Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Book Notes: new takes on confederation


University of Toronto Press has a couple of (Canada150 inspired?) publications on Canadian confederation out recently. 

Globalizing Confederation: Canada and the World in 1867 , edited by Jacqueline Krikorian, Marcel Martel, and Adrian Shubert, grew out of a York University conference in 2016, at which a lot of foreign scholars were invited to present research on how Canadian confederation was perceived in their countries in the 1860s.  I covered some of their findings in a Canada's History article last summer:
A South American scholar reported on the Rio de Janeiro journalist of 1867 who was excited to see Canada assuming “the character of a great independent state” -- just what he hoped for in Brazil. A student of Italian history described Vatican diplomats eagerly discussing how Canada’s affirmation of the rights of the Catholic province of Quebec might become a beacon for Catholics in non-Catholic countries. One Spanish scholar described how the progressive forces in 1860s Spain who advocated provincial autonomy for Catalonia and other regions were nicknamed “Canadians.” Another examined the Cuban journalists and intellectuals who found inspiration in Canada’s confederation for their own campaign for self-government within Spain’s empire.

From Austria, another professor considered the lessons Canada’s French-English accommodation could offer to the Empire of Austria-Hungary, then struggling to reconcile its German-speaking and Magyar-speaking communities and its restive Slavic minorities....
All together the volume is an impressive and fresh take on a subject too often give a parochial Ottawa/Westminster reading by (us) Canadianists.

UTP's other confederation title is actually two volumes. Roads to Confederation: The Making of Canada, 1867,  volumes 1 and 2, edited by Jacqueline D. Krikorian, David R. Cameron, Marcel Martel, Andrew W. McDougall, and Robert C. Vipond, is a historical compendium of many previously published essays and articles on confederation.

It offers itself as "definitive scholarship on the ideational underpinnings of the making of Canada."  I have to note, however, that the editors had planned to include "If Brother Andr√© went to Parliament Hill" from my 1867: How the Fathers Made a Deal, but when they found they would have to pay a rights fee, they dropped it. I don't know if other items met this fate, but I got the distinct impression this may be all the confederation scholarship available cheap, rather than all the confederation scholarship.

Fortunately 1867 remains available in paperback and ebook formats, and in libraries everywhere.
 
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