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.
democracy and citizenship away from those of
Britain and towards those of North America.
For many Canadians, the British Commonwealth itself is no
longer important. Canadian identity is now located in Canadian space,
with conquest, progress, modernization and the assimilation of all
difference no longer considered unquestioned objectives. ‘Whitesettlersociety’ now appears to be a limited descriptor, one
Julie Evans, Patricia Grimshaw, David Philips, and Shurlee Swain
For detailed engagement with settler cultures as
distinctively colonial, see D. Kennedy, Islands of White: SettlerSociety and Culture in Kenya and Southern Rhodesia, 1890–1939
(Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1987).
See, for example, K. Malik, The Meaning of Race:
Race, History and Culture in Western Society (Houndsmills
of metropole and colony in the
first place’. 17 For such purposes, I look at the imposition of
hegemony, not by the direct force of a colonizing power, but by the
mimicry of descendants from the constructed British imperial centre.
Hence, Canada as a ‘whitesettlersociety’ shapes my
research. The process of European settlement in past empires is now
problematized and un-settled. 18 Conquest
The frontier is also traditionally associated with
violence. In this respect, Kingstown was no exception. Once it was
established as the island’s foremost town, Kingstown became a
place of security for members of whitesettlersociety and an important
location where they sought protection against Garifuna fighters. Charles
Shepherd describes one planter group embroiled in
the Brigands’ War as being
the suffering of Jews in Germany with blacks in the British colonies,
especially those in the whitesettlersocieties. In an article which
carried the title ‘The British empire is worst racket yet invented
by man’ he indicted the British for exercising in southern Africa
the ‘most blatant expression of racial superiority’, which
produced for the blacks a situation ‘more tragic even than that of