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On All Frontiers

Four Centuries of Canadian Nursing

Editors Christina Bates, Dianne Dodd and Nicole Rousseau

Nursing has a long and varied history in Canada. Since the founding of the first hospital by the Augustine nuns in 1637, nurses have contributed greatly to Canadians' quality of life.

On All Frontiers is a comprehensive history of Canadian nursing. Editors Christina Bates, Dianne Dodd, and Nicole Rousseau have brought together a vast body of research into one volume. Authored by leading experts, the chapters and vignettes form an overview of the history of Canadian nursing to date.

From the midwives of early Canada to urban public health nurses, from remote outposts to the battlefields of Europe, On All Frontiers documents the hardships, challenges, and achievements of Canadian nurses. Richly illustrated with archival photographs, it will prove essential to scholars of Canadian health care history.

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Ontario Boys

Masculinity and the Idea of Boyhood in Postwar Ontario, 1945–1960

Ontario Boys explores the preoccupation with boyhood in Ontario during the immediate postwar period, 1945–1960. It argues that a traditional version of boyhood was being rejuvenated in response to a population fraught with uncertainty, and suffering from insecurity, instability, and gender anxiety brought on by depression-era and wartime disruptions in marital, familial, and labour relations, as well as mass migration, rapid postwar economic changes, the emergence of the Cold War, and the looming threat of atomic annihilation. In this sociopolitical and cultural context, concerned adults began to cast the fate of the postwar world onto children, in particular boys.

In the decade and a half immediately following World War II, the version of boyhood that became the ideal was one that stressed selflessness, togetherness, honesty, fearlessness, frank determination, and emotional toughness. It was thought that investing boys with this version of masculinity was essential if they were to grow into the kind of citizens capable of governing, protecting, and defending the nation, and, of course, maintaining and regulating the social order.

Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Ontario Boys demonstrates that, although girls were expected and encouraged to internalize a “special kind” of citizenship, as caregivers and educators of children and nurturers of men, the gendered content and language employed indicated that active public citizenship and democracy was intended for boys. An “appropriate” boyhood in the postwar period became, if nothing else, a metaphor for the survival of the nation.

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Making a Capital - Constuire une capitale

Edited by / Sous la direction de Jeff Keshen and Nicole St-Onge

Ottawa - Making a Capital is a collection of 24 never-before published essays in English and in French on the history of Ottawa. It brings together leading historians, archeologists and archivists whose work reveals the rich tapestry of the city. Pre-contact society, French Canadian voyageurs, the early civil service, the first labour organizers and Jewish peddlers are among the many fascinating topics covered. Readers will also learn about the origins of local street names, the Great Fire of 1900, Ottawa's multicultural past, the demise of its streetcar system, Ottawa's transformation during the Second World War and the significance of federal government architecture. This book is an indispensable collection for those interested in local history and the history of Canada's capital.

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The People of Denendeh

Ethnohistory of the Indians of Canada's Northwest Territories

June Helm


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.

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People of the Saltwater

An Ethnography of Git lax m'oon

Charles R. Menzies

In People of the Saltwater, Charles R. Menzies explores the history of an ancient Tsimshian community, focusing on the people and their enduring place in the modern world. The Gitxaała Nation has called the rugged north coast of British Columbia home for millennia, proudly maintaining its territory and traditional way of life.

People of the Saltwater first outlines the social and political relations that constitute Gitxaała society. Although these traditionalist relations have undergone change, they have endured through colonialism and the emergence of the industrial capitalist economy. It is of fundamental importance to this society to link its past to its present in all spheres of life, from its understanding of its hereditary leaders to the continuance of its ancient ceremonies.

Menzies then turns to a discussion of an economy based on natural-resource extraction by examining fisheries and their central importance to the Gitxaałas’ cultural roots. Not only do these fisheries support the Gitxaała Nation economically, they also serve as a source of distinct cultural identity. Menzies’s firsthand account describes the group’s place within cultural anthropology and the importance of its lifeways, traditions, and histories in nontraditional society today. 


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Producing Predators

Wolves, Work, and Conquest in the Northern Rockies

Michael D. Wise

In Producing Predators, Michael D. Wise argues that contestations between Native and non-Native people over hunting, labor, and the livestock industry drove the development of predator eradication programs in Montana and Alberta from the 1880s onward. The history of these anti-predator programs was significant not only for their ecological effects, but also for their enduring cultural legacies of colonialism in the Northern Rockies.

By targeting wolves and other wild carnivores for extermination, cattle ranchers disavowed the predatory labor of raising domestic animals for slaughter, representing it instead as productive work. Meanwhile, federal agencies sought to purge the Blackfoot, Salish-Kootenai, and other indigenous peoples of their so-called predatory behaviors through campaigns of assimilation and citizenship that forcefully privatized tribal land and criminalized hunting and its related ritual practices. Despite these colonial pressures, Native communities resisted and negotiated the terms of their dispossession by representing their own patterns of work, food, and livelihood as productive. By exploring predation and production as fluid cultural logics for valuing labor, rather than just a set of biological processes, Producing Predators offers a new perspective on the history of the American West and the modern history of colonialism more broadly.

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A Propensity to Protect

Butter, Margarine and the Rise of Urban Culture in Canada

For Canada the last century was one of great social and economic change: an increasingly urban population witnessed shifts from an agricultural to a mixed economy and from moderate to greater wealth. Heick chronicles how changing attitudes toward butter and margarine reflected the nature of that society. He demonstrates how the ban on the manufacture, importation, and sale of margarine was instigated in 1986 at the behest of the nascent, yet influential diary industry, particularly in Ontario. This ban was based on the premise that margarine was not a pure food. Despite the lifting of the ban in 1918–23, margarine would only appear as a permanent fixture of the Canadian food spectrum after World War II. The author contends that post-World War II urbanization, and a desire to enjoy a more prosperous life after wartime stringencies, were instrumental in this change. It was increasingly difficult for the Canadian diary industry to meet the nation’s growing dairy requirements. Margarine was no longer viewed as impure; in fact it was now recognized as being a wholesome food and substitute for butter.

Heick’s important study of the Canadian butter/margarine competition brings to light how the lengthy debate manifested itself in political, economic and social milieux.

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Quebec and Its Historians

The Twentieth Century

Serge Gagnon

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“Race,” Rights and the Law in the Supreme Court of Canada

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.

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Racial Attitudes in English-Canadian Fiction, 1905-1980

Racial Attitudes in English-Canadian Fiction is a critical overview of the appearances and consequences of racism in English-Canadian fiction published between 1905 and 1980.

Based on an analysis of traditional expressions in literature of group solidarity and resentment, the study screens English-Canadian novels for fictional representations of such feelings. Beginning with the English-Canadian reaction to the mass influx of immigrants into Western Canada after World War One, it examines the fiction of novelists such as Ralph Connor and Nellie McClung. The author then suggests that the cumulative effect of a number of individual voices, such as Grove and Salverson, constituted a counter-reaction which has been made more positive by Laurence, Lysenko, Richler and Clarke. The “debate” between these two sides, carried on in fictional and non-fictional writing, is seen to be in part resolved in synthesis after World War Two, as attitudes are forced by wartime alliances and intellectual pressures into a qualified liberalism. The author shows how single novels by Graham, Bodsworth, and Callaghan demonstrated a new concern for the exposure and eradication of racial discrimination, an attitude taken further by the works of Wiebe and Klein.

The book concentrates on single texts that best portray deliberately or not, racist ideology or anti-racist arguments, and attempts to explain the arousal in Canada of such ideas.

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