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Depicting Canada’s Children

Edited by Loren Lerner
Subjects Art, Cultural Studies, Social Science, Child Studies
Series Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada Hide Details
Hardcover : 9781554580507, 468 pages, May 2009
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781554587292, 468 pages, April 2011
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554582853, 468 pages, May 2009

Table of contents

Table of Contents for Depicting Canada’s Children, edited by Loren Lerner
List of Illustrations
Introduction | Loren Lerner
Symbol and Reality
Iconography of the Child in Early Quebec Art | François-Marc Gagnon
Shaping Modern Boyhood: Indian Lore, Child Psychology, and the Cultural Landscape of Camp Ahmek | Abigail A. Van Slyck
Haunted: First Nations Children in Residential School Photography | Sherry Farrell Racette
A Land of Youth: Nationhood and the Image of the Child in the National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division | Carol Payne
Mapping a Canadian Girlhood Historically through Dolls and Doll-Play | Jacqueline Reid-Walsh and Claudia Mitchell
Others and Outsiders
The Raw Materials of Empire Building: Depicting Canada’s Home Children | Alena M. Buis
Immigrants, Labourers, “Others”: Canada’s Home Children | Margaret McNay
Re-Visioning the Girl’s Narrative for the 1980s: The Case of “Jack of Hearts” and Its Film Adaptation | Elspeth Tulloch
Locating Children in the Discourse of Squeegee Kids | Derek Foster
A Child’s Place in Ottawa’s Commemorative Landscape | Susan Hart
Subjects of Care
Frocks and Bangles: The Photographic Conversion of Two Indian Girls | Sharon Murray
Pictures of Health: Sick Kids Exposed | Annmarie Adams, Patricia McKeever, and David Theodore
Healthy Bodies, Strong Citizens: Okanagan Children’s Drawings and the Canadian Junior Red Cross | Andrea N. Walsh
Children and School Interiors: The User-Material Culture-Environment Nexus in Late Nineteenth-Century Toronto | Kai Wood Mah
Inner Visions
George Reid’s Paintings as Narratives of a Child Nation | Loren Lerner
James Wilson Morrice’s Return from School: A Modernist Image of Quebec Children | Sandra Paikowsky
Something Resembling Childhood: Artworks by Jack Chambers, Daniel Barrow, and Rodney Graham | Johanne Sloan
The Child in Me: A Figure of Photographic Creation | Martha Langford
Paterson Ewen’s Portrait of Vincent | Monique Westra
Annmarie Adams is William C. Macdonald Professor and Associate Director, Post-professional Programs, at the School of Architecture, McGill University. She is the author of Architecture in the Family Way: Doctors, Houses, and Women, 1870–1900 (1996) and The Architect and the Modern Hospital, 1893–1943 (2008), and co-author of Designing Women: Gender and the Architectural Profession (2000).
Alena M. Buis received an M.A. in Canadian art history from Concordia University. Using an interdisciplinary approach, her studies focused on depictions of labour and visual representations of Canadian national identities. Now pursuing doctoral studies at Queen's University, her research interests include early modern collecting practices, patterns of trade and exchange, and the role of women in the Netherlandish art market.
Sherry Farrell Racette is an associate professor of art history at Concordia University. She is a member of Timiskaming First Nation and has taught extensively in Aboriginal education, Native Studies, and Indigenous art. An interdisciplinary scholar with an active arts practice, Farrell Racette received an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba in 2004. Her publications include Clearing a Path: New Ways of Seeing Traditional Indigenous Art (with Carmen Robertson, 2009), “Sewing for a Living: The Commodification of Métis Women’s Artistic Production”, in Contact Zones: Aboriginal and Settler Women in Canada’s Colonial Past (2005), and “Métis Man or Canadian Icon: Who Owns Louis Riel?” in Rielisms (2001).
Derek Foster is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film, at Brock University. His doctoral dissertation (Carleton University, School of Journalism and Communication, 2004) studied the evolution of squeegeeing as a controversial social issue through the lens of rhetorical theory. His current research focuses on the use of visual rhetoric in the public sphere and contesting discourses surrounding reality television.
François-Marc Gagnon is chair and director of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art at Concordia University, professor emeritus at the Université de Montréal, and a member of the Order of Canada since 1999. He has published extensively in the field of Canadian art history. His book on Paul-Émile Borduas was awarded the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction in 1978; his book on the automatist movement in Quebec received the Raymond Klibansky Prize in 1999.
Susan Hart earned her Ph.D. in art history at Concordia University, where she also completed her M.A. in art history. Hart’s Ph.D. dissertation addresses notions of Canadian identity as constructed by commemorative monuments on Confederation Boulevard in Ottawa.
Martha Langford is an associate professor of art history at Concordia University. She was founding director/chief curator of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa (1985–1994). Major works on photography include Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums (2001); an edited collection, Image and Imagination (2005); and Scissors, Paper, Stone: Expressions of Memory in Contemporary Photographic Art (2007), all from McGill-Queen's University Press. An active independent curator, she was artistic director of the international photographic biennale Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 2005.
Loren Lerner is professor and chair of art history at Concordia University. In 2005, Lerner curated Picturing Her: Images of Girlhood / Salut les filles! La jeune fille en images at the McCord Museum. Writings on the images of children include “From Victorian Girl Reader to Modern Woman Artist: Reading and Seeing in the Paintings of the Canadian Girl by William Brymner, Emily Coonan, and Prudence Heward,” in Canadian Children’s Literature/Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse (2007); “Canada Receiving the Homage of Her Children: George Reid’s Ave Canada and Gustav Hahn’s Hail Dominion: A Proposal of Murals for the Entrance Hall of Canada’s Parliament Buildings,” in Journal of Canadian Art History (2008); and “When the Children Are Sick, So Is Society: Dr. Norman Bethune and the Montreal Circle of Artists,” in Healing the World’s Children (2008). She received a grant from Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture for her research on the representations of children in Canadian art.
Patricia McKeever is a senior scientist and holder of the Bloorview Kids Foundation Chair in Childhood Disability Studies at the Bloorview Research Institute, Bloorview Kids Rehab in Toronto, and a professor in the Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto. She is a health sociologist whose scholarship focuses on children with chronic illnesses or disabilities and their built environments. From 2002 to 2008, she co-directed an interdisciplinary-research training program at the University of Toronto entitled Health Care, Technology and Place, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Margaret McNay is an associate professor and associate dean (Undergraduate and Preservice Programs) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario with teaching and research interests focusing primarily on teacher education. She was an elementary school teacher in British Columbia before deciding to pursue another, earlier interest in science and to undertake doctoral studies in cell biology. Eventually she returned to the field of education to teach at the university level, first in New Brunswick, later in Alberta, and, since 1987, in Ontario. Upon discovering after his death that her father had been a home child and had been emigrated to Canada by Quarrier’s Orphan Homes of Scotland, she began to explore and write about her newly discovered inheritance.
Claudia Mitchell is a James McGill Professor in the Faculty of Education, McGill University, and an honorary professor in the Faculty of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal. She is the co-author/co-editor of several books on girlhood, childhood culture, and media: the two-volume Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia, Researching Children's Popular Culture, and Seven Going on Seventeen: Tween Studies in the Culture of Girlhood (with Jacqueline Reid-Walsh); Girlhood: Redefining the Limits (with Yasmin Jiwani and Candis Steenbergen); and Combating Gender Violence in and around Schools (with Fiona Leach). With Reid-Walsh she is co-editor of the new journal Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
Sharon Murray is a doctoral student in art history at Concordia University specializing in photographic history and theory. Her SSHRC-funded research centres on photographic representations of India created by Canadian overseas missionaries.
Sandra Paikowsky is a professor in the Art History Department of Concordia University. She is also the First Distinguished Scholar at the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art at Concordia. A founder of The Journal of Canadian Art History / Annales d’histoire de l’art canadien, she is also its publisher and managing editor. From 1981 to 1992 she was director/curator of the Concordia Art Gallery. Her recent research and publications focus on James Wilson Morrice's images of Venice, the history of the Maritime Art Association, and the art writings of Walter Abell.
Carol Payne, photo historian, is on faculty at Carleton University in the art history unit of the School for Studies in Art and Culture. She is currently writing a book on the National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division (1941–1984) and co-editing a volume on photo studies in Canada. Both projects have been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Jacqueline Reid-Walsh, a specialist in historical children’s literature, popular culture, and new media, teaches at Pennsylvania State University. She has published on topics ranging from girls’ reading in the eighteenth century to moveable books to childrens websites. With Claudia Mitchell, she co-authored Researching Children’s Popular Culture: The Cultural Spaces of Childhood (2002) and co-edited Seven Going on Seventeen: Tween Studies in the Culture of Girlhood (2005) and Girl Culture, a two-volume encyclopaedia (2007). She is also co-editing with Mitchell the new journal, Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
Johanne Sloan is an associate professor in the Department of Art History, Concordia University. She is the co-editor, with Rhona Richman Kenneally, of the book Expo 67: Not Just a Souvenir (University of Toronto Press, 2009). She is currently completing a book project that revisits Joyce Wieland’s 1976 film The Far Shore.
David Theodore is a doctoral student at Harvard University. He was formerly research associate and college lecturer at the School of Architecture, McGill University, where he taught courses in architectural design and studied the history of health care. An active design journalist and critic, he serves as a regional correspondent for The Canadian Architect, a contributing editor at Azure, and a contributor to the Phaidon Atlas of 21st-Century World Architecture (2008).
Elspeth Tulloch is the director of graduate studies in English at Université Laval, Quebec City, where she teaches Canadian literature. She is continuing her work on the National Film Board adaptations with a grant from the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture.
Abigail A. Van Slyck holds the Dayton Chair in Art History at Connecticut College, where she also directs the Architectural Studies program. She is the author of two books: A Manufactured Wilderness: Summer Camps and the Shaping of American Youth, 1890–1960 (2006; winner of the Abbott Lowell Cummings Award) and Free to All: Carnegie Libraries and American Culture, 1890–1920 (1995; Japanese translation, 2005).
Andrea N. Walsh is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Victoria. She is a visual anthropologist, curator, and multimedia artist of Irish, Scottish, Canadian, and Nlakapamux ancestry who specializes in twentieth-century and contemporary First Nations visual and material culture.
Monique Westra has been active as a teacher, writer, and curator for thirty years. She has been an art curator at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary since 2002. She is particularly interested in the theme of the family in contemporary Canadian art.
Kai Wood Mah is assistant professor of design and architectural history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His essay is based on his research on educational architecture and the experience of urban life.


Depicting Canada’s Children is a critical analysis of the visual representation of Canadian children from the seventeenth century to the present. Recognizing the importance of methodological diversity, these essays discuss understandings of children and childhood derived from depictions across a wide range of media and contexts. But rather than simply examine images in formal settings, the authors take into account the components of the images and the role of image-making in everyday life. The contributors provide a close study of the evolution of the figure of the child and shed light on the defining role children have played in the history of Canada and our assumptions about them. Rather than offer comprehensive historical coverage, this collection is a catalyst for further study through case studies that endorse innovative scholarship. This book will be of interest to scholars in art history, Canadian history, visual culture, Canadian studies, and the history of children.


It is the presentation of this book that first demans attention because, refreshingly for academic books concerned with visual analysis, it is well produced and of high quality.... Methodologically, the introduction claims breadth in terms of media and contexts, which is fulfilled in these interdisciplinary representations from ‘childhood studies’. The majority, unsurprisingly, draw on pre-existing photographs and artworks (stretching from the seventeenth century to the present day) not to mention texts, but children's drawings, architectural plans, brochures, statues and films also make an appearance. The source material itself is centralised to different degrees: sometimes the background to a narrative, at others carefully deconstructed.... This engaging, varied and well-presented collection is of value not just to those in self-defined ‘childhood studies’ but in other disciplines concerned either with Canada's contemporary or historical society; or with bringing children into historical, geographical, sociological or pyschological research more generally.

- Madeleine E. Hatfield, Royal Holloway, University of London, British Joural of Canadian Studies, Vol. 24, no. 1, 2011, 2011 October

Depicting Canada's Children presents recent, cross-disciplinary scholarship on the visual culture of children and childhood. The nineteen essays in the book examine multiple topics, use diverse sources and methodologies, and draw on a range of contextual literatures. Issues central to the history of childhood are evident throughout. Many of the essays are outstanding, but the value of the collection as a whole is to be found in the crosscurrents among the individual contributions. The essays amplify each other—similarities and differences abound, complexities accumulate, and questions emerge.... [Many essays are] characterized by numerous high quality illustrations, both black and white and in colour, which immediately illuminate the combination of intrinsic complexity and aesthetic appeal inherent in visual culture.... In her introduction, Lerner states that the purpose of the anthology was `to demonstrate the significance of visual culture' to the study of childhood (p. xv). Depicting Canada's Children succeeds admirably in accomplishing its objective.

- Helen Brown, Vancouver Island University, H-Childhood, H-Net Reviews, August 2010, 2010 October