Cover image for Capturing women : the manipulation of cultural imagery in Canada's prairie west
Title:
Capturing women : the manipulation of cultural imagery in Canada's prairie west
Author:
Carter, Sarah.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Montreal ; London ; Buffalo : McGill-Queen's University Press, [1997]

©1997
Physical Description:
xviii, 247 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 23 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780773516557

9780773516564
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library HQ1459.P6 C377 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

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.


Summary

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.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

Carter's study is a highly readable and lavishly illustrated addition to the literature on cultural representation; it fills a particular gap in the history of relations between aboriginal and Euro-North American people in Canada. Focusing on the post-1870 Canadian prairie west, Carter documents the projection of images of "white" and aboriginal women and men in historical and news media texts. She reveals numerous errors (both intentional and inadvertent) in newspaper portrayals of "captured" "white" women, "Indian" and Metis women, and men. The historical texts and illustrations are cited and reproduced extensively, allowing the reader to observe the ways in which the record was created, revised, and re-created. Some "captive" women were not captives at all. In other cases, captive "white" women were portrayed as having been treated both well and badly, in successively revised accounts (e.g., of the treatment by Cree people of Theresa Gowanlock and Theresa Delaney). Carter makes a strong case for the conclusion that some of the accounts in newspapers and books were entirely fictional (e.g., a series of captivity hoaxes). This otherwise excellent work needs a more fully developed concluding chapter. All levels. V. Alia; Western Washington University


Choice Review

Carter's study is a highly readable and lavishly illustrated addition to the literature on cultural representation; it fills a particular gap in the history of relations between aboriginal and Euro-North American people in Canada. Focusing on the post-1870 Canadian prairie west, Carter documents the projection of images of "white" and aboriginal women and men in historical and news media texts. She reveals numerous errors (both intentional and inadvertent) in newspaper portrayals of "captured" "white" women, "Indian" and Metis women, and men. The historical texts and illustrations are cited and reproduced extensively, allowing the reader to observe the ways in which the record was created, revised, and re-created. Some "captive" women were not captives at all. In other cases, captive "white" women were portrayed as having been treated both well and badly, in successively revised accounts (e.g., of the treatment by Cree people of Theresa Gowanlock and Theresa Delaney). Carter makes a strong case for the conclusion that some of the accounts in newspapers and books were entirely fictional (e.g., a series of captivity hoaxes). This otherwise excellent work needs a more fully developed concluding chapter. All levels. V. Alia; Western Washington University


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