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Depicting Canada’s Children

Loren Lerner

Publication Year: 2009

Depicting Canada’s Children is a critical analysis of the visual representation of Canadian children from the seventeenth century to the present. Recognizing the importance of methodological diversity, these essays discuss understandings of children and childhood derived from depictions across a wide range of media and contexts. But rather than simply examine images in formal settings, the authors take into account the components of the images and the role of image-making in everyday life. The contributors provide a close study of the evolution of the figure of the child and shed light on the defining role children have played in the history of Canada and our assumptions about them. Rather than offer comprehensive historical coverage, this collection is a catalyst for further study through case studies that endorse innovative scholarship. This book will be of interest to scholars in art history, Canadian history, visual culture, Canadian studies, and the history of children.

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Series: Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-xi

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pp. xiii

I was fortunate throughout this project to receive support from a large number of individuals and organizations. A special thanks is owed to Cynthia Comacchio, series editor of Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada, for encouraging me to be editor of this book. My sincere gratitude goes to the authors who have contributed to the publication. I also want to thank Annmarie Adams, Kristina...

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pp. xv-xxv

Depicting Canada's children is an anthology of essays on the visual representation of children drawing on imagery from the seventeenth century to the present. The purpose of this volume is to bring together a rich array of subjects to encourage a critical perspective in the analysis of pictures of Canadian children. Recognizing the importance of methodological...


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Iconography of the Child in Early Quebec Art

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pp. 3-25

To better understand the representation of children in early Quebec paintings, it is necessary to look at how the theme of the child was secularized over time. The acceptance of children as legitimate pictorial subject matter happened only gradually, and the earliest representations were entirely within the context of religious imagery. There was, however, one exception,...

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Shaping Modern Boyhood: Indian Lore, Child Psychology, and the Cultural Landscape of Camp Ahmek

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pp. 27-48

The first canadian-owned private summer camp in Ontario's Algonquin Park,Camp Ahmek stands on the shores of Canoe Lake, some three hundred kilometres from Toronto. When it opened in 1921, its built environment was rudimentary indeed. The initial brochure mentioned sleeping tents, a "well-appointed" kitchen, and a "spacious dining...

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Haunted: First Nations Children in Residential School Photography

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pp. 49-84

In the larger body of photographic images of First Nations people in archival collections, there are comparatively few images of children. Their relative absence begs the obvious question: Where are the children?2 Why do so few children appear in the photographs Edward Curtis took during his Canadian expeditions in the early...

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A Land of Youth: Nationhood and the Image of the Child in the National Film Board of Canada's Still Photography Division

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pp. 85-107

On June 27, 1964, the still photography Division of the National Film Board of Canada (nfb) released a photo story entitled "Canada's Future Belongs to Them" (fig. 4.1). Produced and distributed to mark Dominion Day, this pictorial features eight photographs of exuberantly happy children, apparently selected to demonstrate the country's harmonious...

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Mapping a Canadian Girlhood Historically through Dolls and Doll-Play

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pp. 109-129

In the last ten years, feminist researchers and researchers in the field of childhood studies and girlhood studies have begun to change the academic reception of dolls. Dolls are no longer considered trivial artifacts of a commercial girls' culture symbolizing static representations of conventional femininity.1 Rather, as...


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The Raw Materials of Empire Building: Depicting Canada's Home Children

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pp. 133-151

The term "artistic fiction"1 is often used to discuss the creative licence child welfare agencies employed to dramatize promotional imagery circulated in Great Britain during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More commonly, this term refers to the subtle alterations and theatrical staging used...

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Immigrants, Labourers, "Others": Canada's Home Children

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pp. 153-172

My father never talked about his childhood or family. He disclosed little more about his past than that he had been born in Glasgow and farmed in Ontario. I gathered he had come to Canada when still of school age and I assumed he had immigrated with his family but if I...

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Re-Visioning the Girl's Narrative for the 1980s: The Case of the Short Story "Jack of Hearts" and Its Film Adaptation

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pp. 173-199

Girlhood is characterized by the pressures of social adaptation, a process that becomes conflicted, even anguished, when the girl does not fit the dominant mould. Observes the young female narrator of Alice Munro's frequently anthologized "Boys and Girls":...

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Locating Children in the Discourse of Squeegee Kids

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pp. 201-217

In the late 1990s, the ontario provincial government became concerned by the issue of squeegeeing (motorists being approached while stopped at intersections and asked if they would like to have their windshields cleaned, with the expectation of a donation in recognition of this brief labour). This issue arose after Ontario...

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A Child's Place in Ottawa's Commemorative Landscape

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pp. 219-229

In 1857 queen victoria chose ottawa as the capital city of what was then the Province of Canada. In 1867 Canada became an independent nation when Queen Victoria signed the British North America Act. Thirty-one years later, the Hon. J.D. Edgar, Speaker of the Commons of Canada, observed in his 1898 publication...


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Frocks and Bangles: The Photographic Conversion of Two Indian Girls

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pp. 233-257

In 2004 i inherited an album of photographs from the late 1890s, assembled and captioned by a distant relative, Miss Amanda Jefferson (1860--1947). Born Amanda Marie Stronach, she was orphaned at the age of eight and adopted by her mother's sister--the Jefferson family of Berwick, Nova Scotia. On completion of...

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Pictures of Health: Sick Kids Exposed

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pp. 259-278

Two types of photographs haunt the history of North American children's hospitals. The first, a therapeutic type, depicts the hospital as a place where heroic physicians use technology to heal children, exposing young patients as frail and helpless beneficiaries of healthcare expertise. Passive...

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Healthy Bodies, Strong Citizens: Okanagan Children's Drawings and the Canadian Junior Red Cross

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pp. 279-303

Research about first nations children's agency and identity has rarely addressed their production of contemporary culture, rather than merely their reception of it. Even more rare are examples of critical analyses of Aboriginal children's and youth visual culture. I seek to make such inquiry...

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Children and School Interiors: The User-Material Culture-Environment Nexus in Late Nineteenth-Century Toronto

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pp. 305-322

Renovation is a common practice for transforming buildings to suit everyday use. Increasing floor area, providing fire exits, and integrating new mechanical technologies renew the life of buildings. Changes made to buildings update current codes, regulations, and space requirements, or introduce...


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George Reid's Paintings as Narratives of a Child Nation

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pp. 325-346

For the canadian artist george reid (1860--1947), fostering a national spirit through his art was of utmost importance. Reid's objective was to produce work that was distinctly Canadian with its own well-defined characteristics and expression of native sentiments.1 In turn, his images were intended...

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James Wilson Morrice's Return from School: A Modernist Image

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pp. 347-364

Born in montreal in 1865, james wilson morrice spent little time in Canada after leaving for Europe in 1889 and settling in Paris three years later. Although he would keep a studio in the French capital until his death in 1924, Morrice was a constant traveller; as his friend Henri Matisse...

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Something Resembling Childhood: Artworks by Jack Chambers, Daniel Barrow, and Rodney Graham

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pp. 365-385

In the 1972 painting by jack chambers (1931--1978) entitled Diego Asleep (fig. 17.1), a small child lies sleeping on a sofa in a modern-looking living room. A few articles of clothing lie casually draped over the furniture, and some toys are strewn around. The toy that stands out is a King Kong figure, and it looks as if this...

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The Child in Me: A Figure of Photographic Creation

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pp. 387-413

Snapshot: a young boy, possibly seven or eight, is lying on the ground, presenting the soles of his shoes to the camera (fig. 18.1). Distorted by the lens, the boy's feet seem monstrously large; they dwarf his foreshortened body. The boy's head, little larger than his heels, is raised to address the camera. His sat...

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Paterson Ewen's Portrait of Vincent

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pp. 415-423

Wearing kneepads, a face mask, and earplugs, Paterson Ewen crawls on his hands and knees on top of a huge, rough-hewn sheet of plywood that straddles two sawhorses. He gouges deep grooves into the wood, vigorously attacking the surface with an electric...


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pp. 425-427


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pp. 429-438

E-ISBN-13: 9781554582853
Print-ISBN-13: 9781554580507
Print-ISBN-10: 1554580501

Page Count: 468
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada