Dominion of Race
332 pages, 6 x 9
6 b&w photos, 2 illus.
Release Date:15 Feb 2018
Release Date:15 May 2017
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Release Date:26 May 2017
Release Date:09 Jun 2017

Dominion of Race

Rethinking Canada’s International History

UBC Press

How has race shaped Canada’s international encounters and its role in the world? How have the actions of politicians, diplomats, citizens, and nongovernmental organizations reflected and reinforced racial power structures in Canada? In this book, leading scholars grapple with these complex questions, destabilizing conventional understandings of Canada in the world.

Dominion of Race exposes how race-thinking – normalizing racial differences and perpetuating them through words and actions that legitimize a discriminatory system of beliefs – has informed priorities and policies, positioned Canada in the international community, and contributed to a global order rooted in racial beliefs. Four themes develop throughout the volume: the relationship between empire, identity, and liberal internationalism; the tensions between individual, structure, theory, and practice; the mutual constitution of domestic and international spheres; and the notion of marginalized terrain and space. While the contributors reconsider familiar topics, including the Paris Peace Conference and Canada’s involvement with the United Nations, they also enlarge the scope of Canada’s international history by subject, geography, and methodology.

By demonstrating that race is a fundamental component of Canada and its international history, this important book calls for reengagement with the histories of those marginalized in, or excluded from, the historical record.

This book will interest students and scholars in history, political science, global studies, international relations, and development studies.


  • 2017, Shortlisted - Wilson Book Prize, The Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University
Dominion of Race is a bold and self conscious assault on the traditional notion of Canada’s international history as a nationalist story of inexorable progress down a liberating road from ‘‘colony to nation.’’ Greg Donaghy, Head of the Historical Section at Global Affairs Canada, International Journal
This ambitious and important book opens a door to understanding the impact of race upon Canada’s relationships within the British world and the North American continent, as well as on Canada’s activities within international organizations. John English, director of the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, University of Toronto
Foreign policy and international history scholarship in Canada has generally avoided discussions of race and racialization. This sophisticated and provocative collection offers some much-needed food for thought. Karen Dubinsky, professor, Departments of Global Development Studies and History, Queen’s University

Laura Madokoro is an assistant professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University. She is the author of Elusive Refuge: Chinese Migrants in the Cold War.

Francine McKenzie is a professor of history at the University of Western Ontario. She is the author of Redefining the Bonds of Commonwealth 1939–1948: The Politics of Preference and the co-editor of Parties Long Estranged: Canada and Australia in the Twentieth Century (with Margaret MacMillan) and A Global History of Trade and Conflict since 1500 (with Lucia Coppolaro). She is currently writing a book on postwar reconstruction after the Second World War.

David Meren is an associate professor in the Département d’histoire at the Université de Montréal. He is the author of With Friends Like These: Entangled Nationalisms and the Canada-Quebec-France Triangle, 1944–1970.

Contributors: Dan Gorman, Paula Hastings, P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Laura Madokoro, Francine McKenzie, David Meren, Sean Mills, John Price, Kevin A. Spooner, Ryan Touhey, David Webster, and Henry Yu

Introduction: Writing Race into Canada’s International History / Laura Madokoro and Francine McKenzie

A Provocation: Anti-Asian Exclusion and the Making and Unmaking of White Supremacy in Canada / Henry Yu

1 The Limits of “Brotherly Love”: Rethinking Canada-Caribbean Relations in the Early Twentieth Century / Paula Hastings

2 Asian Canadians and the First World War: Challenging White Supremacy / John Price

3 Race, Empire, and World Order: Robert Borden and Racial Equality at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 / Francine McKenzie

4 Language, Race, and Power: French Canada’s Relationship with Haiti in the 1930s and 1940s / Sean Mills

5 Race, Gender, and International “Relations”: African Americans and Aboriginal People on the Margins in Canada’s North, 1942–48 / P. Whitney Lackenbauer

6 Race, the Commonwealth, and the United Nations: From Imperialism to Internationalism in Canada, 1940–60 / Dan Gorman

7 “Belated Signing”: Race-Thinking and Canada’s Approach to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees / Laura Madokoro

8 Romanticism and Race: Escott Reid, the Department of External Affairs, and the Sundering of Canada-India Relations, 1952–57 / Ryan Touhey

9 “Awakening Africa”: Race and Canadian Views of Decolonizing Africa/ Kevin A. Spooner

10 Crisis of the Nation: Race and Culture in the Canada-Quebec-France Triangle of the 1960s / David Meren

11 “Red Indians” in Geneva, “Papuan Headhunters” in New York: Race, Mental Maps, and Two Global Appeals in the 1920s and 1960s / David Webster

Conclusion: Race and the Future of Canadian International History / David Meren

Selected Bibliography; Index

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