Storied Landscapes

Ethno-Religious Identity and the Canadian Prairies

Frances Swyripa (Author)

Storied Landscapes is a beautifully written, sweeping examination of the evolving identity of major ethno-religious immigrant groups in the Canadian West. Viewed through the lens of attachment to the soil and specific place, and through the eyes of both the immigrant generation and its descendants, the book compares the settlement experiences of Ukrainians, Mennonites, Icelanders, Doukhobors, Germans, Poles, Romanians, Jews, Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes. It reveals how each group’s sense of identity was shaped by a complex interplay of physical and emotional ties to land and place, and how that sense of belonging influenced, and was influenced by, relationships not only within the prairies and the Canadian nation state but also with the homeland and its extended diaspora. Through a close study of myths, symbols, commemorative traditions, and landmarks, Storied Landscapes boldly asserts the inseparability of ethnicity and religion both to defining the prairie region and to understanding the Canadian nation-building project.


“An impeccably researched and innovative study of what to my mind is the best comparative history of immigrant and ethnic groups on the prairies.”

– Franca Iacovetta, Department of History, University of Toronto

“Storied Landscapes: Ethno-Religious Identity and the Canadian Prairies discusses the wide range of cultures that exist throughout the western provinces of Canada and the unique array of people and culture throughout the region. Analyzing both religious and ethnic cultures deeply with their history, Storied Landscapes is a scholarly and highly educational read on the range of people that call Canada home.”

Midwest Book Review

“Storied Landscapes will be of particular interest to students of elusive and perennial questions regarding the formation of a distinct Prairie and, at the national level, a Canadian identity. This is an interesting and worthwhile contribution that will be of benefit to students, scholars and the general public.”

Myron Momryk, Journal of Ukrainian Studies

“The ‘storied landscapes’ of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta demonstrate how local, regional, national, and diasporic narrations contribute to a complexity of layered and interacting identities. Well written, well referenced, and imaginatively illustrated.”

– B. Osborne, Queen’s University at Kingston, Choice Magazine, May 2011

“Swyripa’s book is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the history of identity formation and historical memory. Those interested in cultural and
public history will find _Storied Landscapes _a worthwhile read.”

Malgorzata Kierylo Malolepsza, Queen’s University, H-Net, Sept. 2011

“This is an important book that throws much needed light on the complex processes underlying the relationship between people, their identity and the places they create.”

– John C Lehr, University of Winnipeg, American Review of Canadian Studies

“Frances Swyripa’s study of the ethno-religious landscape of the Canadian prairies is a delightful painting of the visual legacy of the settlement landscape and at the same time a careful analysis of the nuances that undergirded the religious sensibilities of the particular group she examines.”

– Hans Werner, University of Winnipeg, Great Plains Research

“Swyripa offers a broad-ranging sweep of analysis which leaves much room for discussion, disagreement on observations or challenging of conclusions, yet all along one is struck by the wealth of material and contemplation presented.”

Peter J. Melnycky, Manitoba HIstory

About the Author

Frances Swyripa is a professor in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta. She is the author of Wedded to the Cause: Ukrainian-Canadian Women and Ethnic Identity, 1891-1991 and Ukrainian Canadians: A Survey of their Portrayal in English-Language Works.

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