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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Photography, Memory, and Refugee Identity

The Voyage of the SS Walnut, 1948

In 1948, a small ship carrying Estonian refugees arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax. In this absorbing work, anthropologist Lynda Mannik analyzes the refugee experience through the photographic record of those who made that harrowing voyage. Drawing on a collection of photographs taken during the voyage and at Pier 21, Mannik asks surviving passengers to describe their journey, their reception in Canada, and to what extent the photos reflect their experiences as they remember them. The photographs in the SS Walnut collection, she argues, bear witness to the refugee experience even as the meanings attached to them have changed over time and in shifting contexts.

216 pages

Table of Contents



1   Passengers’ Perspectives: The Voyage and Detention, 1948-49

2   Arrival by Boat and the Media, 1948

3   Still Photos Come to Life at the Pier 21 Museum in 1999

4   Memories and Stories Sixty Years Later

5   Nationalism and Identity in Retrospect





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