Publication Type:
Journal Article
Postcolonial Studies, 2018, 21 (1), pp. 35 - 48
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© 2018 The Institute of Postcolonial Studies. This article explores the resonances of objects that travelled between continents and the entangled imaginaries tied to them – here a 30-tonne German military tank captured by Australian soldiers during the First World War in France and shipped to Brisbane to be exhibited at the Queensland Museum. The author ‘reads’ the tank, intriguingly named ‘Mephisto’, as the apotheosis of nature/culture divide entrenched in nineteenth-century colonialism, which exported the taxonomies of the Enlightenment to the antipodes and in return repatriated objects of flora and fauna all over Europe. Mephisto thus also marks the manifestation of a German–Australian modernity: developed from the agricultural tractor, the tank remains a brutal and clumsy device designed purely to subdue and conquer territory.
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