Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Migration and Empire

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Migration and Empire

Article excerpt

Marjory Harper and Stephen Constantine, Migration and Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). 400 pp. Cased. £35. ISBN 978-0-19-925093-6.

In the latest volume in the Oxford History of the British Empire, Marjory Harper and Stephen Constantine compare the 'motives, means, and experiences' of peoples who migrated throughout the vast expanses of the British Empire in the nineteenth century. The book specifically examines the context of UK migration into Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and explores its impact on the development of the Empire. It also explores migration into the United Kingdom, especially from the 'New Commonwealth', after the Second World War, a phenomenon often overlooked within the migration context. Throughout, themes such as the business of passage, government recruitment, juvenile and female migration are explored.

Considering Canada (and Newfoundland) specifically, this book offers a solid overview of migration into that country and does a scholarly job profiling the regional complexities of settlement. Canada 'was an extension politically' of the British world, the authors argue, but for that also to be 'effected culturally depended on the inward movement of UK migrants' (p. 40). The book offers a regional assessment of this movement and resists the temptation to view Canada strictly from the lens of Upper Canada and Quebec.

Migration and Empire also employs empirical evidence to dispel some entrenched myths of Canadian settlement. For instance, although Canada has a discernible Highland Scottish character, Harper and Constantine illustrate that not only were the Irish a more numerous representation of Celtic heritage in the country, but also lowland Scots vastly outnumbered their highland countrymen. …

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