Over the past two decades, many books and articles have explored the larger meaning of public acts of remembrance. Although these studies have brought the links between public memory, imperialism, and nation building into focus, they overlook local expressions of memory that lie at the heart of our everyday experiences and identities.
Placing Memory and Remembering Place in Canada maps a fascinating terrain in memory studies by shifting the focus to local places that sit at the intersection of memory making and identity formation – the main street, the city square, the village museum, internment camps, industrial wastelands, and the rural landscape.
Offering a unique perspective on the politics of place and memory across differing chronologies and geographies, the first part of the book, “Commemorations,” traces how local expressions of memory such as celebrations, museums, statues, postcards, and plaques have contributed to a sense of place and belonging in twentieth-century Canada. The second part, “Inscriptions,” in turn explores how ordinary Canadians have embedded their memories of place in oral stories, photographs, and the landscape itself.
With its focus on the materiality of image, text, and artefact, these essays argue for an understanding of place as imagined, made, claimed, fought for, and defended – always in a state of becoming.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars in Canadian history, geography, communication studies, and cultural studies and to policy makers and general readers who want a deeper understanding of the politics of place and memory.
The many different angles from which the contributors approach their subjects provide the oral historian with valuable methodological insight, showing how photographs, monuments, and public spaces can become catalysts for inquiry into human memory and the meaning of that memory.
At the heart of debates surrounding commemoration are questions about what is remembered and what remains hidden or forgotten. This splendid volume examines how official memorials commemorating site-specific events often reveal diversity and even controversy surrounding local, vernacular experiences in Canada. The essays offer rich contributions to our understanding of memory and forgetting.
James Opp and John C. Walsh are in the Department of History at Carleton University and are research associates at the Carleton Centre for Public History.
Contributors: Matthew Evenden, Patrizia Gentile, Alan Gordon, Steven High, Russell Johnston, Kirsten Emiko McAllister, Cecilia Morgan, James Opp, Michael Ripmeester, Joan M. Schwartz, Frances Swyripa, and John C. Walsh.
Introduction: Local Acts of Placing and Remembering / James Opp and John C. Walsh
Part 1: Commemorations: Marking Memories of Place
1 Performing Public Memory and Re-Placing Home in the Ottawa Valley, 1900-58 / John C. Walsh
2 History and the Six Nations: The Dynamics of Commemoration, Colonial Space, and Colonial Knowledge / Cecilia Morgan
3 Edmonton’s Jasper Avenue: Public Ritual, Heritage, and Memory on Main Street / Frances Swyripa
4 The Highland Heart in Nova Scotia: Place and Memory at the Highland Village Museum / Alan Gordon
5 “That Big Statue of Whoever”: Material Commemoration and Narrative in the Niagara Region / Russell Johnston and Michael Ripmeester
Part 2: Inscriptions: Recovering Places of Memory
6 Placing the Displaced Worker: Narrating Place in Deindustrializing Sturgeon Falls, Ontario /Steven High
7 Capital Queers: Social Memory and Queer Place(s) in Cold War Ottawa / Patrizia Gentile
8 Archive and Myth: The Changing Memoryscape of Japanese Canadian Internment Camps / Kirsten Emiko McAllister
9 Immersed: Landscaping the Past at Lake Minnewanka / Matthew Evenden
10 Finding the View: Landscape, Place, and Colour Slide Photography in Southern Alberta / James Opp
Part 3: Afterword
11 Complicating the Picture: Place and Memory between Representation and Reflection / Joan M. Schwartz
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