Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

[Capturing Women: The Manipulation of Cultural Imagery in Canada's Prairie West]

Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

[Capturing Women: The Manipulation of Cultural Imagery in Canada's Prairie West]

Article excerpt

Sarah A. Carter

Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997; 248 pp.

Reviewed by Adele Perry

Department of History

University of Manitoba

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sarah Carter's Capturing Women: The Manipulation of Cultural Imagery in Canada's Prairie West probes the relationship between gender and race in the territories that would become Saskatchewan and Alberta during the last decades of the nineteenth century. The title of this book, like its subject matter, operates on a number of levels. As a study of the captivity narratives, Capturing Women reveals that few white women were captured in any literal sense. As a study of cultural representations, Capturing Women demonstrates what little the dominant images of First Nations women captured about them. Ironically, the title most aptly reflects the scholarly significance of Carter's work, in that Capturing Women captures some important new trends in feminist scholarship and brings them to the study of Western Canada.

The first chapter locates Carter's study within the literatures of gender and colonialism, regional history, and captivity narratives -- those popular tales of white people abducated by Indigenous North Americans. It is these analytic tools that are put to work in the substantial middle of Carter's work -- a three-chapter exploration of gender and captivity narratives in the Prairie West. She first probes the stories of Theresa Delaney and Theresa Gowanlock, two white women "captured" by Cree and Metis in the wake of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. Carter argues that popular discourse used the supposed vulnerability of the white women to justify the political repression of First Nations people. Capturing Women builds on this argument by exploring how Delaney and Gowanlock themselves retold and revised the tales of their captivity. Such stories, Carter argues, retained their political utility long after the Rebellion and continued to reinforce the "need for a racially stratified and divided society" (p. 136).

The final chapter caps the monograph by analyzing how First Nations women were constructed as "dissolute, dangerous, and sinister, in comparison to their fragile and vulnerable pure-white counterparts" (p. 159). Capturing Women argues that the prevailing images of white and Aboriginal women, much like captivity narratives, have proved enduring ones that continue to shape the Prairie West. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.