themes in the context of a national culture, such as the Australian, and think, why has this not been examined properly before? Fiona Probyn-Rapsey's Made to Matter. White Fathers, Stolen Generations represents such a study ... Made to Matter is an important book not least because it draws attention to an overlooked aspect of twentieth-century outback contact-zone history.

- Lars Jensen, Book review, Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia (JEASA), Vol.6 No.1, 2015.

To purchase a copy please visit the SUP site.

Recent Submissions

  • Prelims 

    Probyn-Rapsey, Fiona
    Published 2013-01-01
    Open Access
    Book chapter