Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Search for a New National Identity: The Rise of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s–1970s

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Search for a New National Identity: The Rise of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s–1970s

Article excerpt

Political and social sciences Jatinder Mann, The Search for a New National Identity: The Rise of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s-1970s (New York: Peter Lang, 2016), 339 pp. Cased. $96.95 ISBN 978-1-4331-3369-5.

Jatinder Mann's The Search for a New National Identity: The Rise of Multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, 1890s-1970s is an extensively researched and convincing intervention in the rapidly expanding field of comparative studies of Britain's former settler-colonies. The book weaves together the slow demise of 'Britishness', or more specifically a British race identity, with the evolving immigration policies in Canada and Australia. Mann charts the evolution from migration policies of assimilation, to integration, and finally multiculturalism in Canada and Australia, while exploring the gradually expunged racial bar which had epitomised their initial stance on migration.

This is an ambitious work, covering a span of almost a century and maintaining its focus on the two strands of national identity and immigration policy. Rather than a purely thematic approach, it tackles the comparative angle through two separate sections on Canada and Australia. The reasons for this soon become apparent - although the stories of the two countries have remarkable similarities, underlining the need for comparative approaches within British World Studies and, more broadly, Settler-Colonial Studies, the individual evolution of each country needs to be understood for effective comparison. This is demonstrated nowhere more clearly than in the sections on Quebec. Canada's nation-within-a-nation is essential to explaining the shifts of position on national identity even within English-speaking Canada, a fundamental difference to Australia. These two sections are brought together in a succinct comparative overview in part III. …

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