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Recollecting

Carter, SarahMcCormack, Patricia A (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press | The West Unbound: Social and Cultural Studies


This rich collection of essays illuminates the lives of late-eighteenth-century to mid-twentieth-century Aboriginal women, women who have been overlooked in sweeping narratives of the history of the West.

Some essays focus on individuals—a trader, a performer, a non-human woman. Other essays examine cohorts of women—wives, midwives, seamstresses, nuns. Authors look beyond the documentary record and standard representations of women, drawing on records generated by the women themselves, including their beadwork, other material culture, and oral histories. Exploring the constraints and boundaries these women encountered, the authors engage with difficult and important questions of gender, race, and identity. Collectively these essays demonstrate the complexity of "contact zone" interactions, and they enrich and challenge dominant narratives about histories of the Canadian Northwest.

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“More than emphasizing an active role for Aboriginal women in history, Atkinson, Barman, and their fellow contributors offer highly readable biographies showcasing hybridity, resiliency, contradictory historical experiences, and, above all, the diversity of Aboriginal women’s identities.”

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"An exciting new collection that spans over 200 years of Canadian history…. The central themes are primarily the negotiation of fluid identities within a changing and dynamic context and the importance of looking beyond the archive to recover what, the authors argue, lies beyond the colonizing gaze. […] Recollecting provides a thoroughly readable trove of information and includes some useful illustrations of many of the individuals and of some of the handiwork under discussion. The well-researched articles as a whole, remind us as researchers to seek diligently to capture voices present in objects, in stories, and in recollections not found in any traditional textual archive.”

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“The fact that the best essays rely not on journals or books written by women (which would thus make them elite and somewhat unusual) but on varied sources that discuss them or that they left behind, such as dictated reminiscences, makes these articles more thought-provoking and impressive. Even when the book focuses on more famous representatives, such as Catherine Auger, Frances Nickawa, or Anahareo, the essays present them as multidimensional figures who changed over time and embraced and rejected cultural norms.”

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“This collection’s introduction and twelve articles can quite rightly be seen as one grand recovery mission, a giant step toward increasing dramatically the complexity of western/colonial history through the lives of Aboriginal women.”

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“Sarah Carter and Patricia McCormack unsettle the dominant, white-settler narrative of Canadian history while also contributing in a unique way to the genre of women's historical biography.”

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Sarah Carter is Professor and Henry Marshall Tory Chair in both the Department of History and Classics and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Her most recent books are The Importance of Being Monogamous: Marriage and Nation Building in Western Canada and Montana Women Homesteaders: A Field of One’s Own.

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Patricia A. McCormack is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on Aboriginal peoples of the northwestern Plains, northern Canada, and Scotland, in the contexts of the fur trade and the expansion of state. She has published extensively about Fort Chipewyan, including a new book to be published shortly by UBC Press.

 
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