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Book Talk on The Search for a New National Identity: The Rise of Multicultu...

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Department of History, 1197 Buchanan Tower

The University of British Columbia

2329 West Mall

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

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This book explores the profound social, cultural, and political changes that affected the way in which Canadians and Australians defined themselves as a "people" from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s. Taking as its central theme the way each country responded to the introduction of new migrants, the book asks a key historical question: why and how did multiculturalism replace Britishness as the defining idea of community for English-speaking Canada and Australia, and what does this say about their respective experiences of nationalism in the twentieth century? The book begins from a simple premise-namely, that the path towards the adoption of multiculturalism as the orthodox way of defining national community in English-speaking Canada and Australia in the latter half of the twentieth century was both uncertain and unsteady. It followed a period in which both nations had looked first and foremost to Britain to define their national self-image. In both nations, however, following the breakdown of their more formal and institutional ties to the 'mother-country' in the post-war period there was a crisis of national meaning, and policy makers and politicians moved quickly to fill the void with a new idea of the nation, one that was the very antithesis to the White, monolithic idea of Britishness. This book will be useful for both history and politics courses in Australia and Canada, as well as internationally.

"Comparative history is notoriously difficult but Jatinder Mann has given us a well-researched and important comparative study of the decline of Britishness and the rise of multiculturalism in both Canada and Australia from the 1890s to the present. It is a must-read book for historians of both countries, especially those interested in the creation of national identities in Australia and Canada." - Phil Buckner, UCL/University of New Brunswick

"An original approach to an important subject, The Search far a New National Identity argues that it is no mere coincidence that Australia and Canada were at the forefront of the official adoption of multiculturalism as a unifying civic ideal in the 1970s. Jatinder Mann's study insists on the historical contingency of the rise of multicultural discourse, locating it securely within the wider history of global decolonization, not least its fascinating consequences in two former settler societies." - Stuart Ward, University of Copenhagen

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Department of History, 1197 Buchanan Tower

The University of British Columbia

2329 West Mall

Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

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