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Capturing Women

The Manipulation of Cultural Imagery in Canada's Prairie West

by (author) Sarah Carter

Publisher
McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Nov 1997
Category
  • Hardback

    ISBN
    9780773516557
    Publish Date
    Nov 1997
    List Price
    $95.00
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9780773516564
    Publish Date
    Oct 1997
    List Price
    $29.95

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Description

Consisting of a Series of stories, events, and episodes, the book highlights shifting patterns, attitudes, and perspectives toward women in the Prairies. One of Carter's overarching themes is that women are seldom in a position to invent or project their own images, identities, or ideas of themselves, nor are they free to fully author their own texts. Focusing on captivity narratives, a popular genre in the United States that has received little attention in Canada, Carter looks at depictions of white women as victims of Aboriginal aggressors and explores the veracity of a number of accounts, including those of Fanny Kelly and Big Bear captives Theresa Delaney and Theresa Gowanlock, Canada's most famous captives. Carter also examines depictions of Aboriginal women as sinister and dangerous that appeared in the press as well as in government and some missionary publications. These representations of women, and the race and gender hierarchies created by them, endured in the Canadian West long after the last decades of the nineteenth century. Capturing Women fits into a growing body of literature on the question of women, race, and imperialism. Carter adopts a colonial framework, arguing that while the Prairies do not readily conjure up the powerful images of Empire, fundamental features of colonialism are clearly present in the extension of the power of the Canadian state and the maintenance of sharp social, economic, and spatial distinctions between the dominant and subordinate populations. She highlights similarities between images of women on the Prairies and symbols of women in other colonial cultures, such as the memsahib in Britain and the Indian captive in the United States.

About the author

Sarah Carter, F.R.S.C., is H.M. Tory Chair and Professor in the Department of History and Classics, and Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She is a specialist in the history of Western Canada and is the author of Aboriginal People and Colonizers of Western Canada to 1900, Capturing Women, and Lost Harvests. Sarah Carter was awarded the Jensen-Miller Prize by the Coalition for Women's History for the best article published in 2006 in the field of women and gender in the trans-Mississippi West.

Sarah Carter's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Carter's account of captivity incidents used for political purposes will interest anyone curious about the development of white-Native relations in Canada." Robert Fulford, Globe and Mail columnist "Capturing Women is an intriguing and well-researched account of attitudes toward women and race in the Canadian Prairies at the end of the nineteenth century. Making use of published captivity narratives and unpublished archival sources, Carter provides some tantalizing glimpses into attitudes toward race and gender and has also provided insight into prairie social history." Kerry Abel, Department of History, Carleton University

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