Exhibiting Canada: empire, migration and the 1928 English schoolgirl tour

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Abstract:

This article examines an event in 1928 where the interests of post-war British colonialism and those of a group of pro-British Anglo-Celtic Canadians came together in a tour of English schoolgirls through Canada. A focus on the schoolgirls themselves shows how the girls were positioned to transmit an image of Canada to Britain, while themselves being on display so as to set an example to which Canadians should aspire. The tour itinerary itself constructs a narrative of superior British-based culture, economy and politics within a resource-rich, technologically advanced, democratic Canadian nation. Itineraries and diary entries, as well as the memories of two tour members, are used to reconstruct and interpret the tour. In both its itinerary and subjects, the tour of English schoolgirls can be read as a vivid geographical enactment of colonial identity that reveals fresh insights about the workings of gender, migration and empire.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09663690024870

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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