Recognition and repentance in Canadian multicultural heritage: The Community Historical Recognition Program and Italian Canadian memorializing

Caitlin Gordon-Walker, Analays Alvarez Hernandez, Susan Ashley

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Abstract

In this article, we examine the multiculturalization of Canadian heritage, and, in particular, the shift to a politics of repentance which that has emerged in the past few decades, recognizing specific instances of violence and exclusion that occurred in the nation’s past. Understood in relation to a duty to remember (devoir de mémoire) and a growing global discourse of reconciliation, as well as locally specific demands for redress, this shift has occurred through a convergence of institutional and grassroots activities, and it is exemplified by the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP). To explore the implications of this shift, we analyze heritage projects, including both CHRP-funded and independently developed exhibitions and memorials, created in recognition of the discrimination and internment experienced by Italian Canadians during the Second World War. While these can be read as institutionalizing traumatic memories and promoting a legitimizing narrative of the Canadian settler nation-state, they also serve to enable communities to inscribe their own narratives in Canadian history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-107
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Canadian Studies/Revue d'etudes canadiennes
Volume52
Issue number1
Early online date6 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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