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"Take it away, youth" : visions of Canadian identity in British Columbia social studies textbooks, 1925-1989

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Title: "Take it away, youth" : visions of Canadian identity in British Columbia social studies textbooks, 1925-1989
Author: Clark, Penney Irene
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Education
Copyright Date: 1995
Abstract: Textbooks are a "cultural artifact" in that they are developed and approved for use . in schools within particular sociocultural and educational contexts. As such, they offer a glimpse of those contexts. This study examined 169 social.studies textbooks approved for use in the schools of British Columbia following three educational turning points: the 1925 Putman-Weir Report, the 1960 Chant Report, and the 1970 establishment of the Canada Studies Foundation. The textbooks were examined to ascertain the views of Canadian; identity which they conveyed and how those views were redefined over time. In the Putman-Weir era, Canadian identity involved a sense of increasing independence within an enveloping allegiance to Great Britain and its empire. Textbooks encouraged the adoption of characteristics of good citizenship such as loyalty to country and empire, through the use of heroic figures. The concept of Canadian identity was both inclusive and exclusive; It was a gendered concept, excluding women. It was inclusive of most immigrants because they were needed to people the land. It was exclusive of Oriental inirnigrants because they were viewed as unable to assimilate. It also excluded Native people, who were seen as being unable to contribute to national progress. In the Chant era, Canada's independence from Great Britain began to be taken for granted. Textbooks were more concerned with Canada's relationship to the United States and its role on the world stage. Textbook authors saw a thriving anti-Americanism as an important part of what made Canadians Canadian. "Canadianness" included women only in peripheral roles. Immigrants, other than Oriental, received a joyous welcome in these texts. These "new Canadians" were expected to contribute to the ongoing tide of progress in which Canadians were engaged. A negative tone pervaded discussion of Native peoples. The Canada Studies era was characterized by two dominant movements. These were promotion of Canadian nationhood and a greater inclusiveness. Ironically, pride in Canada, as well as optimism for its future, was less evident in the Canada Studies era texts. Inclusion was the watchword of this era.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/6294
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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