Magazines, Travel and Middlebrow Culture in Canada 1925-1960

Session 1: Magazines, Modernity, & Middlebrow Culture
Chair: Anouk Lang
Thursday, 24 May, 2012. 9:30-11:00

“She is a Toronto Girl”: Canadian Actresses’ Transatlantic and Transnational Careers Through the Lenses of Canadian Magazines, 1890s-1930s

Cecilia Morgan, Professor
Theory and Policy Studies in Education
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

From the late nineteenth century until at least the end of the 1920s, English-Canadian periodicals such as Saturday Night, Mayfair, and The Canadian Magazine were keen to cover ‘the stage’ and those Canadians who appeared on it, both in Canada and abroad. Figures such as Margaret Anglin, Julia Arthur, Viola Allen, May Irwin, Bea Lillie, and Margaret Bannerman (to name a few), performers whose work ranged from Shakespeare, Greek tragedy, drawing-room comedies, and vaudeville, were featured in these publications, their work in Canada and ‘abroad’ heralded as evidence of the county’s talent in the performing arts. These women also were depicted - sometimes consciously, sometimes indirectly - as evidence of certain Canadians’ ability to move across and around national borders, proof that the country was linked to transnational and transatlantic circuits of performance and, in particular, cultural knowledge. Yet cosmopolitan subjects though they might be, these actresses were, nevertheless, always ‘Toronto girls’ (or Hamilton or Ottawa), women whose considerable charms and appeal were frequently grounded in their country of origin. My paper will explore the ways in which these upper-middle-class periodicals helped shape these actresses’ image, as they reported these women’s movements on and off-stage, in Canada, the United States, Britain, and (in some cases) Australia. It also will consider the ways in which these actresses might, in turn, have lent even more glamour, sophistication, and cosmopolitanism to the periodicals themselves.

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Montreal Modern: Sanitized Images in English Canadian Periodicals, 1950-1970
Will Straw, Director
McGill Institute for the Study of Canada
McGill University

It is well known that periodicals of low esteem, both Canadian and non-Canadian, regularly covered Montreal, during the immediate post-World War II period, in ways that emphasized the city’s allegedly corrupt and vice-ridden character. In middle-brow periodicals like Saturday Night, Maclean’s and weekend magazines distributed with newspapers (like Canadian Magazine), a contrary discourse emerged. This contrary discourse drew, as might be expected, on more appealing images of Montreal’s cosmopolitanism and quality attractions. By the end of the 1950s, however, coverage of Montreal as a travel destination emphasized Montreal’s ascendant status as a modernizing, technologically-centred metropolis. As with most coverage of Montreal within the Anglophone Canadian press, the city was constructed as both sufficiently exotic to compete with other, foreign tourist destinations, and Canadian enough that its appeal was posed in terms of the traveller’s self-education about his or her own country. While the low-brow construction of Montreal as sin city involved magazine stories with lurid illustrations of night-time immorality, coverage of Montreal’s emergent technological modernity relied on glossy photographic spreads highlighting the growth of infrastructural elements like freeways and technological advances of the sort which would come to greatest prominence in Expo ’67. Complementing my earlier research on Montreal as “city of sun,” this paper will trace alternative images of Montreal in the mainstream, middlebrow English-Canadian periodical.

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Trafficking Literature: Mobility and Middlebrow Modernity in BP Magazine
Victoria Kuttainen, Senior Lecturer
Department of English
James Cook University

Accounts of the transatlantic “moveable feast” of the Lost Generation in Paris tend to eclipse the myriad sorts of travel—and its uses—in the interwar imaginary. During the prohibition years when alcohol marketing was banned in America, travel took up all the flagship advertising space in new middlebrow magazines such as Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Esquire. Aspirational in taste with a mass market appeal, the writing and travel advertisements in these magazines targeted a class of reader whose self-image as a modern subject was fashioned on ideas about mobility, in its many forms. Overseas, travel became a major advertiser and topic in a host of periodicals modelled these American ones. In Australia, the new magazines The Home, Triad, and Man were awash in Pacific travel.

A unique convergence of the interwar middlebrow magazine and Pacific travel can be found in the case of Australia’s monthly BP (1928-1942). Capitalising on the burgeoning market for commercial tourism after World War One and these innovations in print culture, the Australian steamship company Burns Philp made a daring move to cut out the middleman of ad agency by launching their own publication designed to reach a wide yet discriminating market. This paper examines implications of the magazine’s strategic attempt to trade on the cachet of literature to sell its commodity—the Pacific tour.

Marketed as “Australia’s finest monthly” the magazine lays bare middlebrow tensions between literary aspiration and commodity culture, sophistication and escapism, edification and entertainment, and modernity and primitiveness. This paper also explores the spectacular slippage between these values on display in this magazine in terms of different kinds of mobility on offer to middlebrow moderns on this side of the Pacific.

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A Selected Class of Traveller: Canadian Magazines and the Culture of Aspiration
Michelle Smith, Postdoctoral Research Associate
School of Humanities (English Studies)
University of Strathclyde

Paris, according to the advertisements and travel features of inter-war, English-language mainstream Canadian magazines, was a destination promising luxury, delight, and exclusivity. To reach it, one took a cruise liner offering “ultra-spacious apartments, perfectly appointed salons, unobtrusive service anticipating your wants, and the companionship of distinguished fellow-travellers,” after which one could reside temporarily at a hotel such at l’Hôtel Prince de Galles, located “in the most exclusive quarter of Paris just off the Champs-Elysees” and intended for “that selected class of experienced travellers who will appreciate freedom from the vexations of ordinary hotel life.” From there, one could venture out to experience “the delight of spending one’s first day at The Louvre,” browse the “exquisite quality of French fashions,” and much more.

This paper explores how ideas and images about Paris in Canadian magazines such as Mayfair and Maclean’s served up an uneasy mixture of fantasy, memoir, and practical advice on how best to enjoy leisure travel. In the 1920s and 1930s, Paris was one of the most advertised and discussed destinations, with advertisements and articles playing suggesting that Canadians wishing to possess true “savoir-faire” ought to cross the Atlantic. Making this journey meant that they could experience the highlights of the modern world (ranging from the new technology of the luxury cruise liner to the pleasures Paris’ art galleries to participation in smart society) in a so-called “old-world” setting. Understanding how the magazines portrayed a visit to Paris is, then, a way into understanding social aspiration – even snobbery – and how such aspiration was underwritten by certain types of material and cultural consumption.

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Session 2: Cross-cultural Exchange & Print Culture Histories
Chair: Eva-Marie Kröller
Thursday, 24 May, 2012. 11:30-1:00

Femmes, mondanité et culture dans les années 1940 : l’exemple de la chronique « Ce dont on parle » de Lucette Robert dans La Revue populaire

Chantal Savoie, Professeure agrégée
Centre de recherche interuniversitaire sur la littérature et la culture québécoises
Département des littératures
Université Laval

Au tournant du XXe siècle, les pages féminines des grands quotidiens deviennent un des lieux qui ont le plus contribué à façonner l’émergence d’un regard lettré féminin sur le monde et sur la culture. Dans le prolongement de nos travaux sur les pages féminines des quotidiens et sur les périodiques féminins des premières décennies du XXe siècle, nous souhaitons mesurer l’évolution du regard féminin porté sur le monde et sur la culture par les magazines en nous attardant à la chronique « Ce dont on parle » de Lucette Robert dans La revue populaire (1944-1947). Alors que le monde de l’imprimé subit une mutation décisive au cours de la Deuxième guerre mondiale, comment la modernisation de la société et le redéploiement de l’espace médiatique en général et de l’espace spécifique des magazines en particulier, est-il transformé par cette évolution ? Comment la culture mondaine féminine se présente-t-elle au sortir de la guerre ? La chronique de Lucette Robert, abordant les échecs des milieux mondains, littéraires et artistiques, alors que la chroniqueuse incarne elle-même un nouveau modèle de femme lettrée et de citoyenne du monde dans une revue populaire, s’avère un exemple privilégié qui permet de sonder l’arrimage des différentes sphères culturelles (médiatique et culturelle, au confluent de la culture populaire et de la culture moyenne) à une époque charnière.

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Hemispheric Travel and the Imaginary: the Literatures of Canada and Québec
Marie Vautier, Professor
Department of French
University of Victoria

This presentation will “push the boundaries” of the time-frame for the Canadian and Québécois texts to be analysed in the major research project, as it will begin with a chronological survey of texts (mainly novels) published in both French and English Canada, with a double focus on firstly, cross-cultural interactions and secondly, a hemispheric shift in the imaginaries of the literatures of Canada, ending with an analysis of a 21st-century novel. Beginning with what are widely considered to be the “first” Canadian and Québécois novels to be published, The History of Emily Montague by Francis Brooke and L’Influence d’un livre by Philippe Aubert de Gaspé, fils, this paper will argue that both novels were open to the “Other,” as represented by references to the opposing linguistic body (French or English). The presentation will then provide a rapid diachronic overview of texts published in English and French in Canada, and will underline both cross-cultural interactions (English-French) (Bouthillette) within the literatures of Canada and the fascination with the city of Paris (and possibly, London) which is obvious in the literary imaginaries of several texts (Scobie; Scobie/Vautier). This will then be followed by references to some late 20th-century authors, whose work reveals the beginning of a shift in attitudes toward Paris (and possibly, London) as a cultural mecca for Canadian and Québécois writers. The presentation will finish with an in-depth analysis of a 21st-century novel, Nikolski by Nicolas Dicker, and the main thrust of the argument here will be to unpack the diminishing importance of Europe and the United States and the increasing importance of Latin America on the contemporary literary imaginary.

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New York Middlebrow: Selling the Modern Library series to the Canadian Market
Lise Jaillant, PhD Candidate
Department of English
University of British Columbia

The Modern Library, a uniform series of reprints created in New York in 1917, was marketed as a sophisticated series that appealed to the growing professional-managerial class. This essay examines the specific ways in which the Modern Library was sold to the Canadian market. It argues that an important part of the appeal of the series was its perceived cosmopolitanism and sophistication. The positioning of the Modern Library was, to a large extent, similar to that of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. Like these “middlebrow” magazines, the Modern Library established a setting and characters for its brand: intellectuals, artists, and glamorous actresses all played a role in its “branded story country,” New York City. However, censorship and copyright issues meant that not all Modern Library books were available in Canada. Whereas Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre, Balzac’s Droll Stories and other controversial books could be sold in the United States, these titles were banned in Canada. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, then, the United States was moving away from the social purity movement born in the Progressive era, while Canada remained much more conservative. Drawing on extensive archival research, I show that Macmillan (the distributor of the Modern Library) was increasingly frustrated with the censorship legislation in Canada. At the time when Canadian literary and commercial discourses highlighted New York as a center of culture and taste, the censorship of Modern Library titles appeared as a sign of provincialism and exclusion from modern civilization.

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Home as Middle Ground in Adaptations of Two Early Twentieth-Century Middlebrow Novels
Wendy Roy, Associate Professor
College of Arts and Sciences
University of Saskatchewan

Homi Bhabha begins “The World and the Home,” his essay about nationalism, postcolonialism, and the unhomely, with a discussion of a book with a house in its title. Houses are equally prominent in the titles of two early twentieth-century Canadian middlebrow novels: L. M. Montgomery’s 1908 Anne of Green Gables and Mazo de la Roche’s 1927 Jalna. Both books, indeed, centre their characters in a specific and particular house as well as a specific and particular country, and in so doing present the home as microcosm of the nation.

As suggested by the continued reinvention of Montgomery’s and de la Roche’s books through repeated international translations and popular culture adaptations, however, these fictional Canadian homes provide a middle ground that allows for complex and sometimes unsettling movements among the local, national, and transnational. These works and their international adoptions and adaptations (for Anne of Green Gables, by Realart in the U.S. in 1919, RKO in the U.S. in 1934, Nippon Animation in Japan in 1979, and Sullivan Productions in Canada in 1985; for Jalna, by RKO in the U.S. in 1935, CBC in Canada in 1972, and France 2 in France in 1994) transform the complexities of Canada’s internal and external social and political relations into an imagined, nostalgic middle ground. Home becomes something unhomely (Bhabha): still blurrily recognizable, but distorted and defamiliarized because home ground has shifted from the local to the international.

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Session 3: Humanities Scholarship & Digital Technologies
Chair: Hannah McGregor
Thursday, 24 May, 2012. 2:00-2:45

Geolocating little magazines: Some thoughts on the value of mapping technologies and periodical studies
Anouk Lang, Lecturer
School of Humanities (English Studies)
University of Strathclyde

The digitisation of literary texts and periodicals brings with it exciting possibilities, including the ability to create visualisations of places and trajectories using mapping technologies. However, such mapping also has the potential to be somewhat perilous, as researchers need to invest significant amounts of time without always being certain in advance about the intellectual benefits that will result. In this paper, I ask what it means to map place in relation to little magazines – places of publication, places mentioned, places whose broader imaginative pull is attested to by depictions of travel and tourism – and consider not only how, but also why, and when, it is worth going to the trouble of geocoding texts from literature, literary history and book history. I take several little magazines from Canada and Australia associated with modernism, and use them as case studies to explore what can be discovered from geographical visualisation, and to suggest particular kinds of data, and text, that are especially beneficial to bring within the ambit of this kind of methodological approach. I will also examine some existing literary GIS projects in order to consider what they are able to add to our understanding of literary texts and literary history.

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The Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory Project: Scaling Up Collaboration Online
Susan Brown, Professor
College of Arts
University of Guelph

Words move. They move us to understand Canada’s tradition and diversity. They move our perceptions and our subjectivities. They move roughly 160,000 majors yearly through humanities programs of Canadian universities. They move $3.3 billion yearly through our publishing industry. They move people halfway around the world to visit Anne of Green Gables’ farmhouse on Prince Edward Island. Words move differently now, through semi-conductors, across screens, at lightning speed, and in vast quantities. Scholars have studied how words make and move us for centuries, but the digital turn demands new tools and new tool environments.

This is the raison d’être for the Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory/Le Collaboratoire scientifique des écrits du Canada (, an ambitious infrastructure project that is developing a virtual research environment to enable unprecedented avenues for studying the words that most move people in and about Canada. At this critical juncture when Canada’s literary heritage is moving online, management of information about Canadian cultural history still relies largely on tools derived from print models, which cannot accommodate the explosion of online materials. The traditional model of solitary scholars working on small groups of texts is increasingly complemented by large-scale cross-disciplinary collaborative endeavours. The Collaboratory is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation to serve both types of work. It will enable individual scholars to pool their research resources with others in mutually beneficial ways, and also enable groups of researchers to work together to create new scholarly materials, and edit or annotate digitized versions of existing texts. The Collaboratory will support the interoperation of related research projects and some existing digital collections, including a number of research projects on women’s writing in Canada, to enable new knowledge to emerge. It will provide tools for analysis and visualization that provide researchers of Canadian writing new perspectives on their materials.

Collaboration is key activity that this infrastructure project seeks to support, and collaboration is indispensible to the process of building a successful infrastructure. This paper will describe the Collaboratory project and outline the many modes of collaboration that are integral to the infrastructure development process, and the challenges and rewards associated with them.

The emphasis of the paper will be on the cultural rather than a technical challenges having to do with the culture of humanities scholarship, institutional and funding structures, and rapidly changing modes of scholarly production.

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Creative non-fiction reading
Thursday, 24 May, 2012. 4:45-5:30

Canadian Middlebrow Goes Motorcycling: Creative Nonfiction from Magazine to Book

Ted Bishop, Professor
Dept. of English and Film Studies
University of Alberta
Narrative nonfiction uses the elements of traditional, objective nonfiction (reportage, exposition, critical analysis) and combines them with the resources of the novelist (dialogue, characterization, the creation of scene) in order to render lived experience as well as to convey information.
But how to do that?
Canadian novelist Joan Barfoot in a Globe and Mail review writes, “The very best journalism creates connections and angles and perspectives that cause little brain-sizzles….” In this talk Ted Bishop with read from the “gearing up” scene (a trope of all travel literature) in his Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books, and discuss the evolution of the text from a series of articles in Cycle Canada and Joyce Studies Annual, to an extended nonfiction essay, “The Motorcycle and the Archive,” to a trade book, published by Penguin (Canada) and Norton (U.S.).
The talk outlines the challenges of writing not only for two specialized audiences – motorcyclists and archivists – but for a middlebrow public at large, and we will explore the techniques involved, from shaping paragraphs and crafting blurbs to finding narrative voices and flying without footnotes, weaving the different registers of research and reminiscence to generate the ‘brain-sizzles’ that keep multiple constituencies of readers engaged.

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Session 4: Ethnography, Tourism, & Middlebrow Materiality
Chair: Lise Jallant
Friday, 25 May, 2012. 9:30-11:30

Eating Vietnam: Souvenir-Literature, the Tourist Gaze, and Book Club Readers in Camilla Gibb’s The Beauty of Humanity Movement
Hannah McGregor, PhD Candidate
School of English and Theatre Studies
University of Guelph

This paper will examine representations of tourism and the “foreign” culture of Vietnam in Camilla Gibb’s 2010 novel, The Beauty of Humanity Movement, in light of Gibb’s claims that the book was actively shaped to fit the expectations of a Book Club readership. The novel takes place in contemporary Hanoi and centres on three characters: Hung, an elderly pho-maker; Tu’, a young tour guide; and Maggie, a curator born in Hanoi, raised in the U.S., and now residing in the city of her birth. Based on the author’s travels in Vietnam, the novel can be read as a form of literary tourism that produces “representations that in turn become commodities (souvenirs)” of the culture represented (Zilcosky 10). The narrative twines together Hung’s history of ad hoc pho-making, the mystery of Maggie’s father’s lost art, and the commodified and globalized image of Vietnam being produced by Hanoi’s contemporary art scene. Via the figure of Tu’, the novel also explores the thriving Vietnamese tourism industry, including Western tourists’ perception of Vietnam not as a “real” place, but as a mirror for Western desire, in which “Our gazes fail to reach beyond Ourselves” (Alneng 482). My paper will foreground the novel’s struggles to complicate the category of souvenir-literature through its complex treatment of the commodity status of works of art, while also emphasizing how the fixation on food as an assimilable (or digestible) form of culture ultimately produces an image of Vietnam that Book Club readers can consume as the “authentic spice” of cultural difference (Ahmed 118).

Works Cited
Ahmed, Sara. Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. Print.
Alneng, Victor. “‘What the Fuck is a Vietnam?’: Touristic Phantasms and the Popcolonization of (the)Vietnam (War).” Critique of Anthropology 22.4 (2002): 461-489. Web. Sage Journals. 5 Sept. 2010.
Gibb, Camilla. The Beauty of Humanity Movement. Toronto: Doubleday, 2010. Print.
Zilcosky, John. “Writing Travel.” Writing Travel: the poetics and politics of the modern journey. Ed. John Zilcosky. Toronto: U Toronto P, 2008. 3-14. Print.

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The Book of Negroes’ Illustrated Edition: Circulating African-Canadian History through the Middlebrow
Gillian Roberts, Lecturer
Department of American and Canadian Studies
University of Nottingham

This paper examines the illustrated edition of Lawrence Hill’s Commonwealth Writers’ Prize- and Canada Reads-winning novel The Book of Negroes. Originally published in 2007, the novel was re-released as a deluxe illustrated edition in hardback in 2009. This novel relates the story of Aminata, a West African girl kidnapped and sold into the transatlantic slave trade, and her experiences in an indigo plantation in the American south, followed by further displacements to Charleston, New York, Nova Scotia, Sierra Leone, and London. In New York, as the Revolutionary War comes to a close, Aminata becomes the scribe for the Book of Negroes, documenting the black Loyalists, as well as the slaves and indentured servants of white Loyalists, granted passage by the British to Canada. Hill has commented both in the paratexts to the original edition of the novel and in magazine articles that the Book of Negroes is an important document about which Canadians are largely ignorant, and need to know more. This desire to circulate knowledge about African-Canadian history through the novel is particularly manifest in the illustrated edition of 2009, where the document of the Book of Negroes features prominently (with a double-page photograph of its original text) as well as countless other images and captions, all of which supplement and interrupt Hill’s narrative. The production and circulation of Hill’s novel as a kind of “keepsake” or “souvenir” edition, with National Geographic-like images, demands critical scrutiny, particularly of the implications of its middlebrow packaging of African-Canadian history.

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Presenting Canada to the Scientific Gaze: the 1884 Annual Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Montreal and the eccentricity of scientific tourism
Peter Hodgins, Assistant Professor
School of Canadian Studies
Carleton University

Founded in 1831 to challenge the dominance of the conservative and exclusionary Royal Society, the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) had established itself by the middle of the 19th century as the most important and innovative scientific association in the world. Among its many innovations was the peripatetic character of its annual meetings—while the Royal Society met every year in London, the BAAS held them in a different British city every year as part of its more general commitment to public outreach and engagement. In 1883, it decided to hold its annual meeting for the first time ever in a city beyond the British Isles: Montreal. The nascent Canadian government jumped on this opportunity for imperial and international recognition and promised funds to help defray some of the costs of intercontinental travel, arranged for free passage for the summer on the freshly-built national railway system, provided lodging and subsidized meals for all visiting BAAS members. Because of this generosity, membership in the BAAS mushroomed as many joined simply to take advantage of cheap travel to and in Canada. However even after the Association took measures to limit those who could benefit from the offer to “legitimate” members, nearly a thousand British scientists and their families crossed the ocean in 1884 to tour Canada.

The Canadian government and local authorities also published and distributed a series of handbooks for the British scientist-tourists. These began, much like Lonely Planet guides do today, with information on Canada’s or the local history, geography, demography, culture, economy and so on and then provided them with pre-planned itineraries. These itineraries and their descriptions often followed what have emerged as the core discourses of Canadian tourist promotion—Canada’s cities, though small and still a bit rough, were portrayed as emerging cosmopolitan centres while the rural parts of Canada alternated between scenes of sublime natural beauty and performances of antimodernist exotica/imperialist nostalgia such as staged pageants of indigenous sundances or traditional Québécois fiddling. However, presumably perhaps because these tours were being organized for scientists, the handbooks also contain what seems to the casual contemporary tourist to be an excess of background statistical, natural historical and ethnological detail and puzzling itineraries that included, for example, visits to factories and strip mines. This combination of informational excess and erratic paths seems to disrupt a facile reading of this organization of Canadian space along the lines of Urry’s “tourist gaze” or the McKay/Jessup arguments about the antimodernist nature of Canadian tourist discourse.

In this paper, I want to try to sort out the excessive and erratic character of these guidebooks by closely reading (a) the extant planning documents produced by both the BAAS and the Canadian government in preparation for the meeting in Montreal; (b) the tourist handbooks produced by national and local agencies; and (c) the written accounts produced by members of BAAS about their trip to Canada. While it could well be that their puzzling character is a function of their intended audience, I suspect that it also has something to do with their generic confusion or ambiguity. In order pursue the latter possibility (and I’m not sure that I will have the time to do this between now and May), I would also like to read these handbooks in relation to, on the one hand, the generic conventions of governmental promotional and information writing of the period and, on the other hand, to the emerging commercial genre of the tourist guidebook.

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Adrienne Clarkson, Travel, and the Middle-Brown Media in Canada
Eva-Marie Kröller, Professor
Department of English
University of British Columbia

As the first Chinese-Canadian woman to occupy the position of Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson attracted special attention from the start of her appointment. However, both the extravagant praise for her performance and the equally excessive criticism of her alleged shortcomings drew extensively on reports in the media that accompanied her previous work, over several decades, as a journalist, editor, and diplomat. Clarkson’s lavish travels in the company of representatives from the arts, sciences and commerce were a special target, but in an NFB video produced while she was still in office (An Idea of Canada, 2003) and in memoir published after the conclusion of her term as Governor General (Heart Matters, 2006), Clarkson cites these along with the lessons learnt during her past travels to China in pursuit of her heritage as proof of a successfully fulfilled mandate. Her book Canada’s House: Rideau Hall and the Invention of a Canadian Home (2004) dwells on a building as indicated by the title, but Clarkson describes Rideau Hall as the focal point of international mobility. This paper will look at women and the office of Governor General in Canada, including the “châtelaines” (Governor Generals’ spouses), concentrating on middle-brow sources and paying special attention to the motif of travel. The paper will then investigate these themes in the reception of Adrienne Clarkson in the media. The purpose is to study the coverage of the various roles she has played in her professional life as a flashpoint of Canadian attitudes toward ambitious professional women generally, and high-aiming ethnic women specifically.

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White Aboriginality: Indian Time and Middlebrow Ethnography in Canada
Dean Irvine, Professor
Department of English
Dalhousie University

With the rise of newspapers in the 1940s and 1950s such as the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia’s the Native Voice (1946-97) and Squamish leader Andrew Paull’s the Thunderbird (1949-55) and the Totem Speaks (1953), the publication of Indian Time marked a pivotal moment in aboriginal print culture with the appearance of Canada’s earliest First Nations magazine. Published by a native man, Doug Wilkinson, and edited by a non-native woman, Eloise Street, Indian Time was a mimeographed magazine issued at irregular intervals from 1950 to 1959 out of Vancouver. Wilkinson, a Sioux who appears on the masthead and signs his editorials Sohany, describes the program of the magazine as one devoted to “land rights, health, general welfare, agriculture, fishing, equal education for all Canadians, preservation and revival of native arts and culture.” Among the preservation efforts initiated by the magazine was the publication of English translations of native orature. Beginning with the January 1951 issue, Indian Time published selections from a cycle of poems by the Chilliwack Chief William K’HHalserten Sepass, which he recited between 1911 and 1915 to Sophia White Street, who translated them aloud into English from the Halq’eméylem language of the Coast Salish; these oral translations were transcribed and edited by her daughter Eloise, who assembled a manuscript and printed excerpts in the magazine under the title “The Songs of Y-Ail-Mihth.” I will frame my discussion of the poem cycle in relation to early to mid-century practices of amateur salvage ethnography, primitivist appropriations and adaptations of aboriginal cultural heritage by non-natives, and the emergence and popularity of the phenomenon of "white aboriginality" in Canada's early to mid-century middlebrow literary cultures.

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