Settler Feminism and Race Making in Canadaengages in a discursive analysis of three 'texts' - the narratives of Anna Jameson (Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada), Theresa Gowanlock and Theresa Delaney (Two Months in the Camp of Big Bear), and the 'Janey Canuck' books of Emily Murphy - in order to examine how, in the context of a settler colony, white women have been part of the project of its governance, its racial constitution, and its role in British imperialism. Using Foucauldian theories of governmentality to connect these first-person narratives to wider strategies of race making, Jennifer Henderson develops a feminist critique of the ostensible freedom that Anglo-Protestant women found within nineteenth-century liberal projects of rule.
Henderson's interdisciplinary approach - including critical studies in law, literature, and political history - offers a new perspective on these women that detaches them from the dominant colony-to-nation narrative and shows their importance in a tradition of moral regulation. This project not only redresses problems in Canadian literary history, it also responds to the limits of postcolonial, nationalist, and feminist projects that search for authentic voices and resistant agency without sufficient attention to the layers of historical sedimentation through which these voices speak.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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