There is a pre-conceived notion that “Canada” was originally inhabited by
a “white” settler society. What precisely is the socio-historic significance leading us up to
the country we refer to as “Canada” and how it should be defined is a problematic
question. Who and what is “Canada” can indeed be intrenched with historical myths to
re-enforce the notion of a “white”, Christian dominating originally founded society. A
historical battle between European “white” settlers and aboriginal people which still
presently exists in current Canadian society. Aboriginals were considered non Christian
and not civilized thus, not evolved according to European settlers. This idea can also be
cross-referenced to other religious backgrounds as a tool of oppression. For example,
Muslim groups have been deemed a threat to Western civilization socially and culturally.
The term “Terra Nullius” is a British term formed out of British colonialism and can be
referred to as “empty lands” which claimed the land was inhabited (Demos, Lecture,
2013). Essentially, aboriginals were invisible through the “white” European settler lens as
the land was considered empty! If they were not identified as Christians then they did
not count as occupiers of the land and were simply “in the way” (Demos, Lecture, 2013).
People of colour were simply scripted as late arrivals post development of the land,
contributing to national amnesia of slavery and labour exploitation (Demos, Lecture,
2013). The latter forms the relationship between race, space and law contributing to the
idea of citizenship as problematic within Canadian society.
Modern Canada is now currently besieged crowded by “third world” refugees and
immigrants. The authors Isin & Siemiatycki of the article in question titles Making Space
for Mosques reveal what is being projected onto specific bodies or spaces with mosques
as a specific example. How does place become race, the essential goal the article
seeks to unfold and the contestation over space. Spaces are sustained to produce
unequal social relations and reproduce social hierarchies (Demos, Lecture, 2013).
Consequentially, space is not a matter of space itself, but its location and physical
attributes also plays a critical role in establishing it. Space has the tendency to produce
social imaginary’s which is a doxa or to establish hierarchies such as “good” neighbourhoods and “bad” neighbourhoods (Demos, Lecture, 2013). Therefore, we
have the tendency to form social status and class when certain neighbourhoods are
represented. For example, “sketchy” space is about “sketchy” people, it is not about the
space itself but the people who occupy it (Demos, Lecture, 2013).
A term known as mapping can also be used to illustrate the symbolic
reproduction of the space relation ideology. Mapping structures and produces relations
and is fundamentally about boundaries and borders as well promotes the idea of
hegemony and a way of knowing. To counter-act and contest the idea of mapping the
term unmapping has been coined. Unmapping has been used to undermine the myth of
white settler innocence and to uncover the practices of conquest and domination
(Demos, Lecture, 2013). Unmapping acknowledges a crucial relationship between
identity and space and contests statements in which have been perceived as “true”
(Demos, Lecture, 2013). Unmapping tries to make people visible including other groups
into the story about Canada (Demos, Lecture, 2013). In doing so we are revealing the
false racialized structure presented on the building of a nation. Unmapping claims that
once you disturb the myths and discourse then progress can be achieved.
Toronto has gone from a “white” Christian dominating society to a multiracial,