Rethinking the Great White North

Race, Nature, and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness in Canada

Table des matières

Introduction: Where Is the Great White North? Spatializing History, Historicizing Whiteness / Andrew Baldwin, Laura Cameron, and Audrey Kobayashi

Part 1: Identity and Knowledge

1 “A Phantasy in White in a World That Is Dead”: Grey Owl and the Whiteness of Surrogacy / Bruce Erickson

2 Indigenous Knowledge and the History of Science, Race, and Colonial Authority in Northern Canada / Stephen Bocking

3 Cap Rouge Remembered? Whiteness, Scenery, and Memory in Cape Breton Highlands National Park / Catriona Sandilands

Part 2: City Spaces

4 The “Occult Relation between Man and the Vegetable”: Transcendentalism, Immigrants, and Park Planning in Toronto, c. 1900 / Phillip Gordon Mackintosh

5 SARS and Service Work: Infectious Disease and Racialization in Toronto / Claire Major and Roger Keil

6 Shimmering White Kelowna and the Examination of Painless White Privilege in the Hinterland of British Columbia / Luis L. M. Aguiar and Tina I. L. Marten

Part 3: Arctic Journeys

7 Inscription, Innocence, and Invisibility: Early Contributions to the Discursive Formation of the North in Samuel Hearne’s A Journey to the Northern Ocean / Richard Milligan and Tyler McCreary

8 Copper Stories: Imaginative Geographies and Material Orderings of the Central Canadian Arctic / Emilie Cameron

Part 4: Native Land

9 Temagami’s Tangled Wild: The Making of Race, Nature, and Nation in Early-Twentieth-Century Ontario / Jocelyn Thorpe

10 Resolving “the Indian Land Question”? Racial Rule and Reconciliation in British Columbia / Brian Egan

11 Changing Land Tenure, Defining Subjects: Neo-Liberalism and Property Regimes on Native Reserves / Jessica Dempsey, Kevin Gould, and Juanita Sundberg


Extremity: Theorizing from the Margins / Kay Anderson

Colonization: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly / Sherene H. Razack




A path-breaking exploration of racism in Canada and its deep-rooted ties to notions of nature and the North.

La description

Canadian national identity is bound to the idea of a Great White North. Images of snow, wilderness, and emptiness seem innocent, yet this path-breaking book reveals they contain the seeds of racism. Informed by the insight that racism is geographical as well as historical and cultural, the contributors trace how notions of race, whiteness, and nature helped construct a white country in travel writing and treaty making; scientific research and park planning; and in towns, cities, and tourist centres. Rethinking the Great White North offers a new vocabulary for contemporary debates on Canada’s role in the North and the meaning of the nation.


Is the issue race or whiteness? Nature or wilderness? The best papers in this collection engage the tensions between key concepts, offering not only theoretically engaged analyses of the Canadian situation but also seeking to advance conceptual understanding of race or whiteness and nature or wilderness.

- Shannon Stunden Bower, University of Alberta

Innovative. ..the book is also particularly stimulating in its attempt to read urban geographies against and/or as part of Canada's constitutive interaction with “nature. ”

- Bruno Cornellier, Centre for Globalization and Cultural Studies, University of Manitoba