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Picturing an experience of the past : the case of Canada : a people's history

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Picturing an experience of the past : the case of Canada : a people's history

Brook, Glenn Leonard (2009) Picturing an experience of the past : the case of Canada : a people's history. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Visual media dominate our daily experience. Still and moving images provide news, entertainment, and the means by which we shape our identity and then display that self-image to others. These acts of visual broadcasting leave a network of traces that allow us to remember what has happened, where we have been, and how we are. The malleability of the archival record also allows the past to be reworked in the service of the present. This dissertation examines how archival and contemporary visual materials are used both to stimulate and to structure memory. My subject is the English version of the 2000-0 I Canadian Broadcasting Corporation televised documentary on the history of Canada, entitled Canada: A People's History ( C:APH ). The series comprises seventeen episodes, begins with North American pre-history, and finishes with the early 1990s. C:APH uses journals, diaries, and letters to present history from the perspective of those who lived it. Reenactments, paintings, sketches, photographs, and archival film and video footage support the textual material. Canada: A People's History emerged when Canada faced increasing social diversification, political unrest, and communication technologies that introduced an increasing level of foreign cultural content. These issues contributed to the fear that a shared sense of Canadian identity was at risk. The hypothesis of this dissertation is that with C:APH , an idealized recreation of historical national progress mitigates the anxiety of a modern Canada for its future. Canada: A People's History does this by reflecting the lives of contemporary global migrants in a story of Canada as a nation built by dispossessed peoples struggling to find a renewed sense of home and belonging. C:APH emphasizes the sense of belonging and attachment in its picture of Canada by utilizing a personal and a familial point of view. The first chapter details the context and content of C:APH . Chapter Two explains why images can attract our imagination and how the series expresses "Canadian-ness." Chapter Three elucidates the personal and familial nature of this visual history. Chapter Four shows how Canada: A People's History depicts the experience of traveling through history to a utopian national future.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Brook, Glenn Leonard
Pagination:viii, 401 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Art History
Date:2009
Thesis Supervisor(s):Foss, B
ID Code:976458
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:26
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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