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Ethnohistory of the Indians of Canada's Northwest Territories
For fifty years anthropologist June Helm studied the culture and ethnohistory of the Dene, “The People,” the Athapaskan-speaking Indians of the Mackenzie River drainage of Canada's western subarctic. Now in this impressive collection she brings together previously published essays—with updated commentaries where necessary—unpublished field notes, archival documents, supplementary essays and notes from collaborators, and narratives by the Dene themselves as an offering to those studying North American Indians, hunter-gatherers, and subarctic ethnohistory and as a historical resource for the people of all ethnicities who live in Denendeh, Land of the Dene.
Helm begins with a broad-ranging, stimulating overview of the social organization of hunter-gatherer peoples of the world, past and present, that provides a background for all she has learned about the Dene. The chapters in part 1 focus on community and daily life among the Mackenzie Dene in the middle of the twentieth century. After two historical overview chapters, Helm moves from the early years of the twentieth century to the earliest contacts between Dene and white culture, ending with a look at the momentous changes in Dene-government relations in the 1970s. Part 3 considers traditional Dene knowledge, meaning, and enjoyments, including a chapter on the Dogrib hand game. Throughout, Helm's encyclopedic knowledge combines with her personal interactions to create a collection that is unique in its breadth and intensity.
The Evolution of a Politically Radical Literary Tradition in Canada
Most critics and literary historians have ignored Marxist-inspired creative literature in Canada, or dismissed it as an ephemeral phenomenon of the 1930s. Research reveals, however, that from the 1920s onward Canadian creative writers influenced by Marxist ideas have produced a quantitatively substantial and artistically significant body of poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction.
This book traces historically and evaluates critically this tradition, with particular emphasis on writers who were associated with, or sympathetic to, the Communist Party of Canada. After two chapters surveying the work of anti-capitalist writers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the book concentrates on the development of Marxist-inspired writing from the 1920s to the end of the twentieth century.
Besides devoting attention to both social and theoretical backgrounds, this study provides critical commentary on work by prominent writers who spent part of their literary careers as Communist Party members, including Dorothy Livesay, Patrick Anderson, Milton Acorn, and George Ryga, as well as less well known but more fervent Communists such as Margaret Fairley, Dyson Carter, Joe Wallace, Stanley Ryerson, and Jean-Jules Richard. Although primarily concerned with the older generation of Marxists who flourished between the 1920s and the 1970s, the book also includes a chapter on the post-1970s “New Left.”
Historical Case Studies
Four cases in which the legal issue was “race” — that of a Chinese restaurant owner who was fined for employing a white woman; a black man who was refused service in a bar; a Jew who wanted to buy a cottage but was prevented by the property owners’ association; and a Trinidadian of East Indian descent who was acceptable to the Canadian army but was rejected for immigration on grounds of “race” — drawn from the period between 1914 and 1955, are intimately examined to explore the role of the Supreme Court of Canada and the law in the racialization of Canadian society. With painstaking research into contemporary attitudes and practices, Walker demonstrates that Supreme Court Justices were expressing the prevailing “common sense” about “race” in their legal decisions. He shows that injustice on the grounds of “race” has been chronic in Canadian history, and that the law itself was once instrumental in creating these circumstances. The book concludes with a controversial discussion of current directions in Canadian law and their potential impact on Canada’s future as a multicultural society.
Canadian Literature and Criticism after Modernism
It would be difficult to exaggerate the worldwide impact of postmodernism on the fields of cultural production and the social sciences over the last quarter century—even if the concept has been understood in various, even contradictory, ways. An interest in postmodernism and postmodernity has been especially strong in Canada, in part thanks to the country’s non-monolithic approach to history and its multicultural understanding of nationalism, which seems to align with the decentralized, plural, and open-ended pursuit of truth as a multiple possibility as outlined by Jean-François Lyotard. In fact, long before Lyotard published his influential work The Postmodern Condition in 1979, Canadian writers and critics were employing the term to describe a new kind of writing. RE: Reading the Postmodern marks a first cautious step toward a history of Canadian postmodernism, exploring the development of the idea of the postmodern and debates about its meaning and its applicability to various genres of Canadian writing, and charting its decline in recent years as a favoured critical trope.
The Path to Cultural Complexity in the Gulf of Georgia
This book examines prehistoric culture change in the Gulf of Georgia region of the northwest coast of North America during the Locarno Beach (3500–1100 BP) and Marpole (2000–1100 BP) periods. The Marpole culture has traditionally been seen to possess all the traits associated with complex hunter-gatherers on the northwest coast (hereditary inequality, multi-family housing, storage-based economies, resource ownership, wealth accumulation, etc.) while the Locarno Beach culture has not. This research examined artifact and faunal assemblages as well as data for art and mortuary architecture from a total of 164 Gulf of Georgia archaeological site components. Geographic location and ethnographic language distribution were also compared to the archaeological data. Analysis was undertaken using Integrative Distance Analysis (IDA), a new statistical model developed in the course of this research. Results indicated that Marpole culture was not a regional phenomenon, but much more spatially and temporally discrete than previously thought. Artifactual assemblages identified as Marpole were restricted to the areas of the Fraser River, northern Gulf Islands and portions of Vancouver Island. In contrast, the ethnographic territory of the Straits Salish showed no sign of Marpole culture, but rather a presence of Late Locarno Beach culture. The pattern found in artifacts was replicated in the distribution of art and mortuary architecture variation suggesting the cultural differences between Marpole and Late Locarno Beach cultures was real and not merely a statistical anomaly.
China, Europe, and Japan
Key royal courts - in Han, Tang, and Song dynasty China; medieval and renaissance Europe; and Heian and Muromach Japan--are examined in this comparative and interdisciplinary volume as loci of power and as entities that establish, influence, or counter the norms of a larger society. Contributions by twelve scholars are organized into sections on the rhetoric of persuasion, taste, communication, gender, and natural nobility.
A Mingling of Contrarieties
Aimer la vie, conjurer la mort