Country Roads

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Memoirs from Rural Canada

Book Cover: Country Roads

Edited by Pam Chamberlain

Rural people, places, and communities vary greatly in a country as geographically vast and culturally diverse as Canada. For some, the country was a place of happiness and belonging; for others, it was a source of hardship and sorrow. For many, it was both. Some writers grew up loving their rural homes, never wanting to leave. Others couldn’t wait to escape to the city.

From Victoria, British Columbia, to St. John’s, Newfoundland, three generations of Canadians tell their stories of growing up in rural communities in Country Roads. The writers–including journalist Pamela Wallin, NHL coach Brent Sutter, and award-winning authors Sharon Butala and Rudy Wiebe–share one thing in common: they were all country kids whose upbringing profoundly impacted their identities. The thirty-two memoirs in Country Roads are sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, but always engaging.

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Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
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How Canadians Communicate III

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Contexts of Canadian Popular Culture

book cover with various styles of miscellaneous letters

Edited by Bart Beaty, Derek Briton, Gloria Filax, and Rebecca Sullivan

What does Canadian popular culture say about the construction and negotiation of Canadian national identity? This third volume of How Canadians Communicate describes the negotiation of popular culture across terrains where national identity is built by producers and audiences, government and industry, history and geography, ethnicities and citizenships.

Canada does indeed have a popular culture distinct from other nations. How Canadians Communicate III gathers the country’s most inquisitive experts on Canadian popular culture to prove its thesis.

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Publisher: UBC Press
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Japanese Canadian Journey

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The Nakagama Story

by Rochelle Yamagishi

Japanese grocer carrying a bag of rice

The general history of Japanese Canadian immigration in the early 1900s, and subsequent forced removal of Japanese Canadians from the west coast of Canada to southern Alberta during World War II to work on sugar beet farms, is interwoven with the personalized story of a particular entrepreneur, Ryutaro Nakagama, who established the first Albertan Japanese food store in Lethbridge, Alberta. Young and single at the time, the author’s father, Ryutaro, viewed his move to Canada as a new adventure, a chance to break away from existing conditions in his homeland. On April 16, 1924, eighteen-year-old Ryutaro arrived in Victoria, British Columbia, on the S.S. McKinley. His older sister, Miye, and her husband, Chosaburo Nakagama, had emigrated earlier, and sponsored Ryutaro to work in Steveston, British Columbia. Chosaburo had his own fishing boat and fishing license under which the two men could fish, so Ryutaro worked with his brother-in-law in the fishing industry for three years, from 1924 to 1927. Typically, Japanese immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century came to Canada only temporarily, but he seemed intent on staying in Canada to make his future. The decision was confirmed when he became a naturalized Canadian citizen on October 2, 1926.

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Publisher: Trafford Publishing
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About the Author

Rochelle Yamagishi is a tutor with Athabasca University.


The Wages of Relief

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Cities and the Unemployed in Prairie Canada, 1929–39

by Eric Strikwerda

scaffolding in a building site

In the early part of the Dirty Thirties, the Canadian prairie city was a relatively safe haven. Having faced recession before the Great War and then again in the early 1920s, municipalities already had relief apparatuses in place to deal with poverty and unemployment. Until 1933, responsibility for the care of the urban poor remained with local governments, but when the farms failed that year, and the Depression deepened, western Canadian cities suffered tremendously. Recognizing the severity of the crisis, the national government intervened. Evolving federal programs and policies took over responsibility for the delivery of relief to the single unemployed, while the government simultaneously withdrew financing for all public works projects.

Setting municipal relief administrations of the 1930s within a wider literature on welfare and urban poor relief, Strikwerda highlights the legacy on which relief policymakers relied in determining policy directions, as well as the experiences of the individuals and families who depended on relief for their survival. Focusing on three prairie cities—Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg—Strikwerda argues that municipal officials used their power to set policy to address what they perceived to be the most serious threats to the social order stemming from the economic crisis. By analyzing the differing ways in which local relief programs treated married and single men, he also explores important gendered dynamics at work in the response of city administrators to the social and economic upheaval of the Depression. Probing the mindset of local elites struggling in extraordinary circumstances, The Wages of Relief describes the enduring impact of the policy changes made in the 1930s in the direction of a broad, national approach to unemployment—an approach that ushered in Canada’s modern welfare system.

About the Author

Eric Strikwerda is an Assistant Professor in History in the Centre for Humanities. View Eric's faculty page.


Selves and Subjectivities

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Reflections on Canadian Arts and Culture

Book Cover: Selves and Subjectivities

Edited by Manijeh Mannani and Veronica Thompson.

Long a topic of intricate political and social debate, Canadian identity has come to be understood as fragmented, amorphous, and unstable, a multifaceted and contested space only tenuously linked to traditional concepts of the nation. As Canadians, we are endlessly defining ourselves, seeking to locate our sense of self in relation to some Other. By examining how writers and performers have conceptualized and negotiated issues of personal identity in their work, the essays collected in Selves and Subjectivities investigate emerging representations of self and other in contemporary Canadian arts and culture. Included are essays on iconic poet and musician Leonard Cohen, Governor General award–winning playwright Colleen Wagner, feminist poet and novelist Daphne Marlatt, film director David Cronenberg, poet and writer Hédi Bouraoui, author and media scholar Marusya Bociurkiw, puppeteer Ronnie Burkett, and the Aboriginal rap group War Party.

As critic Diana Brydon has argued, contemporary Canadian writers are "not transcending nation but resituating it." Drawing together themes of gender and sexuality, trauma and displacement, performati­vity, and linguistic diversity, Selves and Subjectivities offers an exciting new contribution to the multivocal dialogue surrounding the Canadian sense of identity.

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Publisher: Athabasca University Press
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Escape from the Staple Trap

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Canadian Political Economy after Left Nationalism

by Paul Kellogg

red book cover

From fur and fish to oil and minerals, Canadian development has often been understood through its relationship to export staples. This understanding, argues Paul Kellogg, has led many political economists to assume that Canadian economic development has followed a path similar to those of staple-exporting economies in the Global South, ignoring a more fundamental fact: as an advanced capitalist economy, Canada sits in the core of the world system, not on the periphery or semi-periphery.

In Escape from the Staple Trap, Kellogg challenges statistical and historical analyses that present Canada as weak and disempowered, lacking sovereignty and economic independence. A powerful critique of the dominant trend in Canadian political economy since the 1970s, Escape from the Staple Trap offers an important new framework for understanding the distinctive features of Canadian political economy.

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Publisher: University of Toronto Press
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About the Author

Paul Kellogg is Associate Professor in the MA-IS program, Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies. View Paul's faculty web page.


Timing Canada

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The Shifting Politics of Time in Canadian Literary Culture

by Paul Huebener

black book cover with two white clocks

From punch clocks to prison sentences, from immigration waiting periods to controversial time-zone boundaries, from Indigenous grave markers that count time in centuries rather than years, to the fact that free time is shrinking faster for women than for men - time shapes the fabric of Canadian society every day, but in ways that are not always visible or logical.

In Timing Canada, Paul Huebener draws from cultural history, time-use surveys, political statements, literature, and visual art to craft a detailed understanding of how time operates as a form of power in Canada. Time enables everything we do - as Margaret Atwood writes, "without it we can't live." However, time also disempowers us, divides us, and escapes our control. Huebener transforms our understanding of temporal power and possibility by using examples from Canadian and Indigenous authors - including Jeannette Armstrong, Joseph Boyden, Dionne Brand, Timothy Findley, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Gabrielle Roy, and many others - who witness, question, dismantle, and reconstruct the functioning of time in their works.

As the first comprehensive study of the cultural politics of time in Canada, Timing Canada develops foundational principles of critical time studies and everyday temporal literacy, and demonstrates how time functions broadly as a tool of power, privilege, and imagination within a multicultural and multi-temporal nation.

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Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
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About the Author

Paul Huebener is an Assistant Professor of English in the Centre for Humanities. View Paul's faculty web page.