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Title: Canadian Picture Books: Shaping and Reflecting National Identity
Contributor(s): Bainbridge, Joyce (author); Wolodko, Brenda  (author)
Publication Date: 2002
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Abstract: A nation's literature has traditionally been seen as a reflection of the values, tensions, myths, and psychology that identify a national character. Benedict Anderson defines a nation as "an imagined community." He maintains that the members of a nation never know each other, meet each other, or hear each other, yet they hold in common an image of who they are as individuals in community with each other. Undoubtedly, one of the building blocks of national identity is literature. Sarah Corse writes that literature is "an integral part of the process by which nation-states create themselves and distinguish themselves from other nations." She then makes the case that national literatures not only reflect a nation's unique identity, but also play an active role in shaping that identity. A strong Canadian national identity has only recently developed. Until the mid-twentieth century, Canadian identity was seen as an amalgam of blurred French, British, and American values and cultures. The mutual distrust present between the French-speaking and English-speaking cultures created a tension in Canada that has lasted from the eighteenth century to the present. Both French and English nationalists, according to Ramsay Cook, reject "the validity of the concept of political nationhood and cultural duality which has been central to the Canadian experience." They do not believe that a culturally divided community can produce a common national identity.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature, 40(2), p. 21-27
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1918-6983
Field of Research (FOR): 130103 Higher Education
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 930202 Teacher and Instructor Development
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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