Events

Nov
07

Toronto launch of Czech Refugees in Cold War Canada

Wednesday, November 7th 2018

Please join University of Manitoba Press and the Munk School’s Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies for a launch of Jan Raska’s Czech Refugees in Cold War Canada.

When: 4:00-5:15 pm, Wednesday, November 7.
Where: Campbell Conference Facility—Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy (1 Devonshire Place, Toronto)
Cost: FREE

Jan will be appearing as part of the Making and Re-Making Europe: The Czech and Slovak Contribution conference at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

About the Conference
In honour of the celebration in 2018 of the founding of Czechoslovakia, remembering fifty years since the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, and the events of 1989 and after, the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (CERES) at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy will hold a two-day conference to mark these important anniversaries and give visibility to the contribution of Czechs and Slovaks in Europe and North America. The conference combines academic panels, films and a graduate student conference.

About the Book
During the Cold War, more than 36,000 individuals entering Canada claimed Czechoslovakia as their country of citizenship. A defining characteristic of this migration of predominantly political refugees was the prevalence of anti-communist and democratic values. Diplomats, industrialists, politicians, professionals, workers, and students fled to the West in search of freedom, security, and economic opportunity.

Jan Raska’s Czech Refugees in Cold War Canada explores how these newcomers joined or formed ethnocultural organizations to help in their attempts to affect developments in Czechoslovakia and Canadian foreign policy towards their homeland. Canadian authorities further legitimized the Czech refugees’ anti-communist agenda and increased their influence in Czechoslovak institutions. In turn, these organizations supported Canada’s Cold War agenda of securing the state from communist infiltration. Ultimately, an adherence to anti-communism, the promotion of Canadian citizenship, and the cultivation of a Czechoslovak ethnocultural heritage accelerated Czech refugees’ socioeconomic and political integration in Cold War Canada.

By analyzing oral histories, government files, ethnic newspapers, and community archival records, Raska reveals how Czech refugees secured admission as desirable immigrants and navigated existing social, cultural, and political norms in Cold War Canada.

About the Author
Jan Raska is a historian with the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax.

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