Because, let’s face it – who has time to catch up on all the journal articles published in Canadian history?
Welcome back to the Best New Articles series, where each month, I post a list of my favourite new articles! Don’t forget to also check out my favourites from previous months, which you can access by clicking here.
This month I read articles from:
- Critical Ethnic Studies 3, no. 1 (Spring 2017)
- Quebec Studies 63 (June 2017)
- CAML Review 45, no. 1 (April 2017)
- Acadiensis 47, no. 1 (Winter/Spring 2017)
- Histoire Sociale/Social History 50, no. 101 (May 2017)
- Archivaria 83 (Spring 2017)
- Journal of Canadian Studies 50, no. 1 (Spring 2016)
- Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 10, vol. 2 (Spring 2017)
Here are my favourites:
Adam Gaudry and Darryl Leroux, “White Settler Revisioning and Making Métis Everywhere: The Evocation of Métissage in Quebec and Nova Scotia,” Critical Ethnic Studies 3, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 116-142.
Link: https://www.academia.edu/33742034/White_Settler_Revisionism_and_Making_Métis_Everywhere (thanks to the authors for this link!)
What it’s about: In this article, Gaudry and Leroux unpack what they refer to as “the evocation of métissage,” wherein white settlers (in this case, in Quebec and Nova Scotia) reimagine themselves as “Métis.” They do this through an analysis of the the emergence of the Métis in Red River, as well as an examination of the evolution of attitudes and policies in New France with respect to intermarriage between French colonists and Indigenous peoples (women). The latter, in particular, is often used as an argument supporting the view that “Métis” identity is based on what the authors refer to as a “bio-historical process,” whereby “Métis” are created wherever there is racial mixing between colonizers and Indigenous communities. However, as Gaudry and Leroux demonstrate, this is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the past.
What I loved: So, if you follow me on Twitter and read the roundups, you know that I am a total fan girl when it comes to Adam Gaudry’s work. And this article is no exception. This is a sharp and beautifully argued response to the emergence of “self-identified Métis” groups, such as those mentioned in this piece. It is also a thoughtful critique on the misuse of history by white settlers, the ways in which these “self-identified Métis” are wholly invested in maintaining white settler colonialism, and how white settlers can re-write the past to suit their own purposes.
Favourite quote: “Not only was the particular phenomenon of French-Indigenous unions negligible in New France, but if it is probable that every “old stock” Quebecois has at least one Indigenous ancestor, it is much more likely that they have more than one English, Belgian, German, or Portuguese ancestor, who has received considerably less focus in Quebecois and Acadian identities.” p, 125
Suggested uses: I would seriously just read this article because it is such a fantastic piece. I also think this these “self-identified Métis” should read the piece, though I do not hold out much hope that this is actually going to happen. However, I think that this article will be of interest to anyone who follows current-events relating to Indigenous peoples and communities as well as larger discussions about national identities. This article will also be really great to use in a historical methods course (for the epic take-down), but also in any course on colonialism and imperialism, the history of Quebec or Quebec Nationalism, as well as courses that deal with more contemporary issues (like law or political science). And, of course, scholars who work in this area will also be interested in reading this piece. Finally, depending on your course, this article would work well in any course which addresses the issue of memory, imagined communities, the relationship between politics and history, and the creation of historical narratives.
Catherine Larochelle, “L’Orient comme miroir : les altérités orientale et autochtone dans les récits de voyage des Canadiens français au XIXe siècle,” Histoire Sociale/Social History 50, no. 101 (May 2017): 69-87.
Author’s Twitter: @CatherineLaroc3
What it’s about: In this article, Larochelle examines a collection of twelve travel accounts written by French-Canadians from Quebec regarding visits to the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East in the 19th century. Through an analysis of the depictions of individuals in each of these locations, with particular attention to gender, race, and religion, Larochelle examines the prevalence of orientalist discourse in Quebec in this period. She pays special attention to discourse on civilization and comparisons between people of the “Orient” and Indigenous peoples to examine the concept of the “Other” in Quebec society and culture, as well as attitudes towards Indigenous peoples.
What I loved: First of all, travel accounts are fascinating. However, the first thing that struck me about this piece was its examination of the history of orientalism in Quebec. I don’t know that I’ve ever run across another piece that does this, though I am happy to be corrected. The resulting analysis is rich, insightful, and very revealing.
Favourite quote: “Géographiquement parlant, l’Orient du voyage ne répond à aucune division scientique de l’époque. Ces récits incarnent une idée de l’Orient qui renvoie à une géographie imaginaire et diffuse, éternelle et historique à la fois. Cette imprécision permet, par exemple, à Honoré Beaugrand d’avoir une vision de la Bible en traversant l’Algérie.” P. 76 (Geographically speaking, the Orient of these accounts does not correspond to any scientific division of the time. These narratives embody an idea of the Orient that refers to an imaginary and diffuse geography, eternal and historical at the same time. This vagueness allows, for example, Honoré Beaugrand to have a vision of the Bible while crossing Algeria.)
Suggested uses: Um, this is another one that is just fun to read. I’m a bit sad that it’s in French, since I know many Anglophones (who can’t read French) who would love to read it. But this article would appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of colonialism, imperialism, and orientalism, as well as those with an interest in the history of Quebec, the history of tourism and travel, and the history of religion. I would be hard-pressed to think of anyone who would not be interested in reading this, to be frank. I think that this article would also work well in a 4th-year or graduate course on any of the subjects mentioned above.
Mary-Anne Poutanen, “’Due Attention Has Been Paid to All the Rules:’ Women, Tavern Licenses, and Social Regulation in Montreal, 1840-1860” Histoire Sociale/Social History 50, no. 101 (May 2017): 43-68.
What it’s about: This article examines the prevalence of female tavern owners in Montreal in the mid-nineteenth century, and how they utilized the language of domesticity to showcase their respectability and secure tavern licenses even during a period of increasing scrutiny by local authorities. Poutanen accomplishes this through the examination of a sample of ninety licensed female tavern owners and an exhaustive survey of primary sources
What I loved: Let me see… Montreal? Check. Social history? Check. Women’s History? Check. All of the makings of Andrea-click-bait. Add to this my love of Poutanen’s work as well as her signature vignettes, and this article basically had my number. But aside from my personal feelings, this article is a valuable contribution to the growing body of work on women in business in the nineteenth century as well as their ability to negotiate liminal spaces like taverns, which were at once public and private. Also, much like Shantz article below, this is a fascinating example of how individuals could manipulate existing cultural norms and rhetoric as a way of demonstrating their respectability.
Favourite quote: “Eliza Hamlet’s four marriages over a 25-year period remind us of her critical contribution to the inns where she lived and worked. Three of her husbands were involved in the sale of alcohol: Peter Taylor, whom she wedded in 1836, was a brewer and trader; both Laurence Murphy and John Jones were innkeepers when she married them in 1843 and 1852 respectively. In February 1852, following Murphy’s death two months earlier, Hamlet established a modest inn on the main floor and cellar of a two-storey wooden house on St-Mary Street she rented from Pierre Rottot. When she wed her third husband, John Jones, two months later, Hamlet brought to this union capital consisting not only of movables, but also of credit, cash, knowledge, and experience. The marriage contract, which had protected her right to the inn’s furnishings and a small amount of cash, ensured a livelihood. It also meant that Hamlet, with her knowhow, was well positioned to negotiate a marriage contract to her benefit. Her fourth husband, Olivier Blain, was identified as a cabinet-maker in 1861.” P. 51
Suggested uses: Again, this was another fun article to read. This seems to be something of a theme this month… But aside from that, this article would be a great addition to any course on the history of women in Canada, the history of alcohol, working-class history in Canada, family history, or the history of the social reform movements.
Allison Mills, “Learning to Listen: Archival Sound Recordings and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property,” Archivaria 83 (Spring 2017): 109-124.
Author’s Twitter: @sometimesal
What it’s about: This article addresses some of the complex and ongoing issues regarding ethnographic field recordings of Indigenous stories, songs, and traditions that exist in archives across the country. Addressing issues including intellectual and cultural property, relationships of power, archives as colonial institutions, and modern revitalizations efforts, Mills grounds her analysis in practical recommendations regarding best practices, based on the principles set forth in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
What I loved: These are so important and vital issues that historians, archivists, curators, and Indigenous communities need to be talking about! Seriously, this is a super important piece that is extremely timely. I greatly appreciated Mills’ thoughtful approach to these very complicated problems.
Favourite quote: “It is important to note, too, that these recordings can aid more than language and cultural revitalization efforts – although the importance of language and culture revitalization to Indigenous peoples who have had them stripped away cannot be overemphasized. Sound recordings also contain concrete information about cultural sites and geographies. They are records of land use that can be vital in modern assertions of sovereignty over traditional territory.” P. 116
Suggested uses: I think that any historian, archivist, or curator working with Indigenous communities would be interested in reading this piece. I also think this would be a fabulous article to use in a course on historical methodologies and/or oral history. However, I do feel a bit evil suggesting this article, since it will be behind a paywall for the next two years, unless you personally purchase a subscription. Sorry!
Mary-Ann Shantz, “’Nudists at Heart:’ Children’s Nature and Child Psychology in the Postwar Canadian Nudist Movement,” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 10, vol. 2 (Spring 2017): 228-247
What it’s about: This article examines how the postwar Canadian nudist movement utilized Cold War rhetoric more often associated with psychologists of the era, such as the importance of the nuclear family and the heterosexual marriage, to make nudism seem more socially acceptable/respectable to the general public. Much of this effort centred around the material and discursive bodies of children, celebrating the innocence of children and the “naturalness of nudity” while also showing how nudism could teach children “healthy” and “normal” attitudes towards their bodies and their sexuality.
What I loved: I loved how this article showcased both the pervasiveness of Cold War ideas about child psychology and sex education while also showing how certain groups could employ this rhetoric as a tool in their search for public respectability. It really turns both postwar discourses on normalization and heterosexuality as well as postwar historiography on their head. Perhaps this is because I’m currently teaching a course on postwar history in Canada, but I really appreciated how this article went beyond notions of resistance, and instead focused on how existing cultural discourse could be used to justify what was at the time, and today, considered a fringe movement. I also really loved how Shantz tied her analysis back to concepts of leisure and nature, though I do wish these had been further developed. But I do recognize that there is only so much you can fit into one paper. 😉
“Nudists shared postwar society’s veneration of heterosexual marriage and domesticity and hoped to convey that their practice strengthened rather than undermined the institution. Thus, while nudists extolled the innocence and freedom of childhood, they also enlisted the body as a tool for socializing children to channel and express bodily functions and desires in publicly acceptable ways.” p. 238
Suggested uses: I think that this is a fantastic addition to the growing body of literature on postwar history in Canada. I also think that this article would work well in any course on that subject, as well as the history of sexuality and/or the history of childhood. Also, I think this article is very much the academic equivalent of a “beach read.” 😉
- Ruth Lowndes and James Struthers, “Changes and Continuities in the Workplace of Long-Term Residential Care in Canada 1970-2015,” Journal of Canadian Studies 50, no. 2 (Spring 2016): 368-395.
- A model for how historians can and should be engaging in larger public discussions.
- Kathryn McPherson’s “Imagining Gerontological Nursing: Canadian Nurses and Eldercare, 1905-70,” Journal of Canadian Studies 50, no. 2 (Spring 2016): 422-445.
- A fascinating look at the evolution of nurses’ understanding of their work in caring for elderly patients. This article also tracks changing attitudes towards eldercare, from a non-existent issue, to another type of illness, to our current model.
- Ruma Chopra, “Maroons and Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia, 1796-1800,” Acadiensis 46, no. 1 (Winter/Spring 2017): 5-23.
- This is a longer version of Chopra’s article from Borealia. A really important contribution to the field, though I wonder how Acadians would fit into this analysis.
That’s it for this week! Whew, I do not recommend doing this while teaching a six-week course. But of course, I couldn’t let you guys down! I’m still debating if I should do my Upcoming Publications for August this week, or just combine it with the September version. Blarg. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If you did, please considering sharing it on the social media platform of your choice! And don’t forget to check back on Sunday for a brand new Canadian history roundup! See you then!