Barrett, Matthew. "De-picturing John A. Macdonald: Opportunities and Challenges of Representing Canada’s Past with Graphic History." The Canadian Hiustorical Review 103.(2022): 32–74.
Added by: joachim (4/7/22, 11:11 AM)
|Resource type: Journal Article
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Barrett2022
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Keywords: Canada, History, Memoria, Politics
Collection: The Canadian Hiustorical Review
This article explores the historiographical and methodological opportunities and challenges of graphic history to represent, interpret, and interrogate Canada’s past. Graphic history is a research-creation approach that combines word and picture to produce illustrated texts and comic book-style narratives. While I address important critiques about academic rigour, pedagogical value, and practical viability, I argue that graphic history has much potential to offer historians. By broadening our understanding of scholarly work, graphic histories can be accessible sources for wider audiences, critical resources for teaching and learning, and/or imaginative methods for engaging with historiographical issues. After examining the theories and practices of graphic history, I illustrate a graphic-text essay on the contested images of John A. Macdonald. Pictures of the first prime minister are well known to most Canadians in photograph, caricature, and statue, but his legacy has come under greater academic and public scrutiny, particularly regarding policies towards Indigenous peoples. I focus on Macdonald because debates over his commemoration are relevant to the ways in which historians represent and confront complicated pasts. I use related debates over statue removal and anxieties about erasure of history to explore deeper historiographic questions about representation, truth, presentism, and perspective. I argue that a graphic history approach is a medium for deconstructing, or, as I call it, de-picturing, a one-dimensional, dominant image of Macdonald on a pedestal, exhibited in bronze.