Colonial Voices explores the role of language in the greater 'civilising' project of the British Empire through the dissemination and reception of, and challenge to, British English in Australia during the period from the 1840s to the 1940s. This was a period in which the art of oratory, eloquence and elocution was of great importance in the empire and Joy Damousi offers an innovative study of the relationship between language and empire. She shows the ways in which this relationship moved from dependency to independence and how, during that transition, definitions of the meaning and place of oratory, eloquence and elocution shifted. Her findings reveal the central role of voice and pronunciation in informing and defining both individual and collective identity, as well as wider cultural views of class, race, nation and gender. The result is a pioneering contribution to cultural history and the history of English within the British Empire.
Professor Joy Damousi is Head of the School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne. Her previous publications include Depraved and Disorderly: Female Convicts, Sexuality and Gender in Colonial Australia (1990), The Labour of Loss: Mourning, Memory and Wartime Bereavement in Australia (1999), Living with the Aftermath: Trauma, Nostalgia and Grief in Post-War Australia (2001) and Freud in the Antipodes: A Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in Australia (2005; Winner of the 2006 Ernest Scott Prize).
Introduction; Prologue: from England to empire; Part I. Colonial Experience: 1. Civilising speech; 2. Eloquence and voice culture; 3. Elocution theory and practice; Part II. Language Education: 4. Etiquette and everyday life; 5. Education; 6. Teachers and pupils; Part III. Social Reform and Oratory: 7. Social reform and eloquence; 8. Speech in war, 1914-18; Part IV. Australian English: 9. The colonies speak: speech and accent in the empire, 1920s and 1930s; 10. Broadcasting the radio voice; 11. The advent of the 'talkies' and imagined communities; Epilogue.