Unsettling the Great White North: Black Canadian History

Edited by Michele A. Johnson and Funké Aladejebi

© 2021

Many Canadians tend to imagine themselves as part of the "Great White North," typified by images of snow and wilderness, tropes which reinforce ideologies based on Canadian innocence, "freedom," and a nation founded on British and French European-ness. The presence of enslaved, freed, and migratory persons of African descent in Canada has always presented a potential source of disruption to that image.

An exhaustive volume of leading scholarship in the field of Black Canadian history, Unsettling the Great White North highlights the diverse experiences of persons of African descent within the chronicles of Canada’s past. The book considers histories and theoretical framings within the disciplines of history, sociology, law, and cultural and gender studies to chart the mechanisms of exclusion and marginalization in "multicultural" Canada and to situate Black Canadians as speakers and agents of their own lives. Working to interrupt the myth of benign whiteness that has been deeply implanted into the country’s imagination, contributors use chronological, regional, and thematic analyses to reconsider and uncover new narratives of Black life in Canada.

Exploring topics such as settlement, borders, gender, community development, and labour, Unsettling the Great White North contributes to growing historical scholarship on Blackness in Canada and considers the place of resilience and resistance within the colonial legacies of the Canadian nation.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 608 pages
  • Illustrations: 4
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Unsettling the Great White North offers a chronological, regional, and thematic compilation of some of the latest and best scholarship in the field of Black Canadian history.

Unsettling the Great White North: Black Canadian History

Edited by Michele A. Johnson and Funké Aladejebi

© 2021

Many Canadians tend to imagine themselves as part of the "Great White North," typified by images of snow and wilderness, tropes which reinforce ideologies based on Canadian innocence, "freedom," and a nation founded on British and French European-ness. The presence of enslaved, freed, and migratory persons of African descent in Canada has always presented a potential source of disruption to that image.

An exhaustive volume of leading scholarship in the field of Black Canadian history, Unsettling the Great White North highlights the diverse experiences of persons of African descent within the chronicles of Canada’s past. The book considers histories and theoretical framings within the disciplines of history, sociology, law, and cultural and gender studies to chart the mechanisms of exclusion and marginalization in "multicultural" Canada and to situate Black Canadians as speakers and agents of their own lives. Working to interrupt the myth of benign whiteness that has been deeply implanted into the country’s imagination, contributors use chronological, regional, and thematic analyses to reconsider and uncover new narratives of Black life in Canada.

Exploring topics such as settlement, borders, gender, community development, and labour, Unsettling the Great White North contributes to growing historical scholarship on Blackness in Canada and considers the place of resilience and resistance within the colonial legacies of the Canadian nation.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 608 pages
  • Illustrations: 4
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Michele A. Johnson is a professor in the Department of History at York University.


    Funké Aladejebi is an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Toronto.
  • Table of contents

    Preface

    Introduction
    Michele A. Johnson and Funké Aladejebi

    Bookend I: The Future Has a Past: Canadian History and Black Modernity

    1. Critical Histories of Blackness in Canada
    Barrington Walker

    Section One: Enslaving Blackness

    2. Planting Slavery in Nova Scotia’s Promised Land, 1759–1775
    Karolyn Smardz Frost

    3. “Where, Oh Where, is Bet?”: Locating Enslaved Black Women on the Ontario Landscape
    Natasha Henry

    Section Two: Constructing Blackness across Borders and Boundaries

    4. A Forgotten Generation: African Canadian History between Fugitive Slaves and World War I
    Adam Arenson

    5. Petitioning Power: Canadian Racial Consciousness Meets Alabama Injustice, 1958
    Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey

    Section Three: Building Black Communities and Shaping Black Resilience

    6. The Shiloh Baptist Church: The Pillar of Strength in Edmonton’s African American Community, 1910–1940
    David Este and Jenna Bailey

    7. Establishing Communities
    Amoaba Gooden

    8. Montreal’s Black Renaissance
    Sean Mills

    Section Four: Controlling Black (Working) Bodies

    9. “Likely to become a public charge”: Examining Black Migration to Eastern Canada, 1900–1930
    Claudine Bonner

    10. “…not likely to do well or to be an asset to this country”: Canadian Restrictions of Black Caribbean Female Domestic Workers, 1910–1955
    Michele A. Johnson

    Section Five: “Schooling” Black Canadians

    11. Stories from the Little Black School House
    Sylvia D. Hamilton

    12. Black Education: The Complexity of Segregation in Kent County’s Nineteenth-Century Schools
    Deirdre McCorkindale

    13. “We have to strive for the best”: The High Aspirations of Black Caribbean-Canadian Youth of the 1970s and 1980s
    Carl E. James

    Section Six: Creating New Diasporic Communities: Continental African Experiences 

    14. Creating Spaces of Belonging: Building a New African Community in Vancouver
    Gillian Creese

    15. “The part of you that’s Rwanda”: Creating a Rwandan Diaspora Community in the Greater Toronto Area in the Early Twenty-First Century
    Anna Ainsworth

    Section Seven: Locating Historical Black Presences in Cultural Artefacts

    16. Race, Community, and the Picturing of Identities: Photography and the Black Subject in Ontario, 1860 to 1900
    Cheryl Thompson and Julie Crooks

    17. Hogan’s Alley Remixed: Wayde Compton’s Performance Bond and the New Black Can(aan)Lit
    Paul Watkins

    18. Jazz, Diaspora, and the History and Writing of Black Anglophone Montreal
    Winfried Siemerling

    Section Eight: Black Women’s Orality and Knowings

    19. “I Don’t Know if I Should Say This”: Black Women, Oral History, and Contesting the Great White North
    Funké Aladejebi

    20. Re-Thinking and Re-Framing RDS: A Black Woman’s Perspective
    Esmerelda M.A. Thornhill

    Bookend II: The Past Has a Future: Critical Intellectual Histories of Blackness

    21. Wrestling with Multicultural Snake Oil: A Newcomer’s Introduction to Black Canada
    Daniel McNeil