Female imperialism : the Victoria League in Canterbury, New Zealand, 1910-2003.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts (Hons)
This thesis examines the activities of the Victoria League in Canterbury, New Zealand from 1910to 2003, contributing to the historiography of gender and imperialism, and the work done to date on 'female imperialism' in Britain, Canada and South Africa. The arguments of this thesis are fivefold. Firstly, it argues that the League situated itself as patriotic first and foremost and was thus keenly interested in instilling a sense of patriotism in the citizens of New Zealand. Secondly, the thesis argues that this patriotism encompassed not only empire but also national, and even regional, pride. It argues that, rather than being mutually exclusive, when national or regional pride was expressed it sat within an empire schema. Thirdly, the thesis argues that from its belief in the hierarchies of empire and love of all things British stemmed the League's sense of racial pride and ideas about race and ethnicity. Fourthly, the thesis examines in what ways the League's work reflected the group's ideas about women's place and its perceptions of work suitable for elite women. Finally, it argues that for much of its existence the League represented dominant conservative politics, drew on dominant discourses, but that as the century progressed the group represented decreasingly popular ideas.