Vol. 39, No. 1 (2010)
Publication Date: 2010-12-15
Number of articles: 12
This article examines the culturally particular and gendered ways in which Jewish immigrant women in the garment industry negotiated their new Canadian urban environments by participating in labour protest, indicating how the site of the strike was one structured by gender and ethnicity as well as by class. Canada's urban space both facilitated immigrant women's integration into society by enabling their interaction with Canadian political and economic structures and encouraged their retention of culturally particular ways of life by providing sites and spaces for politically charged gatherings that not only reinforced these workers' ethnic traditions but also put their status as militant women on public display. These women strikers' accommodation and resistance to Canadian society was also affected by Anglo Canadians' representations of them, by shifting unionization tactics—from radical to conservative—and by social constructions of gender, ethnicity, and class.
Thousands of child Holocaust survivors arrived in Montreal, Quebec, between 1947 and 1952, looking to remake their lives, rebuild their families, and recreate their communities. Integration was not seamless. As survivors struggled to carve spaces for themselves within the established Canadian Jewish community, their difficult wartime stories were neither easily received nor understood. When remembering this period, survivors tend to speak about employment, education, dating, integration into both the pre-war Jewish community and the larger society, and, perhaps most importantly, the creation of their own social worlds within existing and new frameworks. Forged in a transitional and tumultuous period in Quebec's history, these social worlds, as this article demonstrates, are an important example of survivor agency.
This article explores the history of U.S. expatriates and draft resisters in alternative political and cultural communities within Toronto during the late 1960s and early 1970s. As such these expatriates were important players in shaping and creating new social spaces, activist politics, and alternative forms of expression generated within the city's counterculture communities and New Left movements. Aided by their class and racial privilege, many of these expatriates were able to participate in and engage the public culture of the city as few other migrants could. This ability to become part of the Toronto's alternative neighbourhoods, scenes, and intentional communities was nonetheless facilitated by the transnational connections and objectives that linked local actions with global aspirations and collaborators.
This article examines gender and ethnicity as part of the same social experience. It argues that the annual contest to crown Miss Colombo in Trail, British Columbia, during the first half of the 1970s, together with the campaign to preserve the beauty pageant after 1973, offers a unique gendered context to understand the making of ethnicity in a small city. Broadly speaking, the pageant reflected specific social, economic, spatial, and cultural changes within the local Italian experience: a strong sense of place, occupational success, movement to ethnically mixed neighbourhoods, and positive relations with non-Italians. These processes played out in a paradoxical forum of the Colombo pageant—a paternal institution that celebrated and evaluated young Italian women's bodies. Never contesting the institution itself, which carried a gendered power imbalance, Italian women—both as volunteers and contestants—worked through the pageant to promote their own interpretation of Italian belonging and to endorse a range of new possibilities for themselves. The women dramatically recast, but did not overturn, the gendered structures through which these changes took place—a pattern that points to the resiliency of paternalism in discourses of ethnic belonging.
The following article examines the changing political attitudes of Portuguese immigrants in Canada from the arrival of the first cohort in the 1950s to the emergence of the second and third generations in Canadian mainstream society in the 1990s. It explores historical factors that have influenced the political profile of Portuguese Canadians, including its predominantly working-class makeup; its lack of formal education and democratic culture resulting from Portugal's authoritarian legacy; and its internal factionalism along regional, ideological, generational, and class lines. Fernandes offers a historical critique of sociological models— "socio-economic status" and "socialization"—commonly used for measuring and explaining immigrant political participation, and stresses the importance of diachronic studies in dispelling essentialist assumptions regarding immigrant communities. The author argues that generalist notions of "political participation" and "political constituency" miss important distinctions between representative and direct forms of political action, collective mobilization and individual activism, as well as state level and grassroots politics. He claims that each of these political processes operates according to its own distinct internal dynamics, at times responsive, at other times alienated from one another, which must be analyzed using appropriate scales of observation (macro and micro).
Robert Harney was the most important influence on the history of urban ethnicity in Canada. We will examine how Harney and those who worked closely with him approached this phenomenon in the exciting period of the 1970s and 1980s. The second half of the article acknowledges the recent interest in immigrants, ethnicity, and the urban setting and suggests new avenues of research in this area.
All rights reserved © Urban History Review / Revue d'histoire urbaine, 2010