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HIST 124 (191)

Whiteness Lecture

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Queen's University
HIST 124
Steven J Maynard

The Great White North?: The Historical Roots of Whiteness in Canada I. Rethinking Race and the Historical Present A. Last Friday: Sir John A Macdonald, “Idle No More,” and History as Contested Terrain * competing versions of Canadian History * aboriginals understanding of the treaties was to share the land, whereas the government meant it was to give up all land * 1876 – the Indian act – even reserves still ultimately are owned by the crown and governed by representatives of the government (Indian agents) – federal policies (assimilation) * macdonald as a colonizer * formed northwest mounted police in 1873 – police to extend law and order as well as sovereignty across the west and created the transcontinental railway – for the people who lived in the west before, they were resisting against the movement (red river rebellion, northwest rebellion) * harper’s speech does not include rebellions and things – what is released/what is not * macdonald focused on whiteness – 1885 – electoral franchise act – who could vote or be in legislation – argues against the Chinese being allowed to vote – feared Aryan race – race would be a distinguishing feature of immigration policies, and political, etc. B. Race and People of Colour i. Affirmative Personal/Familial Identity and Community Belonging * for coloured people – white rascism, community identity, etc. – most Canadian history focuses on experiences of the historical experiences of people of colour – discrimination, black history, etc. ii. History, Racism and Resistance * whiteness tries to pass itself off of a race that isn’t one – focus on coloured people C. Whiteness: The Unmarked Race and Race as Historical/Political * best understood not as a biological given, but as a constantly changing set of concrete practices that are and were fundamentally historical II. Making the Westcoast White: Case Study of British Columbia A. Aboriginal Peoples and a Cosmopolitan Colony * British movement of colonialism (British Columbia) * British moved into a very diverse society with aboriginals predominating * Haida Gwaii islands renamed from the Queen Charlotte Islands as an agreement with the * discovery of gold attracted immigrants from all over – Vancouver diverse and extremely large population B. ‘Managing’ the Movement of Native People on Vancouver Island * gold brought more population to interior Canada – heightened anxiety amongst white colony – keep non-whites apart from whites (segregation – aboriginals moved south to trade and work and stuff – as they arrived every year, whites always fought for their eviction because of generalized ideas of disease, filth, etc.) * aboriginals pushed to outside skirts of Vancouver C. Assisted White Immigration * more white men than women so needed to import women to create babies to have a larger white population * needed to create a scheme for British women to come to Vancouver i. Masculinity: ‘Hardy Backwoodsmen’ and Bachelor Households * didn’t want any white settlers, not gold miners because they don’t settle permanently – they wanted settler farmers – manly sons of the empire ii. Femininity: ‘Fairer Ones of a Purer Caste’ -- White Women * 1662-3-7 British white women immigration – fair ones of a purer caste * men carried out own labour in mining domestic arrangements – got away from civilization – call for women * mixed race between white men and aboriginal women to draw away from mixed interactions (women would come and seduce men away from coloured races) * women would carry out domestic household activities and become married * whole families would be given more money if already married and more with children to avoid mixed marriage * all efforts were not successful, and some men came and then didn’t carry out marriage roles * fair ones turned into hurdy-gurdy girls (sluts) – failures with immigration so a new scheme of creating the white community D. 1871: Bringing BC into the White Dominion * C
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