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The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire

Through a study of the British Empire's largest women's patriotic organisation, formed in 1900 and still in existence, this book examines the relationship between female imperialism and national identity. It throws light on women's involvement in imperialism; on the history of ‘conservative’ women's organisations; on women's interventions in debates concerning citizenship and national identity; and on the history of women in white settler societies. After placing the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE) in the context of recent scholarly work in Canadian, gender and imperial history, and post-colonial theory, the book follows the IODE's history through the twentieth century. Chapters focus upon the IODE's attempts to create a British Canada through its maternal feminist work in education, health, welfare and citizenship. In addition, the book reflects on the IODE's responses to threats to Anglo-Canadian hegemony posed by immigration, World Wars and Communism, and examines the complex relationship between imperial loyalty and settler nationalism. Tracing the organisation into the postcolonial era, where previous imperial ideas are outmoded, it considers the transformation from patriotism to charity, and the turn to colonisation at home in the Canadian North.

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the imperial past and ideas that were seen as increasingly redundant in modern Canadian society. Such adaptation is applicable on a wider scale to the other former ‘white dominions’ or ‘settler societies’ of the British Empire, which have also developed national identities out of their imperial pasts, simultaneously fostering an attachment to the British Commonwealth. In its relationship to the Empire

in Female imperialism and national identity
Organizing principles, 1900–1919

identity was constructed through the active silencing of the disruptive relations of ethnicity, gender and of class’. Rather than reconstituting she attempts to destabilize Englishness, uncovering contingency in its historic specificity, and looking at the dependences, inequalities and oppressions which were hidden in its celebration of national identity. 8 In considering ‘contingency’, ‘historic

in Female imperialism and national identity
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meaning of the mountie to represent changing Anglo-Canadian nationalism. 13 Also concerned with icons, Daniel Francis takes a critical look at national identity through an examination of ‘myths’ in Canadian history such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and the myth of unity with Quebec. 14 The shaping of Canadian culture, history, politics and health

in Female imperialism and national identity
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Women, internal colonization and indigenous peoples

countries’. 14 In this context, immigration became of less importance to the IODE than it had been, and national identity became a more secure and important part of the IODE’s representation of Canadian identity. By focusing on Canadian citizens themselves, and on the spaces of Canada from a North American geographical standpoint, the IODE focused more intensively on indigenous peoples, made a call for

in Female imperialism and national identity
War memorials, memory and imperial knowledge

the structure of history as a discipline. 2 For my particular purposes, how war is remembered is important as it can reveal much about imperial and national identity, patriotism and citizenship. 3 Whereas early work on war and memory, in particular Paul Fussell’s 1975 The Great War and Modern Memory , argued for the disruptive effects of war and the dawning of new eras, recent interpretations

in Female imperialism and national identity

generation to generation, and also contributed to continuity in the social composition of membership. Although the women who belonged to the IODE were the very women likely to belong to other women’s organizations, there was a sense of joining the IODE for life, and that members saw the Order as an outlet for their sense of imperial and national identity. The IODE’s structure also reflected its vision for

in Female imperialism and national identity
The canadianizing 1920s

imagined Britain, national identity began to locate itself within the space and the people of Canada. What Said has termed betweenness , ‘overlapping and intertwined geographies of identity’, 62 becomes very apparent here, as definitions of ‘Canada’ were derived from Britain, but lived in Canada, and mingled with many other influences. Canadianization was initially constructed by the IODE in

in Female imperialism and national identity
Defending Cold War Canada

This chapter looks at Cold War Canada, including the often-ignored gendering of democracy, and considers the effects of the perceived Communist threat on Canadian identity. It argues that the IODE's representation of democracy changed during the Cold War and that this change involved an ideological as well as a spatial shift away from Britain towards North America. The IODE believed that Communism within Canada posed a severe threat to Canadian citizenship, and its women and mothers sought to rigorously ‘sweep away the Communist stain’. The IODE's reaction to the Cold War reflected a forced reconsideration of Canadian identity. While the IODE promoted democratic principles of progressive conservatism, its methods and attitude to Communists were influenced by individualism and a politics more often associated with the USA, and with an ideal of home and motherhood as ‘private’ gendered spaces. The IODE consistently expressed clear organic sentiments, emphasising the importance of training future generations in its construction of Canadian identity. In the Cold War, it was against the Communist threat rather than the USA that these beliefs were directed. During the Cold War, the IODE's response to perceived threats to Canada caused a shift whereby colonial attachments weakened and there was a move to a focus on Canadian space. This shift was influenced by diverse ideologies from Britain and the practices of the USA.

in Female imperialism and national identity
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Empire, migration and the 1928 English Schoolgirl Tour

This chapter focuses on the lengths to which the IODE would go to produce a Canada that emulated Britain, with a case study of the 1928 English Schoolgirl Tour of Canada. The IODE placed high hopes that, on a micro level, the tour would directly encourage British migration to Canada, and collaborated with the Society for the Oversea Settlement of British Women (SOSBW) in this impressive cross-Canada tour. The itinerary formed a narrative of superior British-based culture, economy and politics in a modern resource-rich, technologically advanced, democratic Canadian nation. The tour captured a 1928 moment in the narrative of hegemonic Anglo-Canada. As a result of this tour, the 1920s saw nationalism and imperialism modernise, with the schoolgirls' experiences tied up in an era of technological improvement.

in Female imperialism and national identity