Table des matières


1 Narrating the North: Sojourning Women and Travel Writing

2 The Beaver: Northern Indigenous Life in Popular Education

3 North of Schamattawa: “Indians,” “Eskimos,” and RCMP

4 NFB Documentary, Indigenous Peoples, and Canadian Northern Policy

5 Irene Baird’s Northern Journeys

6 “Mrs. Bird Flies North”: The Royal Commission on the Status of Women in the North


Notes; Bibliography; Index

Explores how the “modern” South crafted cultural images of a “primitive” North that reflected its own preconceived notions and social, political, and economic interests.

La description

Joan Sangster is a historian who teaches gender and women’s studies at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she has held visiting fellowships at McGill, Duke, and Princeton universities.

In an enlightening exposure of Canada’s cultural landscape, The Iconic North lays bare the relationship between settler nation building and popular images of Aboriginal experience. Resilient ideological assumptions, shifting economic priorities, and government policy in the postwar era influenced how northern culture was represented in popular Canadian imagery. Joan Sangster redirects the debates about the geopolitical prospects of the North by addressing how women and gender relations have played a key role in the history of northern development. She reveals how assumptions about both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women shaped gender, class, and political relationships in the circumpolar north.


  • Winner, CLIO Prize for The North, Canadian Historical Association 2018


The Iconic North brings fresh insight and evidence of what these images tell us about how post-war Canada saw the North: as its own colonial other.

- Renee Hulan

What makes Joan Sangster’s The Iconic North stand out is the way she links so many cultural forms – television and film, novels, periodicals, report and travel writing – with the political economy of northern development in post-war Canada. Though Sangster’s reading of these works is skillful, this is not a study in discourse analysis. Rather it is a richly contextualized interpretation that makes clear how cultural constructions of the North served to legitimate, justify, and explain internal colonialism.

- Mary-Ellen Kelm, Simon Fraser University

“Sangster … is not the first to focus on the North and its place in the Canadian identity, but her effort must be celebrated because it is so candid. ” Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students and up.

- J. S. Krysiek, Gettysburg College

Few authors possess the skill to take an everyday image and turn it just slightly, in Twilight Zone fashion, to reveal a startling and intriguing truth. Professor Joan Sangster of Trent University does just that in The Iconic North. To read Sangster’s account is to question every common media depiction of the Arctic.

- Holly Doan

This book fills an important gap in the field of Canadian cultural history.

- Robyn Schwarz, Western University