Conference Report: Recasting European and Canadian History: National Consciousness, Migration, Multicultural Lives

By Winter, Klke | Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, Summer 2000 | Go to article overview

Conference Report: Recasting European and Canadian History: National Consciousness, Migration, Multicultural Lives


Winter, Klke, Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal


**********

The conference, (1) "Recasting European and Canadian History: National Consciousness, Migration, Multicultural Lives," was organized under the auspices of the Association for Canadian Studies in German-Speaking Countries in Bremen, May 18-21, 2000. Its aim was to present an interdisciplinary approach to multicultural lifeworlds in Europe and Canada across centuries. More than sixty scholars met (1) to recast European history from the nation-centred paradigm developed in the 19th century to a long-range perspective of cultural interaction; (2) to discuss changes of ethnic composition and migration since the 1960s; and (3) to present options for multiple identities and multicultural policies in the 21st century. From the perspective of Germany, a country where long-term immigrants and their children are still perceived in terms of "foreigners," Canada's historical reconstruction from the duality of the British and the French founding nations to a multicultural self-understanding provides a model. However, keyno te speaker Dirk Hoerder warned that the opposition between "homogeneous" nation-states and "pluralistic" immigration countries is misleading. Since memories of the past are always constructed and selective, national master narratives can only be diversified by remembering individual trajectories and stories: "Emphasis on human agency and human rights with men-- and women-- made structure-processes writes the many-cultured actors back into our history."

National or Multiple Consciousness: Regions and Diasporas, Class and Gender in the Past

The first session concentrated on "The Construction of National Consciousness out of Regions, Empires, Social Groups." Fikret Adanir and Michael John outlined the dynamics of assimilation and intercultural agency in the Ottoman and the Habsburg Empires. Though the ethnic mosaic was evident, assimilationist policies assured the supremacy of the dominant groups. For the Canadian citizenship regime until 1945, however, the recognition of regional differences and identities was crucial (Jane Jenson). While place-sensitive citizenship is one of the less repressive strategies of building an overarching national consciousness, as pointed out by commentator Thomas Faist, the apparent absence of a British supra-nationalism in Canada remains intriguing.

If nation-states managed to incorporate dissimilar regions, they often excluded non-territorial peoples (Wim Willems and Leo Lucassen on Gypsies), religious minorities (Albert Lichtblau on Jews) and working-class diasporas (Adam Walaszek on Polish and Italian migrant workers, PeterLion the Chinese diaspora), as the papers presented in the second session, "People Outside and Inside," demonstrated. Albert Lichtblau's examination of the Jewish case in Austria pointed out that immigrants and peoples without a state do not only become marginalised, they constitute the nation's alter-ego. Constructed as homogeneous groups, they enable the perception of homogeneity of those included in the nation. For commentator David Feldman, this raised the question not only of the contingency of ethnic identities but also of the role of scholarship for the politics of identity.

Shifting the focus from the arbitrariness of "Who forms the nation?", the third session discussed "Exclusion by Gender and Class." Four papers demonstrated the complex relationships between gatekeepers of national boundaries and labour movements (Stefan Berger), family norms (Sarah van Walsum), sexual morality (Franca Iacovetta), and the absence of "steady families" (Adele Perry). The discussion focused on the visions of containment and contamination, i.e. specifying and localising pathological elements as a means to guarantee the ideals of purity and "law and order." Commentator Angela de Silva demonstrated that when analysing the intrusion of the state in the private realm of its subjects -- particularly of those considered alien and detrimental to the nation -- double standards for insiders and outsiders become obvious in all historical periods. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Conference Report: Recasting European and Canadian History: National Consciousness, Migration, Multicultural Lives
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    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.