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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $21.95

Paperback 512 pp.
131 b/w photographs and illustrations, 6" x 9"



Publication date:
January 2011

Imprint: OUP Canada

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A History of Canadian Culture

Jonathan F. Vance

From Dorset sculpture to the Barenaked Ladies, award-winning historian Jonathan F. Vance reveals a storyteller's ear for narrative.

In a country this diverse, 'culture' has different meanings. Vance tells a story from the wind-swept Arctic where a stranded Innu woman, fighting to survive, took the time to decorate her clothing with rich designs. A British explorer was amazed at her efforts, but Vance reminds us of the inseparable connection between life and art in Inuit culture (the Innu word for 'breathe' also means 'to make poetry,' and both derive from the word for 'the soul'). No surprise that Aboriginal culture began to change irrevocably with the arrival of more Europeans (who brought their own ideas about culture). But that is another tale in Vance's fascinating History.

Vance considers a range of key topics. Where, for example, is the divide between 'culture' and mass entertainment? He also considers how the hot-button issues of Canadian culture - government funding for the arts, the cultural brain drain, the drive to preserve distinctly Canadian forms of expression, concerns over copyright protection, the economic impact of cultural industries - can be traced back to previous centuries. And he shines new light on other key areas, such as the unique culture of Quebec and the CBC.

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Readership : This book will be read by general readers interested in Canadian history, Canadian arts, Canadian literature, and Canadian culture, as well as those interested in US-Canadian and European-Canadian relations. Canadian Studies departments overseas will also be interested in Vance's survey of the country's cultural heritage.

1. The First Artists
2. The Meeting and Mingling of Cultures
3. Colonial Societies
4. Common Showmen and Mountebanks
5. Culture on the Frontier
6. The Dream of Useful Knowledge
7. 'Streaks on the Horizon'
8. Importing Culture
9. Exporting Culture
10. The First World War
11. The New Parliament of Art
12. Patron Saints of Culture
13. The Second World War
14. Government Patronage
15. The Cultural Flowering
16. The Regulatory State
17. Towards the Future
Picture Acknowledgements

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Jonathan F. Vance holds the Canada Research Chair in Conflict and Culture in the Department of History at The University of Western Ontario. His books include Unlikely Soldiers: How Two Canadians Fought the Secret War Against Nazi Occupation (2008), Building Canada: People and Projects that Shaped the Nation (2006), and High Flight: Aviation and the Canadian Imagination (2002). His 1997 monograph Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning, and the First World War won the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, the C. P. Stacey Award, and the Dafoe Book Prize.

The Oxford Companion to Canadian History - Edited by Gerald Hallowell
The Peoples of Canada - J. M. Bumsted
Labouring Canada - Edited by Brian D. Palmer and Joan Sangster
Atlantic Canada - Margaret Conrad and James K. Hiller
Rethinking Canada - Edited by Mona Gleason and Adele Perry
A Concise History of Canada's First Nations - Olive Patricia Dickason and adapted by Moira Calder
Maple Leaf Empire - Jonathan F. Vance

Special Features

  • Shortlisted for the 2009 Pierre Burton Award, an annual prize that celebrates those who have brought Canadian history to a wider audience
  • Maclean's bestseller list, 2009
  • Globe and Mail 100 Best Books of 2009
  • Award-winning author is the recipient of the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, the C. P. Stacey Award, and the Dafoe Book Prize