“According to a study of textbooks published by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in 1970, we learned a version of Canadian history which presented English-speaking Canadians as superior in almost every way to the French. […] More recent studies have concluded that things haven’t changed much in the twenty five years since the Royal Commission.”
As Daniel Francis argues in his book National Dreams: Myth, Memory, And Canadian History, the historical narrative that governs the social imagination of Canada is sharply divided between the cultural linguistic groups of the French and the English. This divide, Francis points out, is well illustrated in the English Canadian history curriculum, which too often depicts French Canadian society as traditionally Catholic, “feudal, authoritarian, and priest ridden;” contrasting to the English who were protestant “rational, progressive, and freedom loving.” Continue reading →
The Hebrew scriptures are deeply marked by the experience of displacement. The story of the exile of Jacob’s descendents in Egypt, their time of wandering in the desert after being delivered from slavery, and, later, the deportation of a large part of the population of Jerusalem to Babylon, all became part of the self-understanding of the ancient Israelites. These stories of being uprooted and endangered in unfamiliar lands influenced the ethical teaching of the scriptures; frequently, the Israelites are reminded of their obligation to care for the stranger and the exile, “for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:34, Deuteronomy 10:19). Care for the displaced person is a priority in many Old Testament texts, not simply as an act of charity, but out of a sense of identity with the outcast. Continue reading →
I love apocalyptic films. Alien invasions, panicked pandemics, climate change catastrophes, and nuclear fallout: our culture has depicted its own destruction in a myriad of ways.
This week I rented the film, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, an apocalyptic story in an end times sub-genre I like to call: A Giant Asteroid is Set on a Collision Course with Earth. Continue reading →