Meaningful Pasts: Historical Narratives, Commemorative Landscapes, and Everyday Lives
Available: March 2024© 2024
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 288 Pages
Illustrations: 11 b&w illustrations, 3 b&w maps, 6 b&w figures, 13 b&w tables
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
288 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.00 in, 11 b&w illustrations, 3 b&w maps, 6 b&w figures, 13 b&w tables
Not Yet Published
In Meaningful Pasts, Russell Johnston and Michael Ripmeester explore two strands of identity-making among residents of the Niagara Region in Ontario, Canada.
First, they describe the region’s official narratives, most of which celebrate the achievements of white settlers with a mix of storytelling, rituals, and monuments. Despite their presence in local lore and landmarks, these official narratives did not resonate with the nearly one thousand residents who participated in five surveys conducted over eleven years. Instead, participants drew on contemporary people, places, and events. Second, the authors explore the emergence of Niagara’s wine industry as a heritage narrative. The book shares how the survey participants embraced the industry as a local identifier and indicates how the industry’s efforts have rekindled residents’ interest in agriculture as a significant element of regional heritage and local identities.
Revealing how the profiles of local narratives and commemorations become entwined with social, cultural, economic, and political power, Meaningful Pasts illuminates the fact that local narratives retain their relevance only if residents find them meaningful in their day-to-day lives.
Section 1: Resident Responses to “Official” Mnemonic Products
2. Assessing Public Engagement with Historical Narratives in Niagara
Section 2: The Private Alexander Watson Monument
3. A War Memorial as a Mnemonic Device
4. The Watson Monument through Time
5. Residents Engage the Watson Monument
Section 3: The Niagara Grape and Wine Industry
6. Viticulture as a Mnemonic Product
7. Residents Engage the Niagara Wine Industry