This article examines biological absorption (the imagined process by which indigenous identity would disappear through interracial sexual liaisons) and its relationship to the assimilation policies of the United States and Australia. In the debates about whether or not indigenous assimilation policies constituted genocide, biological absorption has often been pointed to as a particularly salient example of genocidal thinking. US and Australian historians, however, have mostly seen biological absorption as only a minor aspect of assimilation. This article argues that biological absorption should be recognized as a pervasive construct underlying many aspects of Australia’s and the United States’ dealings with Aborigines and Native Americans, respectively. Acknowledging its pervasiveness blurs the boundaries between ethnocide and genocide, demonstrating that strict definitions are not always useful for historians attempting to understand the actions of settler societies.
"Biological Absorption and Genocide: A Comparison of Indigenous Assimilation Policies in the United States and Australia,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol4/iss1/5