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Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy

Mar 23, 2022

Between Empire and Republic

America in the Colonial Canadian Imagination

Lexington Books 2022

We don’t think of Canada as a republic. Even in its modern and vibrantly multi-cultural form, there is something monarchical about the place. The Queen appears on every coin, on the $20 bill, and pretty often in portrait form, placed over the home team’s net in hockey rinks from coast to coast. Politically, Canada’s status as a constitutional monarchy shapes a collective identity that prizes political moderation, consensus, and that strives for egalitarian values.

But there was a time when Canada might have taken a republican turn. Between 1837 and 1867 – a period bracketed by rebellion and Confederation – a group of writers debated the virtues of American-style republican government versus British constitutional monarchy. In these discussions, American culture and political institutions were a dominant frame of reference.

In Between Empire and Republic: America in the Colonial Canadian Imagination (Lexington, 2022), Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy employs three Anglophone authors – John Richardson, Susanna Moodie and Thomas Chandler Haliburton - as a lens that helps us to understand a period of possible political futures as states formed in the wake of revolution, and Canada defined itself in contrast to its southern neighbor.

About the author: Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy is Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Global & Intercultural Studies at Miami University (Ohio).

See also: “Canada has long feared the chaos of US Politics”, The Conversation (8 March 2022)

About the host: Charles Prior is Head of the School of Humanities and Reader in History at the University of Hull (UK). He co-leads the Treatied Spaces Research Group.

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Charles Prior

Charles Prior is Head of the School of Humanities & Reader in History at the University of Hull, where he co-leads the Treatied Spaces Research Group. His latest publication is Settlers in Indian Country.

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