Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

English

Supervisor

Dr. D.M.R. Bentley

Abstract

Early Canadian cultural history is punctuated by a series of battlefields that define not only the Dominion’s expanding territory and changing administration, but also organize Canadian time. This dissertation examines the intersection between official military commemoration, militarism as a social and cultural form, and the creation of a national literature, with specific reference to poetry. By outlining the role war has played in defining Canada’s territory and the constitution of its communities, this dissertation will also uncover both the military history of the post-colonial nation, and the construction of belonging and territory in the “empire” of Canada, from its cultural origins at Quebec, the consolidation of its southern borders during the War of 1812, its claims on a white settler west during the Métis Resistance of 1885, and finally the invention of an international military identity on Vimy Ridge.

War is cultural practice as well as political action and a traumatic dislocation, and the cultural history of war extends far beyond combat to inform both the civilian and the soldier, despite the distinctions we might make between the battlefield and the home front. Drawing on theorists of militarism and memory, as well as critics of Canadian cultural history, this dissertation seeks to reveal the underlying structures that govern not only military commemoration in Canada, but also the kind of space such military epistemologies produce, whether through memorials themselves, or through the geographic and literary legacies of a history punctuated by battlefields.

Available for download on Sunday, December 31, 2017


Share

COinS