Agrarian discourse in imperial context: landed property, Scottish stadial theory and indigenes in early colonial Australia
University of Exeter (formerly at Trinity College, Cambridge)
Australia & New Zealand Law & History e-journal
University of Auckland
The paper will explore conceptions of property in land within Scottish Enlightenment thought, and how these ideas were variously applied, unsettled and reworked in a particular colonial context. Recent work on imperial Britain has highlighted the themes of agrarianism and agricultural improvement, however such work has often neglected the specifics of how eighteenth-century Scottish thought conceptualised property within a stadial sequence with agriculture at the heart of both stadial progression and understandings of the divide between conceptions of savagery and civilisation. This paper will focus on the linkages between thinking about property and agricultural land use within the work of various Scottish thinkers; and in turn to the use of their thought in relation to perceptions of indigenous land and property in early colonial Australia . In doing so the paper will point to the existence of a particular agrarian discourse within both Scottish stadial theory and the broader imperial sphere.
 ANZLH e-Journal