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Cristina Ivanovici, University of Birmingham
Configurations of Time and Space in Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood

My paper focuses on the examination of configurations of space and time in the stories published by Margaret Atwood in 2005 and 2006 and subsequently collected in Moral Disorder (2006). In this paper, I argue that conceptualizing space and time in specific ways results in a coherent ‘whole’ text. I analyze significant trends in conceptualizing time and spatial paradigms in Canadian short-story writing in relation to the process of textualizing identity within Atwood’s new collection. Despite the fact that these recent texts interweave with the genre of memoir, I argue that they do not reveal autobiographical elements (as has been claimed by a number of reviewers). On the contrary, I argue that these short stories question isolated, urban and non-urban spaces as locations, and reconsider the concept of ‘sanctuary’ as in-between home and refuge.
This paper will begin with a textual analysis of the cultural construction of space and time in Moral Disorder and will identify how these short stories form a coherent text. The paper examines how time and isolated spaces shape individual identities, cultural interaction, and the re-conceptualization and re-configuration of ‘private’ and ‘public’ space in the selected short stories. Finally, I shall consider textual strategies in representing space as ‘boundary’ or ‘sanctuary’ in this collection: strategies that encourage the reader to interpret the text using the concept of ‘surviving community’.

Rachel Walls, University of Nottingham
From “Innocent, vulnerable, spun glass kingdom” to “a voyeur’s paradise”: Representations of Vancouver in the work of Douglas Coupland

The title of Coupland’s non-fiction tribute to Vancouver is City of Glass, and this paper aims to use this vision of Vancouver as a multi-layered metaphor applicable to his novel Girlfriend in a Coma. Girlfriend’s first representation of Vancouver is the fairytale depiction of my initial quote; the protagonist nostalgically remembers the seventies when the city “was so new that it dreamed only of what the embryo knows”. As the “empty pagan teenagers” of this innocent beginning grow into equally empty adults, the city also grows, but nature is always evident. References to mountains north and east of the city and volcanic Mount Baker to the south lead to my suggestion that the city is glasslike in its fragility; Vancouver’s position on the edge of the Pacific and a continental plate ensure a blow by nature would result in glass shattering destruction. A third use of the glass trope relates to Vancouver as a film / television location. Several of Girlfriend’s characters make their living in this industry which thrives as the city stands in for worldwide locations. It is consequently continually viewed, through the glass lenses of cameras and television screens worldwide; “a voyeur’s paradise” as Coupland notes in City of Glass, describing the most literal reason for his title, the “see-through” towers that dominate the city’s skyline. Tied in with the employment of Coupland’s protagonists is glass as transparent and lacking depth. The characters work in a special effects department, helping to create an image rather than something real. Their work is paralleled by the city and by Coupland’s work. Vancouver has been described as Canada’s “gleaming and most brazenly artificial metropolis” (Richler), and Girlfriend’s conclusion has been seen as portraying a revolution that does not take itself seriously, “a response to apocalyptic literature” (McGill). Like glass, and the shimmering city it is set in, Girlfriend in a Coma is reflective, and not a novel of depth.

Bronwen Calvert, Open University/Sunderland University
Mapping “Salt Water City”: Traditions and new cultural identities in Obasan and The Jade Peony

In this paper I focus on two novels, with the same Vancouver setting, which explore the problems of translating immigrant pasts, histories and traditions into a new cultural context. Just as Vancouver is renamed “Salt Water City” by the Chinese immigrant community, so the immigrant communities translate their new environment and attempt to render it comprehensible. In these narratives can be seen specific clashes between the “old” and “new” countries, but also challenges to the concept of Canadian culture. Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony (1995) focuses on a Chinese immigrant family in 1930s and 40s Vancouver; Joy Kogawa’s Obasan (1981) traces a Japanese family’s experiences in the same city during and after the Second World War. Both Choy and Kogawa focus on the clash between immigrant traditions and the technology of the war machine of 1939-45.
I explore ways in which these narratives reveal attempts to preserve and to rethink immigrant histories and traditions. How can the meaning and authenticity of displaced traditions be maintained? Must “old” (and in these novels, often rural) traditions inevitably become overwritten by the “new” (presumed “technological”) culture? Can tradition of a different culture be “Canadian” once enacted in a new country? I also explore ways in which both these narratives have themselves become part of the “tradition” of 21st-century Vancouver, and have interacted with new technologies to reimagine the history of “Salt Water City”.


Michael J. Broadway, Northern Michigan University
Meatpacking, Refugees and the Transformation of Brooks, Alberta

North American meatpacking shifted from an urban to rural-based industry in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Its relatively low pay, dangerous working conditions and high employee turnover means companies constantly recruit staff. Canada’s Lakeside Packers, owned by Tyson Inc., has recruited a predominantly Sub-Saharan refugee population for its Brooks, Alberta plant. In the space of five years the refugee population has grown to account for an estimated quarter of the town’s population of 13,000. The sudden influx of refugees has created a host of problems for social service providers and instantly transformed the town into a multilingual, multicultural community. Additional personnel have been hired to provide specialized services in education and health care but major cultural barriers exist between the hosts and newcomers.

Michael Clow and Peter MacDonald, St Thomas University
Abandoning Traditions (Reluctantly) and Transforming Technologies:
Innovations and Continuities in the Eastern Canadian Woods 1945-1995

Traditionally the owners of Canada’s pulp and paper mills — the dominant players in the woods of Eastern Canada in the 20th century — wanted to have as little to do with the provision of their wood as possible. And they were traditionally successful in downloading that onto contractors and the farmer-loggers who brought their skills and horses into the woods. The mills left logging as it had been for two centuries, avoiding problems of investment, labour supervision, and other costs that distracted their attention from the ‘profit centers’ of their operations, the value-adding mills.
But for a generation or so Canada’s mill corporations abandoned their traditional stance with respect to forest operations. They invested heavily in difficult, costly and risky efforts to mechanize woods work and progressively transform its production systems. They formed new inter-corporate linkages with competitors, and between themselves and potential equipment manufacturers, to foster radical technological innovations in tree harvesting. They transformed the traditional contracting system. And they transformed the face of the forest and forest work, banishing not only horses but adapting to the disappearance of the farmer-loggers from the woods. In the wake of these changes, however, mills have been able to reestablish their traditional distance from woods operations by the latter years of the last century.
In this paper we describe the transformation of woods work, of technology and production systems, and of capital-to-capital relations that together constitute the “industrial revolution in the woods” from 1945-1995. We explain why the traditional practice of leaving the woods to craft techniques, draft animals, and mercantile relations was abandoned so hastily in the wake of WWII. And we argue how and why the mills were able to once again withdraw from direct involvement in woods operations in the wake of the industrial transformation of tree harvesting.

Claire. H. Firth, University of Deusto
Commercial cranberry production: establishing links between the
Canadian Maritime Provinces and Massachusetts

The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it examines the current situation of commercial cranberry production in the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island and it discusses the links that have been established between these provinces and Massachusetts. Secondly, it looks at the contribution of migrant labour to the cranberry industry.
Nova Scotia, for example, is a province that has a rich heritage in cranberry production and used to be a large producer of cranberries in the 1950s, but production has remained very low in the last few decades. However, the growing interest in the benefits of cranberry juice and other cranberry products has meant that demand for cranberries often exceeds supply. This factor has provided a new impetus to the cultivation and production of cranberries. Canada has the resources to expand its cranberry industry, and the potential for expanding commercial cranberry production in provinces such as Prince Edward Island, for example, has been perceived to be considerable. Almost ten years ago, Prince Edward Island's Minister of Agriculture Eric Hammill led an Island delegation to the state of Massachusetts to study the cranberry industry in the state. The interchange of information about the technical aspects of cranberry production, the design and layout of the bogs, the creation of dykes, the use of sanding, the control of water levels by pumping stations, new technological advances in harvesting equipment, pest management, the general organisation of geographical space in areas of low agricultural productivity, the control of damage to wetland sites and the potential effects on the local environment, were all part of the interchange of information that took place between cranberry growers in Massachusetts, and potential growers in the maritime provinces. Now, Ocean Spray, with its main centre in Massachusetts, handles much of the industry.
Finnish and Cape Verdean migrant labour was used in the formative years of the cranberry industry in Massachusetts, especially in the period from 1910 to 1933 when migrants traditionally performed some of the most arduous and undesirable tasks in the initial stages of preparation of the cranberry bogs. These tasks are now carried out with modern machinery and equipment and by a handful of men, and the need for cheap migrant labour is no longer critical to the well-being of the industry. The same technical advances have also partially led to the demise of some agricultural towns that have grown up in connection with the cranberry industry. However, although the poorly paid migrant labour was vital to the early stages of the cranberry industry, official historical accounts have largely neglected or underplayed the importance of the migrant contribution.

Session A3: HISTORY

Lucille H. Campey (independent researcher)
From bobbins and shuttles to axes and ploughs: The influx of redundant Scottish workers to Canada during the first half of the 19th century

Industrialization and economic changes in Scotland squeezed out large groups of traditional workers, who faced redundancy and destitution by the early 19th century, examples being the handloom weavers of the Lowlands and the kelp makers of the Highlands and Islands. Although new forms of employment were available in Britain's manufacturing sectors, a high proportion of these redundant workers emigrated to Canada. Because many of them received financial assistance to emigrate, they are widely perceived as having been coerced to leave Scotland rather than freely opting for Canada. They possessed few of the practical skills which were needed to clear forests and establish farms and yet they attracted many followers and proved to be highly successful colonizers.
The paper explores these apparent paradoxes and considers the factors which caused many thousands of displaced Scots to relocate to Canada. The paper will demonstrate that far from regarding themselves as hapless victims, these people had a remarkable knowledge of the opportunities which Canada had to offer and were highly selective in their settlement choices. The paper will consider the factors which influenced their settlement choices and will look specifically at the role played by the British government's defense interests, land companies and settlement promoters. The support mechanisms provided by the Presbyterian Church will also be highlighted. The paper will conclude that cultural factors were of prime importance in influencing Scots to emigrate and in contributing to their subsequent success as New World colonizers.

Allan Craigie, University of Edinburgh
A Scottish Legacy? An analysis of the politicisation of regional identity in Nova Scotia in the late 20th and early 21st Centuries

The place of sub-state regions within the larger society is an often over-looked aspect of nationalism in multi-national states such as Canada. Much of the nationalism literature talks about nations and sub-state nationalism as if the larger nation were homogeneous; yet the regional divide in Canada demonstrates that this is clearly not the case. While there is no real separatist movement in the provinces outside of Quebec; maritime Nova Scotians experience Canada very differently than, for example, land-locked Albertans. Canada presents an ideal testing ground for identity politics, as some of the provinces, such as Nova Scotia, have older pedigrees as coherent political units than the Canadian state as a whole.
Building upon fieldwork conducted in the province of Nova Scotia in the summer of 2006, this paper attempts to analyse the way in which the discourse of national unity during the latter part of the 20th Century created an opportunity structure for regional identities to assert themselves politically. In particular this work examines how the discourse of political elites in Nova Scotia politicised regional identity in the province.
This paper will address how institutional arrangements in the Canadian state actively encourage regional political actors to articulate a regional view; it will investigate the impact of Quebecois nationalism (both federalist and separatist) on elite discourse in Nova Scotia; and, the way federal institutions create discursive space which provides a platform for regional elites to articulate their provincial views.
In the end, this paper will show that Nova Scotian political elites attempt to harness a sense of regional identity to further their political aims, yet this identity is not set out clearly. While political elites may embrace the Scottish nature of their past, they also incorporate modern aspects of a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society in their appeals to the electorate.

Peter Ludlow, Queen’s University of Belfast
Breaking ties: The Roman Catholic Church and the political liberalism of Angus Lewis Macdonald

Angus Lewis Macdonald was one of Nova Scotia’s most notable premiers. He held the office from 1933 until 1940 and again from 1945 until his death in 1953. As only the second Roman Catholic premier of the province, Macdonald’s religion was an important element of his political career; however, he was keen to downplay this connection. Macdonald’s need to be seen as a secular politician was formed not merely due to pragmatics, but also because of his lifelong professional and personal experiences within the Roman Catholic Church in Nova Scotia. His deep emersion in the politics of the Catholic Church which began as a student at St. Francis Xavier University (St. F.X.) cumulated in a life-long quarrel with the Antigonish hierarchy. This paper will demonstrate how Macdonald’s complicated relationship with all levels of the church, his immersion into the emerging Catholic social philosophy of the early twentieth century and his recognition of the church’s declining political influence allowed him to challenge the traditional power structure of the Catholic Church. This challenge forever changed church-state relations in Nova Scotia.


Alan Hallsworth, University of Surrey
The Changing Face of Small Town Ontario

Steve Royle, Queen’s Belfast
The Changing Face of Rural Ontario


Daniel Horner, York University
The Lachine Canal Strike of 1843 and the Culture of Protest

My paper will examine the Lachine Canal strike of 1843, when hundreds of recent Irish immigrants demanded higher wages for their work. While this strike has often been treated in passing as a formative moment in the development of the Canadian working-class, most discussions about the Lachine Canal strike have steered away from investigating the means used by the workers to protest their living conditions and the reactions these events provoked in the bourgeois press. The judicial depositions that were recorded throughout the winter of 1843, as well as the newspaper coverage of the strike, reveal that the events touched off heated debates about immigration, work, and cultural tradition. Far from being the faceless rabble of disgruntled working-class men they have often been portrayed as, the canal workers consciously drew upon a popular tradition of protest to assert themselves into the forefront of public life in Montreal in an attempt to improve their lot. These aspirations were communicated through the symbolic language of the strike, as costumed workers paraded through the streets and threatened potential scabs with charivaris. Bourgeois Montrealers, meanwhile, saw the strike as simply being part of the cultural baggage that the Irish had brought with them from the old country. The Lachine Canal strike was part of a broader discussion of identity, class, and public space that was carried out on the streets of Montreal through events such as riots, parades, public celebrations and religious processions during the tumultuous middle decades of the nineteenth century.

Galen Roger Perras, University of Ottawa, M.F. Bardon and R.G. Haycock, Royal Military College of Canada
‘We take their advice, good day Mr. King’: R.O. King, a Practical Canadian Engineer

Recently, Canadian nationalists have bemoaned the “brain drain,” the loss of talented Canadian scientists, professionals, and entrepreneurs to the United States. But this is hardly a new phenomenon. Indeed, even before Canada’s formal confederation in 1867, tens of thousands of people born in British North America had left to find their fortunes in a more prosperous America. Moreover, this trend accelerated after 1867 much to the chagrin of Canadian politicians and academic leaders.
This paper will examine the career of R.O. King, a Canadian-born engineer who spent much of his professional life in the United States and Great Britain (from 1915) until his return to Canada in 1940, where he remained until his retirement in 1959. An accomplished experimentalist and practical engineer, King had a varied career. Starting in academia at McGill University in Montreal, he carried out the first X-Ray performed in Canada. He moved into the private sector, first as an employee, before going into business with his father, building greenhouses and specialized small buildings. But he made his name using compressed air technologies to raise damaged ships, a specialty that drew the attention of the United States Navy and then the Royal Navy in the First World War. Moving to Britain in 1915, King branched off into the study of knock in military aircraft engines, though he is also considered the father of personal watercraft propulsion technology. Upon his return to Canada in 1940, he worked for both the Inventions Board and the Royal Canadian Navy, analyzing military inventions submitted to the Canadian government. At war’s end, he went to work for the new Defence Research Board, where he remained as a consultant until he was well into his 80s.
King, in many ways, was a trail blazer, both technologically and professionally. In the latter case, unlike so many of his compatriots, he returned to the country of his birth to continue his work. Indeed, with recent creation of dozens of Canada Research Chairs, the Canadian federal government has deliberately fashioned a program designed to lure modern day R.O. Kings back to Canada.


Richard Cavell, Director, International Canadian Studies Centre, UBC
The Ec[h]o-Criticism of Marshall McLuhan

Today’s ecological awareness is echo recognition.
McLuhan and Nevitt, Take Today: The Executive as Dropout (1972)

“Environment” was the key term employed by Marshall McLuhan in his elaboration of the way in which media attained epistemic status, becoming, in effect, the total frame of reference for a given historical period.
Although environmental groups such as Greenpeace take McLuhan as their progenitor, McLuhan’s “environment” differed radically from that of 1960s environmentalism and its contemporary avatars insofar as he rejected the notion of Nature. Media had become the new environment in his argument, and media would be the only way out, through the creation of anti-environments. To put it another way: if, philosophically, the 1960s can be understood in terms of the death of the subject, McLuhan took this notion much further by positing the reversal of the subject into the mass, which he figured as a vastly distended form of indeterminate embodiment that had become co-terminous with nature. But this nature was ourselves, the world we make—culture, in other words, as in the title of this conference, where “blueberries” and “blackberries” refer not to the fruits of the earth, but the fruits of technology.
To the anti-humanism of 1960s French theory, McLuhan proposed a Nietzschean super-humanism. The Freudian turn inward had become the turn outward, the focus on the unconscious rejected in favour of a retrieval of consciousness itself. Hence the need for counter-environments, which promised the awakening of the Finnegans from their sleep of environmental hypnosis. The gestalt function of environment and anti-environment (which McLuhan formalized at the end of his career through the elaboration of the chiasmic principle governing his tetradic laws of media) constituted the “ec[h]o” effect of his feedback theory of mediation.
My paper will focus on a little-studied book by McLuhan, Take Today: The Executive as Dropout (with Barrington Nevitt, 1972), which develops the notion of a new era beginning post-1957 with the launching of Sputnik--the era of the ECO-effect, the era of environmentalism--where the critical task was nothing less than the reinvention of Nature as a global environment.

Erin Steuter, Mount Allison University
From Bold Print to the Fine Print:
The rise of corporate media and the decline of public discourse in Canada

The Canadian media industry has long grappled with the issue of monopoly ownership and its potential impact on the nature of a free press. Several government inquiries have investigated the increased concentration of media ownership and have raised concerns about the development of corporate media cartels which have been accused of narrowing the range of discourse in Canada. In 1970, the Special Senate Committee on Mass Media expressed concern that the three largest newspaper chains had increased their share of daily circulation from 25 per cent in 1958 to 45 per cent. When the Kent Royal Commission on Newspapers was established in 1980, that figure had risen to 57 per cent. Today, the three biggest chains control 72 per cent of daily circulation. This summer, the Canadian Senate concluded a national review on the state of the news media in Canada and raised questions about the need for new forms of regulation to protect diversity and a free press in light of emerging trends and developments in these industries. This article reviews the state of the news media industry in Canada and examines the recommendations of the Senate report. In particular, the article introduces the audience to the activities of the Irving Group - a large corporate entity which dominates the economy and media of the province of New Brunswick. The Irving Group have been accused of censorship, bias, and predatory business practices. This article concludes by exploring the implications for Canadian society of the transformation of the traditional hometown paper into its contemporary manifestation as a synergistic component of a convergence media system.


Susan Butlin, Carleton University
‘Un-Orthodocia:’ Mapping Spatial Variation in the ‘New Woman’ Fiction of Sara Jeanette Duncan and Florence Carlyle

This paper will focus on two works of fiction written by two Canadian women: A Social Departure: How Orthodocia and I Went Round the World by Ourselves by journalist and author Sara Jeanette Duncan (1861-1922), and the short story “Mary’s Baby” by artist and writer Florence Carlyle (1864-1923). Duncan and Carlyle lived the characteristics of the “New Women” at the end of the nineteenth century. Duncan’s work has recently attracted scholarly attention for her astute analysis of such themes as cultural displacement, women’s emancipation, and emerging Canadian nationhood. Carlyle’s professional and personal life exemplified the new ideal for working women in this era. As a single woman painter who also engaged in the mass-circulation media, Carlyle was recognized by her Canadian colleagues as a new model for professional women in the arts.
In feminist scholarship, spatial metaphors have become a key way of thinking about women’s struggle and transformation. This paper’s examination of A Social Departure and “Mary’s Baby” seeks to say something about how the two authors, and their women characters, sought to challenge convention through the use of contrasting spatial concepts: it will discuss the significance of the author’s sense of spatial freedom, boundaries and other variations in each work; will examine the contrast in the character’s ideas about space and location in their lives; and the relative meaning of spatial mobility in each work.
From the perspective of Canadian women’s history these works say much about the changing social condition of women in turn-of-the-century Canada. Written at a time when there was enormous pressure on women to conform to traditional social expectations, the key point of convergence between these two works is the common theme of the right of women to self determination. In essence, each work may be viewed as early feminist fiction. In addition, both works present complementary and contrasting views about the issues of freedom, home, and geographical mobility, which helped to define women’s identity and life at this time.
Malgorzata Laskowska-Camastra, University of Nottingham
‘Happenstance’: The Changing of Masculinity in Carol Shields

Carol Shields in her novels does not deal with global changes, historical events or political havoc. On the contrary, she was often unfairly called a “miniaturist” because she chose to pay close attention to everyday lives and write about “ordinary people”. And yet, her writings offer a great insight into cultural changes and development of Canadian society. She allows us to observe evolution of the Canadian nation by juxtaposing the needs and ideals of three generations. We clearly see how the approach to work, education, literature, creativity, love, and family shifts from grandparents to parents to children. Male and female roles get reversed; the provider of the family in the second generation often becomes a woman. Creativity first seen as a waste of time finally sets free and becomes the key to professional and personal success. In Shields’s early novels we witness the search for “canadianness”, the Canadian author and traditions, while in her later works this does not seem to matter any more. However, all throughout her writing career she tries to examine the role of women in society. Her last novel, along with the biography of Jane Austen, expresses disapproval with the position of women in both: todays and in the 19th century society. Shields also writes about Susanna Moodie and, in so doing, gives us an insight into early settler mentality, which we can compare and contrast with what holds true today. In my paper I would like to discuss the sociological changes in Canada, paying especially close attention to the femininity and masculinity shifts, as depicted Shields’s novels.

Faye Hammill, University of Cardiff
Martha Ostenso, literary history, and Scandinavian tradition

Migrant and diasporic writers pose particular challenges to the narratives of nation constructed in literary histories. Historians of Canadian literature police the borders of their imagined nations by excluding certain writers on the basis of ethnic origin or place of residence, or by admitting to the canon only selected books from an author's oeuvre – usually those set in Canada. Martha Ostenso makes a particularly interesting case study in this respect.
According to the standard narrative of her career, she abandoned Canada after the remarkable success of her first novel, Wild Geese (1925), and identified herself wholly with America, setting all her later fiction there. Therefore, while Wild Geese is now considered a classic of early Canadian realism, the rest of Ostenso's books are ignored. But in fact, she set The Young May Moon (1929) in Manitoba, and both Prologue to Love (1932) and The White Reef (1934) in BC. This paper will initiate critical recuperation of these novels, arguing that they are best studied in the context of her border-crossing, since Ostenso's physical and imaginative movements between the US and Canada, and between the midwest and the West Coast, inform most of her fiction.
Literary historians also tend to assimilate Ostenso to Anglo-Celtic traditions, paying little attention to her status as part of the Norwegian diaspora or her use of Scandinavian material in her writing. Several of her books explore Norwegian or Icelandic settler communities, and she draws on Norse mythology and Norwegian literature, but the ambiguous or unspecified ancestry of some of the immigrant characters in her novels complicates attempts to read her work in relation to diasporic identities. Her collaboration with Douglas Durkin, a Canadian writer of English ancestry further problematises the attempt to categorise the Ostenso novels in terms of a national canon. This paper, then, seeks to revise accepted views of Ostenso by concentrating on her multiple ethnic, national and regional identification, and its larger aim is to examine the strategies of Canadian literary history in relation to diasporic writers.


Carolyn Gibson, King’s University College, UWO
Negotiating Media Technologies: “Mediating Young Women”

This paper examines how young women in Canada read and respond to (mediate and negotiate) the media portrayal of women and young women. It focuses on the way in which young women receive and transform (or code and decode texts and images) the complexity of the images that portray them in popular culture. On the one hand, they are aware of the “gender sell” factor used in media. They are aware that there is a culture resigned to the fact that women’s bodies are used to sell everything and that this does little benefit to women personally. On the other hand, there are some who are aware of alternative forms of media providing an “alternative” voice. However, young women find that such alternative media, (in particular magazines and e-zines such Bust and Bitch) only speak to a small section of young women, and have been accepted by the general public with ambivalence, at best. Consequently, this paper explores young women’s various stances between media associated with the Third Wave such as Bust, Bitch Magazines, and the Blogosphere and the Second Wave associated mainstream media such as Chatelaine, and how they negotiate through the process of framing women within a narrow repertoire of types, including feminist types.

Kiera Ladner, University of Manitoba
Negotiating First Nations Traditions: “Warrior Women in Aboriginal Politics”

Framed as an exploration of gender and Indigenous governance (past and present), this paper examines the role of, and the negotiation of, tradition by Indigenous women engaged in contemporary struggles against colonialism or in protest politics. More specifically, the paper will address the manner in which both tradition and the gendering of Indigenous politics post-colonization, affect, define and confine the participation of women in anti-colonial struggles such as that at Eskanopetij (Burnt Church).

Jacquetta (Jacquie) Newman, King’s University College, UWO
Negotiating Political Traditions:
“The Hybrid Politics of Conservative Third Wave Feminism”

Third Wave feminism has been identified as coming from two sources; first the work of feminists of colour and post-colonial feminist theory which illustrated the intersection of multiple identities and oppressions and the hybrid identities that emerge out of these intersections, and second, from the rejection in the 1990s of what was referred to as “victim feminism.” Looking at the combination of the respect for the hybridity of plural and even contradictory identities and the commitment to a form of “power politics” within today’s social context, it shouldn’t be surprising that a form of third wave conservative feminism would arise. While not widespread through the general population, it certainly seems to have taken hold within a cohort of young women on university campuses such as the University of Western Ontario. The question this study asks is does the attempt of these young women to hold seemingly contradictory commitments to conservativism and feminism point to a new way in which young women are negotiating and carving out a space in the current political landscape?


Geoff Martin, Mount Allison University
Canadian Historical Development through a Municipal Lens

Scholars of Canada have developed a variety of ways of understanding the country’s development, often through the discussion of particular phenomena, ranging from federal-provincial relations, the development of Canadian sovereignty, the rise and fall of successive economic staples, military history, and the alternative histories of ethnic groups, women, and aboriginals. The revival of the municipal order of government in the last ten years has encouraged scholars to look at past federal-provincial-municipal relationships. This paper will begin the process of understanding the history of Canada through the lens of the municipal sector. The basic structure of municipal government in Canada, derived from Ontario’s Baldwin Act, predates Confederation. Before World War Two, the role of municipal governments, as defined by the provinces, says much about general attitudes towards government in that era. Yet, in the 1940s, municipalities were significant but now-forgotten players in the realigning of taxation and spending powers during World War Two. The competition between federal and provincial orders of government from the 1930s onward often had a municipal angle, whether in the era of the Rowell-Sirois Royal Commission, or in the Diefenbaker period. From the 1960s onward the provinces rose in influence at both federal and municipal expense, but more recently the municipal sector has been re-empowered by the same provincial and federal governments.

James G. Mellon (independent researcher)
Visions of the Livable City: Reflections on the Jacobs-Mumford Debate

Since moving to Canada in 1969, Jane Jacobs, who recently passed away, has inspired and continues to inspire debate within Canada, as well as elsewhere, on the potential for and promise of the urban experience. Jacobs was not only a critic of unrestricted growth and the destruction of neighbourhoods but, as well frequently, of the efforts of urban planners. The exchanges between Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), and the American planner and cultural critic Lewis Mumford, author of The Culture of Cities(1938)and The City in History(1961), raised some important issues that are still debated. In spite of their differences, however, the two also shared many values, even if each had reservations about the likely efficacy of the other’s policy prescriptions. This paper compares, and contrasts the views of the two authors who shared a concern about the hazards of unfettered growth but who often differed not only on what the response to growth should be but, as well, on the proper approach to understanding how cities either work or do not work.


Catherine Bates, University of Leeds
'Theoretical Performativity': Fictocriticism in Nicole Brossard's Intimate Journal
and Fred Wah's Faking It

Fictocriticism is said by Amanda Nettleback to involve "self reflexivity, the fragment, intertextuality, the bending of narrative boundaries, crossing of genres, the capacity to adapt literary forms, hybridized writing, moving between fiction (invention/speculation) and criticism (deduction/explication) of subjectivity (interiority) and objectivity (exteriority)". In addition, I would add it necessarily involves some kind of interaction with the autobiographical, whilst continually stretching the boundaries of what we consider to constitute autobiographical writing. In other words, fictocriticism allows theory to enter the autobiographical and the autobiographical to permeate theory. This mutual permeation allows for a concept of writing which moves beyond linear hierarchical thinking and the search for fixed meanings, allowing for a multiplicity of meaning which encourages the reader to have a more interactive, intimate relationship with the text. In this way, as the work of french theorists such as Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida and Helene Cixous have shown, autobiography can be understood as performative, the speech acts impacting upon each reader and creating a new autobiographical self each time the text is read.
Canadian writers have been prominently productive in engaging with the possiblities fictocritical writing afford; this paper will explore the fictocritical autobiographical work of two influential writers, Nicole Brossard's Intimate Journal and Fred Wah's Faking it. It will argue that thinking fictocritically allows these writers to move on from traditional placings and distancings of the "critic", the "text", the "self" and "reader" to a renewed sense of multiple and intimate negotations of meaning.

John Havelda, University of Coimbra
[Fred Wah]


Keith Battarbee , University of Turku, Finland
Speaking Cree on the Cellphone:
Heritage Languages in an ICT Environment

The impact of information and communications technologies (ICT) on language use has so far been studied relatively haphazardly.
In the history of Western societies, especially societies with very rapid rates of growth through migration processes, such as Canada, the classic pattern has been one of three-generation language shift to the dominant ambient language (English or French). Minority languages have thus been subject to constant attrition, despite possible on-going reinforcement through continuing migration. Longer-term heritage language survival has typically been most marked in conditions of geographical, cultural and/or religious isolation. Similarly, aboriginal languages have been at risk, particularly in close proximity to centres of white population and through migration to cities.
In the late 20th century, two factors affecting heritage language use and maintenance have significantly changed. One is the drastically enhanced respect accorded aboriginal cultures (one aspect of the late-modern Great Values Shift in Western cultures). The other is the advent of electronic technologies for communication and for the sharing of information. These technologies impact on language use in very varied ways. Telephony is essentially language-neutral, and the accessibility, coverage and annihilation of distance provided by cellular and satellite networks and by voice-over-internet protocol thus potentially represent a significant resource supporting minority languages. Computer technology, however, is primarily geared towards written language, and notwithstanding the rapid growth of other-language websites and other resources, the medium as a whole is heavily dominated by English and therefore reinforces English use over minority languages.
This paper will attempt to explore, differentiate and evaluate how these new technologies impact on the use of minority heritage languages (immigrant and aboriginal) in the Canadian context.

Valerie Alia, Leeds Metropolitan University
The ‘New Media Nation’: the global vision of Indigenous journalists

Indigenous people are using old and new technologies to amplify their voices and disseminate information to a rapidly expanding global audience. Emerging from the international movement of indigenous peoples, ‘The New Media Nation’ is linked to the explosion of political, social, artistic and cultural developments. A great number of the developments, worldwide, were inspired – and continue to be influenced – by the work of Indigenous people in Canada. The conference theme of ‘blueberries to BlackBerries’ is embodied in the innovative ways in which Indigenous people are linking technologies and traditions. The presentation will draw on more than twenty years of research on Inuit and First Nations media in Canada, in comparison with Indigenous media media in the United States, Greenland, the Sámi countries, New Zealand and Australia.


Sean Luyk, McMaster University
Burnt Cork Above the 49th Parallel: Blackface Minstrelsy in Canadian Cultural History

For forty-one years, the Lions Club of Simcoe Ontario staged an annual minstrel show. The white male members were putting burnt cork on their faces, wearing straw hats, and performing blackface characters such as “Shifty” Shafto, and “Brillo” Shafto, until 1992, when the activity was banned by the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Lions Club Headquarters. The existence of a minstrel show as late as 1992 attests to the strong roots of this racially charged activity in Canada.
Despite the substantial cultural exchange between the United States and Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there is little written about the minstrel shows, “coon songs,” and other imported popular forms experienced in Canada. The cultural dynamics of race and ethnicity in Canada differ from the United States to a great extent. This paper examines these differences, looking specifically at minstrel shows, situating them within a moment in the cultural biography of Canada, thus elucidating how Canadians of that period dealt with issues of racial difference through cultural production, and how this has shaped present day attitudes about race in Canada.
Drawing on archival research, this paper focuses its discussion on the professional and amateur minstrel troupes across Canada, and prominent Canadian minstrel performers. Of particular emphasis is indicating the ‘popularity’ of minstrel shows through their ubiquity in professional and amateur venues. Essentially, I wish to reveal the Canadian performance of race at a particular historical moment, in which discourses of multiculturalism and the promotion of difference were absent in the Canadian national imagination.

Terry McDonald, University of Southampton
Playing the ‘Manly Game’:
Canada and Cricket in the Nineteenth Century

A 1950s travel writer maintained that in future centuries archaeologists would be able to identify lands that had been part of the British Empire by the presence of long discarded cricket pitches. Given the importance of the game to many of the countries that now make up the Commonwealth, this assertion is probably true. However, there is one part of the Empire, North America, which would appear to refute this. Cricket is certainly not a major sport in Canada and the United States. Yet the world’s first international cricket match was not, as most Englishmen would assume, played between England and Australia, but between Canada and the United States in 1844. It took place in New York and was a follow up to one played in Toronto four years earlier between that city’s cricket club and the St George’s Club of New York.
Using contemporary accounts of the matches, including newspaper reports, my paper will look at the events that led to them taking place, the controversies surrounding them and the differing societies that produced the competing teams. The background to many of the players and officials will be examined and it will be argued that, in the mid nineteenth century, the game attracted a particular class of participant in both countries, men who retained a semblance of affection for things British. By studying the membership of the two clubs (Toronto and New York) which provided the nucleus of the ‘national’ teams, it will attempt to explain why the game failed to become one of mass participation in North America.


Jane Mattisson, Kristianstad University
Technology and the hunter: the application of traditional skills in modern warfare in Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road

Inspired in part by the life of Francis Pegahmagabow, the great Indian sniper of World War I, Three Day Road is a compelling and powerful exploration of the effects of war. The two protagonists, Xavier and Elijah, both Cree Indians, join the Canadian Second Division and fight in some of the bloodiest battles of World War One, at Ypres and the Somme. They inspire their superiors by their native hunting skills. It is their unique combination of traditional hunting skills and modern technology that constitutes the tragedy of the story. Both become snipers renowned for their uncanny accuracy. But while Xavier struggles to understand the purpose of the war and to come to terms with his conscience for the many soldiers whose lives he has ended, Elijah becomes obsessed with killing, taking great risks to become the most accomplished and renowned sniper in the army. Eventually, the bloody truth of war takes its toll on the two friends in different and profound ways. Niska, the narrator and also Xavier’s aunt, reveals how war can bore into the soldier's soul latching on to some key aspect of his being and sharpening it, focusing it, until it defines him. As Niska paddles her nephew home to the bush at the end of the war, the reader understands that Elijah is a killer, addicted to the adrenaline rush of battle and the attention his many exploits bring; Xavier is a hunter who kills only to survive. Xavier is the real hero but his exploits remain largely unacknowledged. His skills as a sniper are equal to those of Elijah but because he cannot communicate in English he is doomed to anonymity. Through Niska, Joseph Boyden ensures that the skill of the Canadian First Nations soldiers in World War One is recognised. Three Day Road is both a tribute to and condemnation of the union of tradition and modern technology in 1914.

Joanna Daxell, Université de Sherbrooke
The Native Detective à la King

Thomas King's latest novels, DreadfulWater Shows Up (2002) and The Red Power Murders (2006), published under the pseudonym Hartley Goodweather, are the first installments in a proposed series of detective novels featuring the Cherokee ex-cop Thumps DreadfulWater. DreadfulWater does not correspond to a preconceived model, and though readers who enjoy the Western detective genre will welcome King’s sleuth, those looking for a hard-boiled detective like Dick Tracy or a character embodying what Paula Gunn Allen describes as, “the exotic aspects of Indian ways,” will be disappointed (59).
King chose to write under a pseudonym because he wished to distance himself from what he considers a less than serious endeavour (King qtd. in Simard). I maintain that King’s novel is far from being mere entertainment as it exposes some of the deep-rooted assumptions North America has about Natives. I suggest that by using a pseudonym along with a formula genre like the detective novel, King is making sure his readers do not subscribe to a preconceived notion of what to expect from a Thomas King novel. I will begin by situating the novels within Kings work and within the subgenre of the Native detective novel. I will examine King’s use of trickster narrative to subvert the stereotypical image of the Native.
Unlike other authors of Native American crime fiction, King is not interested in teaching his reader about Native spirituality, but rather, he wants to show that Natives are part of contemporary America and that they are able to mediate the two worlds. For example, Moses Blood, an Elder that DreadfulWater consults, is a computer whiz and a new kind of Elder. In fact, it is not DreadfulWater but Blood that, thanks to his online research skills, cracks the case in the first novel. As a progressive Elder, he serves as an example for the Native community, leading his people into the age of technology and proving that being Native is not about choosing between a traditional life and a modern life but about mediating the two.

Elodie Rousselot, University of Portsmouth
Re-Writing Myth and Femininity in Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad

Throughout her literary career Margaret Atwood has used Canada’s past as a means of revealing the prejudiced cultural and historical representations of certain members of Canada’s society, and the persecution these have suffered as a result. In a recent work entitled The Penelopiad (2005) Atwood returns to a more ancient historical setting, that of the traditional myth of Penelope and Odysseus, as told in Homer’s Odyssey. In re-visiting the mythical narrative, Atwood questions some of its fundamental assumptions, such as Penelope’s faithfulness and loyalty to absent husband Odysseus, and the use of her needlework skills as a means of fulfilling her wifely and motherly duties. While the traditional version of the myth focuses on the many dangers Odysseus faced in search of his way back home to his kingdom of Ithaca, Atwood’s re-appropriation of the story identifies many important gaps in the narrative: was Penelope truly remaining faithful to her husband during the twenty years of his absence? Why has she become the archetypal submissive wife when in fact she ran her husband’s kingdom single-handedly in his absence? Ultimately, what does this reveal about the role of these traditional myths in our contemporary culture?
My paper examines how Atwood addresses these questions in her work and offers answers which are relevant to our Modern era. For that purpose Atwood challenges the notion of genre by using an innovative narrative structure in her re-telling of the mythical story, and my paper shows how the diversity of forms used destabilises Homer’s ancestral myth and opens up a multitude of alleys of possible interpretations. Finally I analyse how Atwood’s work questions the importance of traditions and ancient myths in Western culture, and reveals the persisting influence these have had over our understanding of women’s cultural roles and aesthetic representations.


Richard Connors, University of Ottawa
The Métis and British Legal Culture in the Age of Empire

This paper, an historical analysis of British colonial ideology and legal understanding of the Métis in the early nineteenth century, will consider the impact that British imperial attitudes towards aboriginal peoples had upon nineteenth and twentieth century Canadian jurisprudence. The paper analyses not only the formal legislation (Imperial and Canadian) applicable to the historical and ongoing experiences of the Métis -- something that has been done to a degree -- but situates those legal/constitutional decisions within a more precise consideration of the Anglo-Canadian legal culture that provided the impetus and the intellectual underpinning for such legislation. It also casts light upon the mental worlds and the legal culture of British/colonial policy-makers when they came to count, and usually discount, aboriginal and Métis rights and claims in North America. Some aspects of this imperial process are familiar to specialists, but a re-evaluation of the colonial period and the precise place of the Métis within that historical context is necessary to remind us that the genesis of these Canadian and Métis legal experiences have indigenous, imperial and transatlantic contexts.
The emergence of Canadian law, legal institutions, jurisdictions and legal culture was inextricably connected to the related processes of British imperial expansion, and of cross-cultural interaction between Anglo-European and indigenous peoples. Yet, without the vestiges of state, the legal institutional apparatus or clearly defined authority structures that delineated social relations/order in the ‘old world’, Hudson’s Bay Company officials, jurists and colonial governors faced the daunting task of re-inventing and imposing, as they were obliged to do, Britain’s legal framework in the ‘new world’. Simply, Britons brought their laws, were expected to live by them, and to provide them to the indigenous inhabitants of the lands they named, claimed and appropriated as their own.
The legal codes and legal culture that Britain and the Canadian state imposed upon the west, were avoided, altered, and adapted by the First Nations and Métis, but they were also much discussed by British and Canadian policy-makers and jurists. That discourse remains to be reconsidered for Hanoverian, Victorian and Edwardian contemporaries pondered the essence of colonial rule and the natures and rights of indigenous society in detail. Recapturing that discourse within its precise intellectual and historical contexts will provide a greater understanding of Anglo-Indigenous relations and negotiations, but also of the rights and recognitions of aboriginals and Métis in the eyes of Colonial/Canadian authorities even as those peoples were being dispossessed of their property and sovereignty. Thus, this paper emerges from a research project that revisits these historical issues by reconsidering the intellectual and legal justifications that contemporaries offered for the governance of Western Canada and its peoples.

Brenda Macdougall, Department of Native Studies, University of Saskatchewan
“The HalfBreeds of this Place Always Did and Always Will Dance”: Social and Religious Expression of Metis Cultural Identity

In “Inventing Traditions,” Eric Hobsbawm made a useful distinction between custom and tradition, defining the former as what people do and the latter as the paraphernalia and rituals used to demonstrate the action and provide structure to people’s relationships. Concluding that all traditions are invented, Hobsbawm recognized that the importance of tradition is its power to unify, foster cultural cohesion, legitimize institutions, and socialize individuals through common beliefs, values, and conventions. In northwestern Saskatchewan Metis communities, the cultural space people created was a product of “invented” traditions that unified, legitimized and socialized individuals as family and, by extension, community members. There developed over time a family ethos drawing together relatives and fostering the production of a collective identity that often took priority over the needs and demands of externally created and controlled nineteenth century institutions marked by the Roman Catholic church and the Hudson’s Bay Company. A central element in western Canadian Metis historiography is the experience with Catholic missionaries and the missionization process. The Roman Catholic Church became integral to Metis cultural identity as they incorporated those Catholic rituals and ceremonies that celebrated family into their cultural traditions. However, while it is clear that northwestern Saskatchewan Metis communities were Catholic there is no analysis of how Metis culture influenced the composition and expression of the Catholic faith in northern communities. This paper will look at how the Metis negotiated a means to create a religious expression that supported rather than constricted their notions of family and community and how the Church had to accommodate rather than control those culturally sanctioned traditions.

Nicole St-Onge, University of Ottawa
Trade, Travel and Tradition: St. Lawrence Valley Engagés to the American Fur Company, 1818-1840

This paper examines a late manifestation of fur trade engagés from the Montreal area. Studies dealing with French fur trade personnel tend to end their narratives in 1821 when the North West Company ceased to exist, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) gained supremacy and Montréal lost its fur trade pre-eminence. Most researchers assume that French-Canadian men seeking wage labour, cut off from this traditional source of employment, turned to the timber trade. Yet, one Company hired significant numbers of French-Canadians. New York’s American Fur Company (AFC), led by German-born John Jacob Astor, employed hundreds of French-Canadians starting in 1818 up till the early 1840s in the southern Great Lakes basin and the Missouri River watershed.
The story of a late transnational French-Canadian migrant labour force venturing into the American Midwestern frontier is both a fascinating narrative and a conduit for larger questions. By situating this clearly delineated event in a broader context, we can understand larger social and economic phenomena. First, what motivated some men from traditional St. Lawrence valley fur trading communities to remain in this occupation? Were they spurred on by difficult economic conditions and a lack of alternative employment in Lower Canada? Were these “career men” who were unable or unwilling to change occupation? Were the terms offered so enticing they left their homes willingly? Was the existence of a long established francophone fur trading and kinship network in the Great Lakes basin and the St. Louis-Missouri and Mississippi river drainage basins a lure? Or, did other strong factors draw the men to the American interior? Was employment with the AFC simply a means of subsidizing this relocation?
In short, this paper looks at the broader nature and ramifications of the fur trade by examining one clearly defined historical event. Why did approximately 1000 Lower Canadian men work in the distant American interior between 1818 and 1840? What were their work and life experiences upon arriving at their destination? Answers will give us a glimpse of the ‘interlocking nature of the fur trade’ (Smiley, 1991) that, in this particular case, involved St. Louis, Montréal and New York, and covered a territory that extended from Trois-Rivières to the western Rockies and south through a series of interconnecting waterways to the Mississippi delta.


David W. Forman, Georgetown College
Using “Google Books” to enhance research in Canadian traditions

Traditional “card catalogs” have been automated and the controlled vocabulary of title, author, or subject headings, rather than the end of your search options today, are just one set of options for finding resources on any topic. Though this has always been true to an extent, one’s local library is just the beginning as well. Most libraries around the world are searched today just as easily over the Internet as is ones “own” library.
But what if you could search the entire text of the books in the library to see if any contain a particular set of words of interest? If you chose your words carefully, that could make all the difference in researching some topics.
One such option, Google Books, combines the power and convenience of full-text electronic searching with the possibility of finding a full-image document of interest, and even commercial links that let those who’d like to sell you the book get information to you in a timely way.
What does Google Books do for you that your local library or a regular keyword search in Google doesn’t do? Search for “Canadian Studies” there and you’ll get more than 10,000 hits where the full-text of the books is viewable and/or downloadable to your own computer. Search for an author like Stephen Leacock, some of whose books are out of copyright, and you’ll receive nearly 3000 hits where he wrote the work or is mentioned within the text of the book.
This session will seek to provide useful discussion about how at least one of the powerful new information gathering technologies available today can enhance efforts to uncover the traditions and cultural mappings of Canada, as found in books by and about Canadians.

Paul Hobson, Acadia University and John Connor, Port Williams, NS
The ‘Acadia Laptop Experience’

Chris Kirkey, State University of New York College at Plattsburgh
The CONNECT Program and the United Kingdom:
Building on Traditions and Employing New ‘Technologies’

Launched in October 2003, CONNECT is a program designed to promote the growth, development and institutionalization of Canadian Studies throughout the U.S. higher education community. CONNECT, featured in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, National Public Radio and the CBC, provides a uniquely comprehensive approach to the identification, recruitment, orientation and mentoring of prospective new Canadianists. Since the inception of the program, CONNECT has successfully enrolled more than 200 new Canadianists in its mentoring program, and provided a week-long intensive seminar for 60 candidates.
This conference presentation will examine the possibilities of applying wholesale the CONNECT program – or any of its’ constituent elements - to enhance existing efforts aimed at sustained engagement of new Canadianists in the United Kingdom. Observations, findings, options and recommendations - based on the recently completed CONNECT national study of the U.K. for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada – will be outlined and discussed. The aim will be to present fresh insights and opportunities that can be readily implemented and offer the prospect of long-term success.


Ruth Kircher, Queen Mary University of London
From the ‘Myth of the French Canadian Patois’ to Québec French as an accepted national variety?! The development of language attitudes in Québec

It has been repeatedly observed in the linguistic literature that contrary to what might be expected, for a long time, both anglophone and francophone Quebecers had significantly more positive attitudes towards European French (EF) than they had towards Québec French (QF). This is generally assumed to be due to the long tradition of viewing French as a monocentric rather than a pluricentric language, with EF seen as the standard, and the negative effects this had on the image of QF. It was not until the 1970s that, due to factors such as language legislation, the Quebecers’ pride in their province was kindled and they began to fight for QF to be regarded as a national variety. However, studies such as d’Anglejan and Tucker (1973) and Bourhis, Giles and Lambert (1975) show that Québec francophones in the 1970s still viewed EF more positively than QF, and research conducted by Giles and Powesland (1975) and others suggests that Québec anglophones held similar attitudes.
In recent years, in political discourse, there has been a revival of the discussion about the importance of prestige being attached to QF as a national variety in order to ensure its survival in the Canadian context, and the ways in which this might be achieved. However, since the 1970s, only one linguistic study has been conducted specifically to assess attitudes towards QF as opposed to EF: Bouchard and Maurais (1999) employed questionnaires to show that a slight improvement had taken place in Québec francophones’ attitudes towards their variety of French.
This paper explains the historical background, gives a brief introduction to research into language attitudes in general, summarises previous studies, and demonstrates the importance of conducting new linguistic research in this field. It also shows why, in addition to direct attitude measures such as the questionnaires used by Bouchard and Maurais (1999), it is essential to employ an indirect method of elicitation such as the matched-guise technique (which was used in the language attitude studies in the 1970s) in order to obtain results that accurately reflect the complex state of the linguistic (and social) situation in Québec. The paper hypothesises that – despite past efforts to improve the status of QF – both anglophone and francophone Quebecers still hold more positive attitudes towards EF. The paper briefly outlines the kind of study that would need to be conducted in order to verify this hypothesis, and it introduces the key ideas of the current debate about what steps could be taken to improve attitudes towards QF – such as the much-discussed concept of Québec citizenship and the production of an officially sanctioned QF dictionary.

Heather Norris Nicholson, Manchester Metropolitan University
‘Old world traditions… romance’ and modernity:
Cunard’s transatlantic travel films, c.1920 -35

Film, like other rapidly evolving technologies, was swiftly adopted by promoters of the new modern nation of Canada. Along with the transcontinental railway network and telecommunications, from the early decades of the twentieth century, moving imagery soon became integral to the promotion of Canadian identity and self-image both at home and abroad. Government film agencies, including the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau, saw the rich potential for combining instruction and entertainment in films that sought variously to inspire, recruit, inform and caution. From the early 1920s, shipping companies commissioned short travelogues to advertise their recreational peacetime passenger service between Europe and North America. Using archival film clips, this presentation links material, made by the Ontario Motion Picture Bureau to promote Cunard’s interwar Canadian Passenger routes, to changing middle class leisure patterns, travel writing traditions and broader transatlantic relations. The presentation also provides an opportunity to explore further the inter-disciplinary contribution of archival film footage within Canadian Studies.

Julie Rodgers, Trinity College Dublin
Francine Noël: Une nouvelle évaluation de la relation mère-fille

This paper will examine how Francine Noël challenges the traditional patriarchal stereotypes of womanhood within Quebec society in her novels Maryse and Myriam première. Most notably, Noël replaces the archetype of the self-sacrificing, all-loving, dutiful and passive Quebec mother with a modern and multi-facetted depiction of motherhood. However, this not the only restrictive stereotype of femininity that comes under attack. Noël encourages us to rethink the patriarchal labels of the woman as virgin, whore, hysteric and witch. Furthermore, she breaks down the old dichotomies of mind/body, creativity/procreativity, activity/passivity, public/private which aligned men with the first category and imprisoned women in the latter. In Noël’s novels, what is means to be a ‘Québécoise’ is rewritten in authentic terms. Noël liberates womanhood in Quebec society from the shackles of traditional ideology and focuses on the narration of a Quebec ‘herstory’.


Anca-Raluca Radu, Philipps-Universität Marburg
Tradition and global economy in Alistair MacLeod's No Great Mischief

Economic considerations play a central part in Alistair MacLeod’s novel No Great Mischief, as in many of his short stories. The novel is, in the first instance, a story of Scottish immigration to Canada and of nationalism. Secondly, it is also a story of economic survival in the context of trans-national economies, which includes not only the miners of the clan MacDonald (or their French-Canadian counterparts) but also immigrant workers from all over the world, working as hired pickers on Ontarian farms and sharing the outlaw status of the miners of the MacDonald clan.
The development of trans-national economy and international corporations represents a threat to local and national industries and traditions. Globalised economy interferes with traditional concepts of labour and the clan, and it turns the MacDonald miners into migrant labourers, too. Moreover, the novel underscores the transition from traditional forms of labour such as fishing and mining to more modern professions such as orthodontistry, in other words a transition from physical work in the midst of nature to intellectual work in an artificial environment.
Not only does the novel acknowledge the emergence of a new form of labour generated by globalised economy, but it also takes a politically critical stand on the issue. Whereas colonial imperialism is in recline, economic imperialism is in full bloom, favoured by the amplification of the possibility of travel and communication (cf. Castles 4). Nevertheless, this does not automatically lead to the creation of a global consciousness, as Castles and Davidson maintain in their book Globalization and the Politics of Belonging (2000).

Kirsten A.Sandrock, University of Marburg
Newfoundland's Unrequited Dream: Railway Imagery in the Novels by Wayne Johnston

The railway constitutes a national icon in Canadian culture and has often been celebrated as symbol of unity in the country's literature. In Newfoundland, however, the construction of a shore-to-shore train was not only a financial disaster but also brought social division and political disharmony among the islanders. This paper explores the Canadian railway image by looking at the writings of Wayne Johnston, in whose partly autobiographical novels the steam-engine functions as symbol for Newfoundland's controversial entrance into Confederation. The analysis draws on historigraphical approaches to cultural identity, such as Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities (1991), so as to show how national unities are merely political artefacts that frequently utilize scientific advancements for ideological purposes. Because nations depend on the "identification with technological advance" (Grant, Lament for a Nation 76), the paper will argue, the defiance of this identification can function as decentralizing force in cultures as it does in Johnston's A Colony of Unrequited Dreams (1999) and Baltimore's Mansion (2000). The train will be exposed as highly ambiguous image in these texts, as it reflects the disagreement among Newfoundlanders regarding the question of Confederation rather than being the "herald of progress" and symbol of unity it was in the rest of Canada (Hiller, "Newfoundland Confronts Canada" 357). Politicians like Joey Smallwood are shown to turn the island's technological advancement into propaganda for pro-Canadian policies of the 1940s (Colony 212-43) whereas twenty years later the implementation of a bus-system will be read as another metaphor for the pragmatism vs. patriotism debate between "fact-facing bus-boomers" and Newfoundland-nostalgic train takers (Baltimore's Mansion 79). The paper concludes by arguing that the railway constitutes not so much an icon of national unity but rather a symbol for both Canada's and Newfoundland's notorious identity debate or, in Johnston's words, their "demon of identity" (Colony 477).

Will Smith, University of Nottingham
Narrative Re:Mapping Atlantic Canada

This paper will seek to show the ways in which the very identity of home is created and remapped at the local and national levels with reference to contemporary Atlantic narrative. Little critical attention has been paid to Atlantic Canada, a region currently producing much interesting and varied literature. Though traditionally mapped as a margin, Stephen Henighan has argued that ‘By the late 1990s it seemed that only writers from Atlantic Canada – Wayne Johnston, Alistair MacLeod, David Adams Richards – still wrote Canadian novels; this may help explain the surge in these writers popularity.’ How does this duality of being Canadian and exploring a regional social identity co-exist in context with an evolving global community? Is it the case that Lisa Moore’s Alligator and Christy Ann Conlin's Heave employ what Danielle Fuller identifies as ‘a North American English but not noticeably inflected with a Newfoundland [or Atlantic] accent’? If so, how do these works, as oppositions to the historical novel, develop the idea of ‘situated knowledges’ against a broader challenge to perceptions of the regional network? How does ‘loving attention to the East Coast of Canada’, as Michelle Berry says of Conlin, survive amidst the burgeoning tension of folk influence and metropolitan development? This paper looks at the representation of home as both landscape and habitation, investigating what moods, dialogues and relationships are constructed with the network of home.


Jacquetta Newman, King’s University College, University of Western Ontario
Women and the Harper Government:
Recognition, Marginality and Citizenship One Year Later

This paper updates my presentation “Women in the 2005-2006 Canadian Election: Citizenship, recognition, and the reserve force of voters” presented to BACS at Cambridge April 2006, by examining the outcome of the election of the Harper minority Conservative government on policy associated with women and on Canadian women generally. The paper argues that while women have been recognized or “centered out” in significant policy announcements by the Harper government, this has actually been a reflection of their marginality (hence the term “centred out”) within the policy regime and as citizens generally. The paper closes with a discussion of the relationship between the women’s movement in Canada and the Harper government.

Paul Nesbitt-Larking, Huron University College
A New Vision? Reinventing and rebuilding the Liberal Party of Canada

The resignation of Paul Martin, following the January 23 2006 defeat of the Liberal Party of Canada, marked not merely the end of thirteen years of Liberal government in Ottawa, but also the first time in almost four decades that the Liberal Party lacked an obvious successor to the leadership. Internecine party wars between Trudeau and Turner, (1968-1984) Turner and Chretien, (1984-1990) and Martin and Chretien, (1990-2004) had given shape to the direction of the Liberal Party’s internal structure, policies, and electoral fortunes for over three decades. If the party was left leaderless in 2006, it was also left with a potential for renewal in the context of ever-diminishing internal divisions.
Through an exploration of the Liberal Party Leadership Convention of November/December 2006, and the work of the new leader toward party renewal and election preparedness, this paper establishes the shape and direction of the Liberal Party of Canada in the early months of 2007. Particular attention is paid to the process through which the articulation of renewed visions influenced the selection of a new leader, and how that new leader subsequently disseminated the new vision to the country at large. Focus is also placed upon changes to the organizational structure of the Liberal Party of Canada voted upon at the convention and how these reflect changes in party direction. Finally, the paper looks at electoral strategies for the emergence of a majority Liberal coalition across the country on the basis of new leadership and renewed party organization.

Wayne A. Hunt, Mount Allison University
The Intellectual as a Brand: The
political career of Michael Ignatieff

The late Isaiah Berlin was well known for his essay on the two concepts of liberty: the negative, in which the individual can enjoy rights without interference, and the positive, the expression of which must conform to a greater conception of what is good both for oneself and for others. Equally well known was Berlin's usage of the metaphor of the fox and the hedgehog; the first concerned with the world in its infinite particularity, the second, with a grand and all-encompassing vision. In writing the authorized biography of Berlin, Ignatieff showed how his subject's personal life, as much as his publication record, reflected this tension. Berlin, eventually, counted himself a fox but wanted to be the hedgehog.
The same sets of contradictions can be seen in Michael Ignatieff's less-than-seemless transition from the role of public intellectual to that of practical politician. A case in point came with Ignatieff's decision to recognize francophones in Quebec as part of a nation. To Ignatieff, this would be a recognition of reality, of a movement away from the ethnic nationalism that defined Trudeau's entry into public life into an era of civic nationalism. Practical problems soon arose. Would this recognition just be part of a "symbolic" entry into a new constitutional order? Why not afford Acadians, for example, a similar courtesy? The precise meaning of the next generation civic nationalism was far from clear. But instant-response new communication technology did not help. The Ignatieff campaign tried to enter this new era of vlogs and visual media with Iggytube. The question was, however: did new technology, in itself, force him to become a hedgehog? And did he make the wrong call on his big idea of a civic nation? This paper assesses the impact of this on Ignatieff's political career.


Fiona Tolan
Old Problems, New Problems:
Margaret Atwood’s Dystopian Vision in Oryx and Crake

This paper examines the evolution of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian vision as it appears in her 2004 novel, Oryx and Crake, in contrast to her hugely popular The Handmaid’s Tale of 1985. Much was made by the reviewers of Oryx and Crake of the introduction of Atwood’s first male primary protagonist, and many read this as a sign of Atwood’s abandonment of her earlier feminist-related themes (see Earl G. Ingersoll, “Survival in Margaret Atwood’s Novel Oryx and Crake”, Extrapolation, 42.2 [Summer 2004], for example). In contrast, this paper points to a significant continuation of core feminist enquiries, including notions of liberty and the politics of the body. New and urgent problems come to the fore for Atwood in this book, primarily technology, but also ideological terrorism and globalisation. The old problems that Atwood envisioned nearly twenty years earlier in The Handmaid’s Tale remain, but are heightened by technological advances. For example, the issue of pornography – the site of one of the oldest feminist debates – is revisited by Atwood in Oryx and Crake, and the role of new technologies in its dissemination is examined. In the midst of the technological revolution of the body, creating a posthuman era which seems to parallel a postfeminist politics, Atwood’s novel can be seen to return to fundamental feminist questions of biology, liberty, and responsibility, in a manner that belies some of the earliest readings of the novel.

Christian Riegel, University of Regina
Technology, Travel, and Nation in Aritha van Herk's No Fixed Address and Birk Sproxton's The Red-Headed Woman With the Black Black Heart

Everywhere there is motion, travel; things are in flux: Birk Sproxton’s narrator in The Red-Headed Woman With the Black Black Heart moves across and over the Canadian landscape by plane, car, and on foot in his search for narrative. His characters shift themselves by train and horse, and climb gigantic smoke stacks. The sound of this movement is a constant backdrop to the novel: the clackity clack of the railway, the tapping of the telegraph, and the “fire and snort” of the smelting operation. Aritha van Herk’s No Fixed Address, the title itself suggesting a ceaseless motion, is equally dedicated to shifting characters. Arachne Manteia, the protagonist, drives a bus, drives her car continuously across the Alberta countryside, rides in helicopters and on ferries, in an endless quest to be free of social constraint and free of the codes that define social behaviour. The constant motion of these novels is reflective of a state – a nation state, I will suggest – that is itself in flux, since its inception in fact, and continues to be so in the contemporary era. As with most Western nations, Canada changed rapidly in the technological and industrial realms in the twentieth-century. Accompanying this change are migration and settlement, both having unsettling impacts upon hegemonic notions of how the nation should develop.
My particular focus in this paper is on how technological elements, represented in modes of transportation, as well as in industrial processes and activities, are used as tropes to indicate technological and industrial advancement, and its relation to migration and settlement as well as to the continuing formation of the nation. This is equally true of The Red-Headed Woman With the Black Black Heart, set in 1934, as it is for No Fixed Address, which takes place in the 1980s. For Sproxton, technology, transportation (itself technological), and industry, are reflective of the larger nation-building process they are parts of; but for Sproxton, the whole these elements contribute to is fragmented, ironically, rather than an extension of Anglo-centred empire, which is itself seen as a unifying force. For van Herk, technology–represented in mapping, roads, and driving buses and cars–is an instrument of progress but also an element of social control (ultimately patriarchal). For her protagonist, Arachne Manteia, the automobile ultimately becomes a tool of escape from the social webs of the emerging nation but only after she is able to step outside the bounds of conventional technology, what is figured as literally driving off the mapped world. The figurative webs Arachne spins as she traverses the landscape reflect social webs, the bounds of society; and her mechanism, the technology of the automobile she drives, is a synecdoche for the industrially developed social world, what one could extend to mean the Canadian nation. The automobile is, paradoxically, the vessel that contains Arachne–read as synecdoche, the technological aspects of society that contain or restrain individual action–and the vessel by which she carries herself to freedom from constraint. The car, then, is that part of human action that is potentially enabled by the very technology that defines and limits human existence in the world.

Kiriaki Massoura, University of Northumbria at Newcastle
‘An edifying legend. A stick used to beat other women with. Why couldn’t they be as considerate, as trustworthy, as all-suffering as I had been?’: the reconstructing of Homer’s Penelope in Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad

‘Shrewd Odysseus!…You are a fortunate man to have won a wife of such pre-eminent virtue! How faithful was your flawless Penelope, Icarius’ daughter! How loyally she kept the memory of the husband of her youth! The glory of her virtue will not fade with years, but the deathless goods themselves will make a beautiful song for mortal ears in honour of the constant Penelope’.
Placed in the particular temporal matrix of Homer’s The Odyssey, which is characterized by the cultural transition from matrilinear to patrilinear society, the name Penelope has become synonymous with wifely faithfulness, docility and patience. However, Penelope’s presence in The Odyssey can also be read as the angelic wife’s effort to renounce the patriarchal misogyny which defines women as either all-devouring demonic transgressors or all-nourishing earth mothers. As Angela Carter explains:

Myth deals in false universals, to dull the pain of particular circumstances.
In no areas is this more true than in that of relations between the
sexes… All the mythic versions of women, from the myth of the
redeeming purity of the virgin to that of the healing, reconciling
mother, are consolatory nonsense.

Atwood has never compromised her writing with ‘consolatory nonsense’. On the contrary, she has always been interested in setting her work free from the cultural tyranny of male-dominated myths which condition women as invisible, powerless, valueless.
Atwood’s demythologizing includes Greek or Biblical myths, The Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales and contemporary myths of femininity, such as the sweet little girl, or the perfect housewife and mother or the superwoman with the great career and wonderful family. So she recreates The Odyssey from Penelope’s point of view and gives her the voice of a realistic, intelligent, funny and, at times, sardonic woman who is finally free to narrate her story as a ghost from the underworld: ‘who cares about public opinion now? The opinion of the people down here: the opinion of shadows, of echoes. So I’ll spin a thread of my own’ (p. 4). But The Penelopiad is also narrated from the point of view of the twelve hanged maids, who sing in-between episodes like the Chorus of the wise old men in the Greek drama. Atwood uses the maids’ witty but angry singing to focus ‘on two questions that must pose themselves after any close reading of The Odyssey: what led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?’ (p. XV). In this paper I will examine Atwood’s Penelope in relation to culture, body, language and gender reversals. I will contrast extracts from Homer’s to Atwood’s narrative in order to offer a feminist interpretation of three crucial episodes: Penelope’s meeting with Odysseus who is disguised as a beggar; the role of the maids during this meeting, Penelope’s dream and their final fate; the final reunion of Penelope and Odysseus.


Brenda McDermott, York University
Screening the War: The Battle of Somme’s reception in Toronto, Canada

WWI has served as the basis for many discourses ranging from Canadian national independence, Canadian identity, and Canadian culture; all of which intersect with regional and local communities. By studying international newsreels exhibition in Toronto, a similar web of understanding unfolds as coherent national war support, local difficulties, and international footage, influence and form a distinct film culture. The majority of this study is centered on the imperial war film The Battle of Somme and the uniqueness of the Toronto reception in contrast to British reception.
A film’s reception can powerfully shape the manner in which the film impacts national culture. At the exhibition site, lectures, music, and other forms of performance shaped the reception of the film. The audience using their pre-existing knowledge of the war-related events, often stemming from newspaper coverage, would interpret the film. In addition, context in which the film was shown could further influence the film’s reception. The impact of these factors in shaping Canada’s emergent national film culture will be examined relative to forces and conditions in the city of Toronto. The impact of high casualties rates and a Red Cross fundraising campaign effected the impact The Battle of Somme had on the Toronto population.
The Battle of Somme, one of the most written about topical WWI films, will serve to illustrate the different ways in which an inquiry into contexts of reception can explain differences between the British and Canadian reception of the film. Whereas the Canadian audience used the film as a link to the war front, the British community was already sufficiently close to the war occurrences having experienced Zeppelin raids and severe material shortages. The Canadian audience, ever more distant, found contact with the war through supplying soldiers and dealing with how, or if, they returned. The Battle of Somme and the contexts that surrounded it, helped Canadian audiences mourn their losses, and to feel a sense of empowerment by donating their day’s wages to the Red Cross fund.
The use of international film productions and the national war effort created a local culture of film going which was based on a duty to keep oneself informed. This understanding of film and culture tell not only of the film’s context, but the needs of local citizens and their understanding of the war effort. In this way newsreels were seen and used in a distinct manner dependent on their place of exhibition.

Peter Urquhart, University of Nottingham
Meatballs Matters

In keeping with the conference theme, this proposed paper seeks to interrogate the push and pull of tradition and the contemporary in English-Canadian film culture. Various notions of “tradition” haunt the extant historical account – with broad claims made about a so-called “documentary tradition,” for example, being central to this understanding of Canadian cinema.
This proposed paper will use the example of the film Meatballs (Canada, Ivan Reitman, 1979) to illustrate the ways in which the discourse of the popular has been consistently written out of the extant history, with popular cultur