The Inglorious Arts of Peace: Exhibitions in Canadian Society during the Nineteenth Century
Published: March 1999© 1999
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 432 Pages
Dimensions: 6.23 x 9.25
432 Pages, 6.23 x 9.25 x 1.32 in
The exhibition was one of the great nineteenth-century projects for improving the world. Combining the Victorian virtues of communication, cooperation, and competition, it promised to advertise the choice products of civilization to a receptive public. The Inglorious Arts of Peace is the first comprehensive look at the history of these cultural extravaganzas in Canada.
Early in the nineteenth century, provincial governments began to sponsor exhibitions that advertised highly bred livestock and modern techniques of rotation and manuring to farmers. Hundreds of agricultural and industrial exhibitions sprang up across central Canada until, by the end of the century, exhibiting was an enormous industry attracting a mass audience.
Heaman examines the ways in which British North America was advertised at home and abroad in the pursuit of productivity, markets, capital, and immigrants, and evaluates the exhibitions' impact on private industry, the government, and Canadian identity. She also considers the participation of women and native peoples at local and international exhibits, showing how they transcended the limited spheres of representation imposed upon them. The Inglorious Arts of Peace will appeal to those interested in Canadian history and in the historical constructions of gender and race.
'Heaman's book sheds new, or additional, light on issues long discussed by historians-Confederation, the increasing role of government, the position of women, attitudes toward native peoples, the rise of consumerism -and has made me re-examine my own perceptions of this period, and the forces of change which were present. Intermixed with this narrative is a penetrating analysis of the purposes the exhibitions were intended to serve, the extent to which they were the mirrors of their times, the role they played in the transformation of society, and the changes which took place in the exhibitions themselves as the century progressed. Although a frequent attender of rural exhibitions for nearly fifty years, I had never really thought of them in this light before.'Barry Moody, Professor of History, Acadia University