Author Tags: Anthropology, Women

Veronica (Nikki) Strong-Boag, a UBC professor in the Departments of Education and Women's Studies, is a former Director of the Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations and a former coordinator of women's studies programming at SFU. She has co-edited a B.C. coursebook on women, B.C. Reconsidered: Essays On Women, with UBC's Gillian Creese, and studied adoptions in English Canada.

With her doctorate in history from University of Toronto, Strong-Boag arrived at SFU in 1980. Her other books include New Day Recalled: Lives of Girls and Women in English Canada, 1919-1939, which received the Canadian History Association's John A. Macdonald Prize for best history book of 1988. With Carole Gerson, she co-wrote two E. Pauline Johnson studies, Paddling Her Own Canoe in 2000 and E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake: Collected Poems and Selected Prose in 2002.

John Campbell Gordon was Canada’s seventh Governor-General, from 1893 to 1898. Originally from Scotland, he and his wife Ishbel Marjoribanks Gordon, collectively known as ‘the Aberdeens,’ were known for their passion for social reform. Strong-Boag's Liberal Hearts and Coronets (University of Toronto Press, 2015) explores the compelling story of the progressive Aberdeens and their contributions to Canada. It is also “the first biography to treat john Campbell Gordon as seriously as his better-known wife.”

The couple’s first visit to the country was part of a world tour undertaken in 1890. They immediately felt an affinity with Canada and in 1891 bought Coldstream Ranch in BC’s Okanagan valley (the purchase was reportedly touted in local newspapers as “the best advertisement the Okanagan country has ever had”). In 1893 John was appointed Canada’s Governor-General and the Aberdeens settled in at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall. The couple was dedicated to worker’s rights, women’s rights and home health care. Ishbel helped found and was elected president of Canada’s first National Council of Woman and the Victorian Order of Nurses. John travelled extensively through Canada, driven to meet and speak with the everyday Canadian. Through their beliefs and actions, the Aberdeens transformed the perception of Canada’s Governor General. Previously viewed as an upper-crust representative of the monarchy, the position was now seen as one that listened to and spoke of Canadian citizens’ concerns.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
E. Pauline Johnson Tekahionwake: Collected Poems and Selected Prose
Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake)
Painting the Maple: Essays on Race, Gender, and the Construction of Canada
Working Lives: Vancouver, 1886-1986
Liberal Hearts and Coronets: The Lives and Times of Ishbel Marjoribanks Gordon and John Campbell Gordon, the Aberdeens


In Times Like These (Social History of Canada Series) by Veronica Strong-Boag, Nellie L. McClung (1972)
Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women's History, edited by Veronica Strong-Boag and Anita C. Fellman (Copp-Clark Pitman, 1986)
The New Day Recalled: Lives of Girls and Women in English Canada, 1919-1939, by Veronica Jane Strong-Boag (Penguin, 1988)
"Janey Canuck": Women in Canada, 1919-1939, by Veronica Jane Strong-Boag (Canadian Historical Association, 1994)
Painting the Maple: Essays on Race, Gender, and the Construction of Canada, edited by Veronica Strong-Boag et al (1998)
Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake), by Veronica Strong-Boag, Carole Gerson (UTP, 2000)
E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake: Collected Poems and Selected Prose,
by Carole Gerson (Introduction), et al (2002)
Nellie McClung, The Complete Autobiography: Clearing in the West and The Stream Runs Fast (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2003) (Editor)
Children's Health Issues in Historical Perspective (Wilfred Laurier University, 2005) (Editor with Cheryl Krasnick Warsh).
Finding Families, Finding Ourselves: English Canada Encounters Adoption from the 19th Century to the 1990s (Oxford, 2006).
Liberal Hearts And Coronets: The Lives And Times Of Ishbel Marjoribanks Gordon and John Campbell Gordon, the Aberdeens (University of Toronto Press, 2015) $32.95 9781442626027

[BCBW 2015] "Anthropology" "Women" "Pauline Johnson"

Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (UTP $24.95)

Novelist Ethel Wilson never forgot her meeting with Pauline Johnson, acknowledging she “pursued a path of her own making, and did this with integrity until the last day of her life.” Johnson advocated outdoor exercise for women and stressed the legal importance of being born in Canada and forging a separate Canadian identity. She remained financially independent, unmarried and dedicated to her artistry on stage and in print.

Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (UTP $24.95) by Veronica Strong-Boag and Carole Gerson discusses the poet, feminist, nationalist and Indian advocate against the cultural backdrop of Canada at the turn of the 19th century. After Johnson moved to Vancouver in 1909, the Pacific Coast Women’s Press Club welcomed her and proclaimed, “It is very true that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, but is it not also true that the hand which wields the pen directs the world.”

Before Johnson died of breast cancer at the age of 51, she specified she wanted only to be remembered in the hearts and minds of her readers. A monument was nonetheless erected in Stanley Park at Third Beach. 0-8020-8024-3


British Columbia Reconsidered: Essays on Women

Women's studies courses in B.C. commenced at SFU in the mid 197Os around when Press Gang formed its feminist printing and publishing collective. That period also gave rise to Kinesis magazine and Status of Women associations in Vancouver, Victoria and the West Kootenays. In the 1980s conferences at Camosun College sparked two collections of essays from the college, In Her Own Right (1980) and Not Just Pin Money (1984), edited by Barbara Latham in partnership with Cathy Kess and Roberta Pazdro respectively. The bilingual Women and Words conference occurred at UBC in 1983. UBC has subsequently established its Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations with former SFU teacher Veronica Strong-Boag as its director. "Academe remains a chilly place for women," says Strong-Boag. "Too often feminist scholarship continues to be accorded little value in comparison to traditional malestream research."

EDITORS GILLlAN CREESE AND VERONICA Strong-Boag were respectful of divergent styles and approaches germane to their field when they gathered 23 selections for British Columbia Reconsidered: Essays on Women (press Gang 21.95), a wide-ranging anthology of B.C. feminist scholarship. Consequently their volume includes essays on Carrier women and mothering, female immigrants, Chinese Canadians, Sechelt women participating in self-government, women in the labour movement prior to WW II and a brief memoir by Okanagan native Jeannette Armstrong. "The feminist movement, so long dominated by white middle-class women," they write, "is being challenged by working-class activists and women of colour.” “…Many women of colour, for example, have criticized the way the family has been seen as a central site of women's oppression' reminding us that for many women living in environments in which racism is pervasive, the family has been a source of support and sanctuary." Also stretching dry, academic boundaries is a frequently passionate critique of women and violence, 'Still Kissing the Rod', by Helga Jacobon and Naida Hyde. If violence against women is endemic in Canadian society, they ask, "why are all forms of violence against women by men generally referred to as 'women's issues' and not 'men's issues'?"

B.C. foremothers such as Dorothy Steeves, Grace MacInnis, Mary Moody and Lottie Bowron are recalled. Plus Daphne Marlatt examines recent feminist writing on the west coast in Subverting the Heroic'. Prior to discussing writing by Anne Cameron, Helen Potrebenko, Betsy Warland, Audrey Thomas, Paulette Jiles and Sky Lee, Marlatt notes that the stereotypical hero in much literature and, for that matter, all Nintendo games and most Hollywood movies is "bent on rescuing innocent women (damsels in distress) or defeating experienced women (witches, monsters, evil seductresses), all to achieve his destiny. "Her role is only secondary; she is either the reward for the successful completion of his quest or the threat he overcomes. Not much of a role in either case." Sylvia Van Kirk opens the volume with a rare view of women in the Cariboo Gold Rush. "In comparison with other gold rushes, the scarcity of references to white prostitution seems curious, but it is possible that the availability of Native and even Chinese prostitutes discouraged the organization of white prostitution on any appreciable scale.” Melody Hessing explores office conversations; Sheila Baxter studies women and poverty; and one of two male contributors, Michael Cramer, documents the women's suffrage campaign in Victoria from 1871 to 1917. Conventional essays include Lynda Erickson's 'Political Women in a Partisan World'; Strong-Boag and Kathryn McPherson's 'The Confinement of Women: Childbirth and Hospitalization in Vancouver, 1919-1939; Creese's 'The Politics of Dependence' and Barbara Riley's 'Six Saucepans to One: Domestic Science vs. the Home in British Columbia, l900-1930'. Three major streams of contemporary feminism are identified:
* Liberal feminism advocates women's fuller integration into the system of rewards without changing the structures of Canadian society.
* Radical feminism seeks fundamental changes in the nature of family forms and sexuality.
* Socialist feminism advocates fundamental transformations in economic and family structures."

British Columbia Reconsidered also includes Theresa Healy's extensive bibliography of books and articles pertaining to B.C. women, which increases the likelihood that this anthology will be adopted as a text for women's studies programs. Women in 1991 constituted approximately 18 percent of all tenured or tenure track faculty at the universities of Victoria, British Columbia and Simon Fraser. Veronica Strong-Boag's previous books include New Day Recalled: Lives of Girls and Women in English Canada, 19191939, which received the Canadian History Association's John A. Macdonald Prize for best history book of 1988. Creese, a UBC sociologist, has co-authored Ups and Downs on the Ladder of Success: Social Mobility in Canada.

#1. Adam bites an apple. Everybody blames Eve,
#2. A hurdy-gurdy girl in 1868 is ironing in the back of Barkerville's Fashion Saloon. A miner accosts her. She tries to escape. They knock over a stovepipe and the town of Barkerville is reduced to ashes in less than two hours, "The hurdies never quite regained their former popularity," observes Sylvia Van Kirk in British Columbia Reconsidered: Essays on Women.
#3. In the 1990s a three-year-old girl in B.C, is sexually interfered with by an adult male, The man is found guilty and sentenced to 18 months on probation. The male judge partially blames the three-year-old, saying the girl was considered to be sexually aggressive.
"What words does a child have to describe the unthinkable, the terror filled, horror-filled experience that (sic) her father whom she loves comes in the night and chokes off her breath with his huge weight and nearly drowns her in semen, and tears her vagina and anus with his penis, the instrument of her destruction?" observe Helga Jacobson and Naida Hyde in British Columbia Reconsidered.

[BCBW, Autumn, 1992] "Women"