Esyllt Jones & Adele Perry (Editors) & Contributors -- Book LaunchMonday Feb 13 2012 7:00 pm, Winnipeg, Grant Park in the Atrium
Launch of People’s Citizenship Guide: A Response to Conservative Canada (ARP).
In 2009, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government changed the contents of the official citizenship guide that is given to all recent immigrants. The new version contained a lot more military history and plenty of information about the monarchy, but little about public programs such as medicare or education, or our rich history of social justice movements. Ignoring the work and democratic struggles of generations of newcomers, it presumes that new immigrants need to be taught how to “take responsibility” for their families. In short, the official guide outlines an exceptionally narrow, conservative view of Canadian politics and society. In People’s Citizenship Guide, a group of progressive scholars offer an alternative citizenship guide: a lively, political, humane—and more honest—alternative to Stephen Harper’s version of the story.
Esyllt Jones studies the history of health, disease, and social movements, and is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Manitoba. Author of Influenza 1918: Disease, Death and Struggle in Winnipeg, she is also a member of the ARP editorial collective.
Adele Perry is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in the Department of History, University of Manitoba. She is the author of On the Edge of Empire, a co-editor of Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women’s History, and is working on a book length study of an elite Creole/Metis family and circuits of migration and rule in the nineteenth-century British empire.
Also speaking this evening is contributor Debra Parkes, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba, with more speakers to be announced.
This event is co-sponsored by the Centre for Human Rights Research Initiative at the University of Manitoba.
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In 2009, Stephen Harper's Conservative government changed the contents of the official citizenship guide that is given to all recent immigrants. The new version contained a lot more military history and plenty of information about the monarchy, but little about public programs such as medicare or education, or our rich history of social justice movements. Ignoring the work and democratic struggles of generations of newcomers, it presumes that new immigrants need to be taught how to "take responsibility" for their families. In short, the official guide outlines an exceptionally narrow, conservative view of Canadian politics and society. In People's Citizenship Guide, a group of progressive scholars offer an alternative citizenship guide: a lively, political, humane--and more honest--alternative to Stephen Harper's version of the story.
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The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed as many as fifty million people worldwide and affected the vast majority of Canadians. Yet the pandemic, which came and left in one season, never to recur in any significant way, has remained difficult to interpret. What did it mean to live through and beyond this brief, terrible episode, and what were its long-term effects? Influenza 1918 uses Winnipeg as a case study to show how disease articulated abd helped to re-define boundaries of social difference. Esyllt W. Jones examines the impact of the pandemic in this fragmented community, including its role in the eruption of the largest labour confrontation in Canadian history, the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919. Arguing that labour historians have largely ignored the impact of infectious disease upon the working class, Jones draws on a wide range of primary sources including mothers' allowance and orphanage case files in order to trace the pandemic's affect on the family, the public health infrastructure, and other social institutions. This study brings into focus the interrelationships between epidemic disease and working class, gender, labour, and ethnic history in Canada.Influenza 1918 concludes that social conflict is not an inevitable outcome of epidemics, but rather of inequality and public failure to fully engage all members of the community in the fight against disease.
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"On the Edge of Empire" is a well-written, carefully researched, and persuasively argued book that delineates the centrality of race and gender in the making of colonial and national identities, and in the re-writing of Canadian history as colonial history. Utilising feminist and post-colonial filters, Perry designs a case study of British Columbia. She draws on current work which aims to close the distance between 'home' and away in order to make her case about the commonalities and differences between circumstances in British Columbia and the kind of 'Anglo-American' culture that was increasingly dominant in North America, parts of the British Isles, and other white settler colonies.
"On the Edge of Empire" examines how a loosely connected group of reformers worked to transform an environment that lent itself to two social phenomena: white male homosocial culture and conjugal relationships between First Nations women and settler men. The reformers worked to replace British Columbia's homosocial culture with the practices of respectable, middle-class European masculinity. Others encouraged mixed-race couples to conform to European standards of marriage and discouraged white-Aboriginal unions through moral suasion or the more radical tactic of racially-segregated space. Another reform impetus laboured through immigration and land policy to both build and shape the settler population.
A more successful reform effort involved four assisted female immigration efforts, yet the experience of white women in British Columbia only made more pronounced the gap between colonial discourse and colonial experience. In its failure to live up to British expectations, remaining a racially plural resource colony with a unique culture, British Columbia revealed much about the politics of gender, race and the making of colonial society on this edge of empire.
Winner of the Clio Award, British Columbia Region, presented by the Canadian Historical Association, and co-winner of the Pacific Coast Branch Book Award, presented by the American Historical Association.