Compelled to Act VIRTUAL LAUNCH

Please join us for the virtual launch of Compelled to Act: Histories of Women’s Activism in Western Canada.

Editors Sarah Carter and Nanci Langford will be joined by contributors Stephanie Bangarth, Cynthia Loch-Drake, Allyson Stevenson, Cheryl Troupe, and Carol Williams.

A Q&A will follow the presentation.


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About the Book

Compelled to Act showcases fresh historical perspectives on the diversity of women’s contributions to social and political change in prairie Canada in the twentieth century, including but looking beyond the era of suffrage activism. In our current time of revitalized activism against racism, colonialism, violence, and misogyny, this volume reminds us of the myriad ways women have challenged and confronted injustices and inequalities.
The women and their activities shared in Compelled to Act are diverse in time, place, and purpose, but there are some common threads. In their attempts to correct wrongs, achieve just solutions, and create change, women experienced multiple sites of resistance, both formal and informal. The acts of speaking out, of organizing, of picketing and protesting were characterized as unnatural for women, as violations of gender and societal norms, and as dangerous to the state and to family stability.

Still as these accounts demonstrate, prairie women felt compelled to respond to women’s needs, to challenges to family security, both health and economic, and to the need for community. They reacted with the resources at hand, and beyond, to support effective action, joining the ranks of women all over the world seeking political and social agency to create a society more responsive to the needs of women and their children.

About the Presenters

Stephanie Bangarth is an Associate Professor of History at King’s University College at Western University. She completed her PhD at the University of Waterloo in 2004. Dr. Bangarth is also an Adjunct Teaching Professor in the Department of History and a Faculty Research Associate with the Collaborative Graduate Program in Migration and Ethnic Studies (MER) at Western University. Her research examines the role of human rights, social movements, and migration in twentieth-century Canadian history. She is the author of Voices Raised in Protest: Defending North American Citizens of Japanese Ancestry, 1942–49 (University of British Columbia Press, 2008) and numerous scholarly articles.

Cynthia Loch-Drake received a PhD in Canadian History at York University in 2013. She has published articles about blue-collar and white-collar masculinities in Canada’s meatpacking industry and is preparing a monograph that explores the lives of women packing workers during the era of national pattern bargaining following the Second World War. This study considers how women’s role in meatpacking production and social reproduc- tion, particularly bearing and raising children, influenced workplace gender activism. It also considers how these unionized women used their consumption power to assert, construct, and contest their identities in the household and the community. As an adjunct professor at York University Loch-Drake has taught courses in the history of women in Canada, the history of women and unions, Canadian history, Canadian economic history, business history, and a history of capitalism.

Allyson Stevenson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina. She holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples and Global Social Justice. She has a PhD in History from the University of Saskatchewan and her first monograph, Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the Colonization of Indigenous Kinship, will be available in 2020 with University of Toronto Press. Her research focuses on histories of Indigenous childhoods, Indigenous human rights, and Indigenous women’s political organizing. She is proud to be able to raise her family in the territories of her Métis ancestors near Kinistino, Saskatchewan.

Cheryl Troupe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research centres on twentieth-century Métis communities in western Canada, merging Indigenous research methodologies with Historical Geographic Information Systems (HGIS) to focus on the intersections of land, gender, kinship, and stories. Much of her research focuses on the multi-faceted roles of Métis women in their families and communities and the significance of female kinship relationships in structuring these communities. She has worked within her community for over twenty years in the areas of historical and community-based research, curriculum development, community engagement, advocacy and health policy, and program planning. She is Métis, originally from north-central Saskatchewan.

Carol Williams, a cultural historian, is the current Director of the Centre for Oral History and Tradition and Professor of History and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Lethbridge, located on Treaty 7 Territory. Williams’s scholarship traverses three themes: the histories of reproductive politics; North American women’s history; and histories of photography. Williams’s three-year collaborative research project with Hali Heavy Shield and Linda Weasel Head revolves around historical literacy and the documentation of Kainai Women’s Activism in Treaty 7 Territory 1968 to 1990. Her publications include Indigenous Women: From Labor to Activism (University of Illinois Press, 2012); Framing the West: Race, Gender, and the Photographic Frontier in the Pacific Northwest (Oxford University Press, 2003) and “Residential School Photographs: The Visual Rhetoric of Indigenous Removal and Containment” in Photography and Migration, edited by Tanya Sheehan (Routledge, 2018).

Nanci Langford has a PhD in Historical Sociology (University of Alberta). She is Academic Coordinator in the Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program at Athabasca University and was previously an Assistant Professor at University of Alberta. She has taught Women’s Studies; Family Studies; Canadian women’s history; Sociology; interdisciplinary research methods; and life history writing. Her publications have focused on Canadian prairie women and include Politics, Pitchforks, and Pickle Jars: 75 Years of Organized Farm Women in Alberta (Detselig Enterprises, 1997) and numerous scholarly articles. She is co-chair of The Alberta Women’s Memory Project, an educational website which focuses on the preservation of Alberta women’s history.

Sarah Carter is a Professor and H.M. Tory Chair in the Department of History and Classics, and a member of the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Originally from Saskatoon, she studied Canadian history at the University of Saskatchewan (BA Hon. and MA) and the University of Manitoba (PhD). She taught at the University of Calgary from 1992 to 2006. Her research focuses on the history of settler colonialism in Canada and in comparative colonial and borderlands perspectives. Her 2016 book Imperial Plots: Women, Land, and the Spadework of British Colonialism on the Canadian Prairies (University of Manitoba Press) won several awards, including the Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research. Her other books include The Importance of Being Monogamous (University of Alberta Press, 2008) and Lost Harvests: Prairie Indian Reserve Farmers and Government Policy (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990). Her most recent monograph, Ours By Every Law of Right and Justice: Women and the Vote in the Prairie Provinces (2020) is coming out with UBC Press.

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