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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Creative Subversions

Whiteness, Indigeneity, and the National Imaginary

In this richly illustrated book, Margot Francis explores how whiteness and Indigeneity are articulated through four icons of Canadian identity -- the beaver, the railway, the wilderness of Banff National Park, and “Indianness” -- and the contradictory and contested meanings they evoke. These seemingly benign, even kitschy, images, she argues, are haunted by ideas about race, masculinity, and sexuality that circulated during the formative years of Anglo-Canadian nationhood. Juxtaposing these nostalgic images with the work of contemporary Canadian artists, she investigates how everyday objects can be re-imagined to challenge ideas about history, memory, and national identity.

252 pages

Table of Contents



1 Introduction: "Ghosts Trying to Find Their Clothes"

2 The Strange Career of the Beaver: Anthropomorphic Discourse and Imperial History

3 Things Not Named: Bachelors, Dirty Laundry, and the Canadian Pacific Railway

4 Exploring Banff National Park: Rangers on the Mountain Frontier

5 Playing Indian: Indigenous Responses to Indianness

6 Conclusion: Living in “Haunted Places”




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