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Gender and empire: performing masculinity in nineteenth-century Canada/Genre et empire: la masculinite en jeu dans le Canada du dix-neuvieme siecle.

This issue of Theatre Research in Canada responds to a challenging question posed by Jerry Wasserman at the 2010 meeting of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research. During one of the sessions, Jerry commented on what he perceived as the relative absence of panels addressing Canadian theatre and performance history, especially pre-twentieth-century topics; he queried whether this was representative of recent developments in the field. My first thought was "No, of course not. Many of us are working on historical projects." But I realized that Jerry had a point. At that time, it was quite rare to see an entire CATR panel of papers on pre-twentieth century material. In the days that followed, I approached several colleagues about developing a session for the following year's conference with the express goal of demonstrating that pre-twentieth century performance scholarship was alive and well in Canada. After some discussion, we decided to build the panel around explorations of empire and masculinity in the pre-Confederation period; this topic struck us as both important and timely in light of Canada's post-9/11 involvement in neo-imperialist projects.

This issue features expanded versions of four papers first presented at the 2011 CATR meeting in response to Jerry's call. Like that session, this issue aims to advance existing scholarship on gender and empire by examining the performance of masculinity in colonial Canada. We draw inspiration from the emergence of "the new imperial history," a scholarly development in cultural history that remains attentive to political and economic events--the hallmark of "old" imperial history--while considering the emotional, psychological, and physical lives of imperial subjects, alongside those of colonial governors, military forces, and administrators. In collections such as Philippa Levine's Gender and Empire or Ann Laura Stoler's Haunted By Empire, scholars have analyzed how European imperial objectives both informed and were shaped by shifting gender ideologies at "home." Such scholarship not only acknowledges the centrality of women in the construction, administration, and celebration of empire, but also asks how definitions of masculinity shifted in response to colonial encounters, conflicts, and responsibilities. This issue pushes the "new imperial history" further by emphasizing the importance of performance to the formation, maintenance, and disruption of imperial ties and colonial gender identities.

Though differing in focus and scope, the articles gathered here investigate how the imperatives of the British imperialist project informed the lives of the thousands of men who served as colonial administrators, military personnel, journalists, and business leaders. By exploring performances that occurred outside formal theatre spaces--city streets, private homes, battlefields, newspapers--these articles also push at the boundaries of theatre history scholarship. "Historically, most theatre work has happened outside of the institutionalized theatre," Alan Filewod observes in Committing Theatre, but much of this "theatre work" has yet to be uncovered because theatre historians of the nineteenth century have, until recently, focused much of their attention on "building detailed performance calendars and reconstructing conditions of performance" (3). Although Filewod does not deny the value of such projects, he promotes a much broader definition of theatrical performance, one not delimited by theatre buildings or dramatic stagings. The authors here share Filewod's investment in unearthing the lively complexities of nineteenth-century performance culture in Canada, particularly the complex relationship between individual performances of self and collective performances of belonging.

In "Romulus and Ritual in the Beverly Swamp: A Freemason Dreams of Theatre in Pre-confederation Ontario," StephenJohnson excavates the fascinating story of Henry Lamb, a pioneer settler who in the 1820s and 1830s fantasized about transforming the swampland of the Beverly Township into a glorious new city. Johnson skillfully demonstrates that Lamb's freemasonic connections guided his plans for Romulus, which he designed to include sporting grounds, a concert hall, and a "first-class theater" (10). But in fashioning himself as a founding father, Lamb "misjudged his community" and failed to appreciate the dynamic performance culture that surrounded him in the form of "outdoor rituals and kitchen parties, tavern songs and mechanics hall meetings" (11). What emerges, then, is the story of a man "intent on the orderly, architectural administration of society in a world of improvised spaces" (11): his vision of civilization was ultimately incompatible with the realities of life in the swamp.

Heather Davis-Fisch also explores competing performances of civilization among settler-colonists in "Lawless Lawyers: Indigeneity, Civility, and Violence." She revisits the Types Riots of June 1826, when several young members of the Family Compact, Upper Canada's elite governing authority, protested William Lyon Mackenzie's vitriolic editorials by disguising themselves as "Indians" and ransacking his newspaper office. While comparing this performance of authority and discipline to other folk protests and charivari, Davis-Fisch maintains that the rioters' elite status and their "choice of how to perform their civilized authority [...] demonstrates inherent contradictions in how power was enacted in Upper Canada" (31). By dressing up as "Indians", the rioters exposed the paradoxical relationship between "gentlemanly power" and "savage retribution," thereby exposing the ruthlessness and violence that lay beneath the Family Compact's civilized facade.

Where Davis-Fisch looks at tensions among settler-colonists in their pursuit of power and authority, I consider how the arrival of foreign acting companies provoked debates about gentlemanly behaviour. In "An 'Unmanly and Insidious Attack': Child Actress Jean Davenport and the Performance of Masculinity in 1840s Jamaica and Newfoundland," I analyze the controversies surrounding the cross-dressed performances of the child actress Jean Margaret Davenport, whom her father/manager Thomas Davenport favourably compared to the recently deceased actor Edmund Kean. When well-positioned critics rejected this assessment, accusing Davenport of trying to deceive colonial audiences, they initiated heated discussions about "the responsibilities of theatre audiences and critics, definitions of gentlemanly behavior, and the relationship between colonial-settlers and strangers from the metropole" (51). By comparing reactions to Jean Davenport in colonial Jamaica and Newfoundland, I point to striking similarities in the way British colonial-settlers responded to questions of civility and masculinity, despite other cultural and social differences.

Roberta Barker likewise traces the transmission of ideas, ideologies, gestures, and plays across colonial borders. Aligning herself with the "transnational turn" and other recent efforts to trace the flow of bodies, ideas, and performance forms across national borders, Barker maps the transatlantic circulation of the "gallant invalid," a character type that originated in Alexandre Dumaspere and Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois's 1833 drama Angele. This figure was known for his emotional and physical vulnerability and his willingness to sacrifice himself for the benefit of others. With humour and precision, Barker argues that "performances of this type shaped both British imperial mythology and an emergent form of Canadian political heroism" (69), seen most notably in the representation of General James Wolfe (this issue's cover model) and the self-fashioning of Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

Two Forum pieces complement the issue's thematic emphasis on gender, empire, and Canadian theatre history. The first Forum, "Canadian Performance Genealogies," is an edited version of a round table conversation staged at the 2013 Canadian Association for Theatre Research conference. Taking as a starting point Joseph Roach's concept of performance genealogies and Raymond Williams's notion of the "keyword," the six round table participants (Heather Davis-Fisch, Roberta Barker, Laura Levin, Kim Solga, KirstyJohnston, and myself) propose a variety of keywords for approaching Canadian theatre and performance history in fresh, new ways. In "Women's Theatre Festivals as Counterpublics: Groundswell, FemFest, and The Riveter Series," Shelley Scott surveys recent trends in women's theatre festivals. Drawing from Nancy Fraser's articulation of "counterpublics," she presents a compelling argument for the "continued relevancy of women's festivals as venues for new play development" (103). Scott's piece reminds readers of the importance of attending to gender equity within the theatre profession, supporting the issue's overall emphasis on seeing gender as "a useful category for historical analysis" (J. Scott).

Writing now from my role as TRiC Editor, I want to mention some important changes and additions to our masthead. First, I am very pleased to welcome Roberta Barker, Susan Bennett, Erin Hurley, and Glen Nichols to our Editorial Board. Collectively, they bring years of experience as editors and scholars to our already strong board membership. Second, I'm delighted to announce that Michelle MacArthur will be taking over the role of Book Review Editor as of January 2014. Michelle will replace current Book Review Editor Erin Hurley, who leaves the position but not (thankfully) the journal. Throughout her four-year tenure, Erin has overseen dozens of reviews. Her conscientious efforts to cover publications in English and French and her commitment to soliciting reviews from a wide range of authors (graduate students, early career scholars, later career scholars) both from within and outside Canada have made a tremendous contribution to the journal. Thank you, Erin, for your years of service.

Finally, as you've probably noticed, the journal has undergone a rather dramatic facelift. For this, I am indebted to our Executive Editor, Barry Freeman, for spearheading the change and to our designer, Louis Duarte, for his fresh, innovative ideas. We're thrilled with TRiC's new look and hope you are too.

Works Cited

Filewod, Alan. Committing Theatre: Theatre Radicalism and Political Intervention in Canada. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2011. Print.

Levine, Philippa. Gender and Empire. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.

Scott, Joan Wallach. "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis." The American Historical Review 91.5 (Dec. 1986): 1053-1075. Web. 13 Sept 2013.

Stoler, Ann Laura, ed. Haunted By Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2006. Print.


(1) I am grateful for the support of my colleague, Stephen Johnson, who in 2011 suggested that I propose a special issue to then-editor of TRiC Glen Nichols. At the time I had no other affiliation with the journal and the articles for this issue were submitted for peer review under Glen's editorship.

Le present numero de Recherches theatrales au Canada se veut une reponse a une question difficile posee par Jerry Wasserman lors du colloque de l'Association canadienne de la recherche theatrale (ACRT) en 2010. Pendant une des seances, Jerry constatait que tres peu de tables rondes portaient sur l'histoire du theatre et de la performance au Canada, encore moins sur la periode precedant le vingtieme siecle, et il se demandait si cela refletait la tendance actuelle dans le domaine. Ma premiere reaction fut: <<Non, mais non, plusieurs d'entre nous travaillent sur des projets historiques>>. Mais j'ai vu que Jerry n'avait pas tort. A ce moment-la, il etait assez rare qu'une table ronde au colloque de l'ACRT porte entierement sur des sujets anterieurs au vingtieme siecle. Dans les jours qui ont suivi la seance, j'ai lance a plusieurs collegues l'idee d'organiser une seance l'annee suivante pour demontrer que la recherche sur le theatre pre-vingtieme siecle se porte bien au Canada. Apres en avoir discute un peu, nous avons decide de monter une table ronde sur le theme de l'empire et de la masculinite avant la Confederation. Le sujet nous semblait a la fois important et opportun vu la participation du Canada aux projets neo-imperialistes apres les attentats du 11 septembre.

Ce numero contient des versions plus developpees de quatre communications presentees au colloque de l'ACRT en 2011 en reponse a la question de Jerry. Comme la seance qui l'a precede, il a pour objectif de faire avancer la recherche sur le genre et l'empire en examinant les interpretations de la masculinite dans le Canada colonial. Ce faisant, nous nous inspirons de la <<nouvelle histoire imperiale>>, un nouveau courant de recherche en histoire culturelle qui demeure attentif aux evenements politiques et economiques--demarche caracteristique de l'<<ancienne>> histoire imperiale--tout en examinant les realites emotives, psychologiques et physiques des sujets de l'Empire parallelement a celles des gouverneurs, des forces militaires et des administrateurs coloniaux. Des chercheurs ayant contribue a des ouvrages comme Gender and Empire de Philippa Levine et Haunted By Empire de Ann Laura Stoler ont analyse les facons dont les visees imperiales europeennes ont pu etre a la fois informees et fa^onnees par les ideologies sur le genre evoluant <<sur le terrain>>. Non seulement de telles recherches reconnaissent le role central que jouent les femmes dans la construction, l'administration et la celebration de l'empire, mais elles questionnent les fa^ons dont la definition de la masculinite a pu evoluer sous l'effet des rencontres, des conflits et des responsabilites en contexte colonial. Ce numero veut faire avancer la <<nouvelle histoire imperiale>> en soulignant l'importance du role de la performance dans la formation, l'entretien et la rupture des liens imperiaux et des identites axees sur le genre en contexte colonial.

Si les articles regroupes ici couvrent des sujets varies et font appel a des approches diversifiees, ils s'interrogent tous sur la fa^on dont les imperatifs du projet imperialiste britannique ont pu informer les realites de milliers d'hommes qui ont travaille comme administrateurs, militaires, journalistes et chefs d'entreprises au sein de la colonie. En explorant des representations qui ont eu lieu a l'exterieur des espaces consacres au theatre--dans les rues de la ville, a la maison, sur les champs de bataille, dans les joumaux--ces articles repoussent les frontieres de la recherche sur l'histoire du theatre et, dans le sillon des travaux d'Alan Filewod et d'autres, invitent a repenser les limites du domaine. <<Historiquement, la plupart des activites theatrales ont lieu en dehors des institutions theatrales>>, ecrit Filewod dans Committing Theatre (3, traduction libre). Or, une bonne partie de ce qui constitue ce corpus n'a pas encore ete exploree parce que, jusqu'a tout recemment, les specialistes de l'histoire du theatre du dix-neuvieme siecle ont surtout voulu <<constituer des calendriers de representations detailles et reconstituer les conditions dans lesquelles ces representations ont eu lieu>> (3, traduction libre). Sans mettre en doute la valeur de tels projets, Filewod propose une definition beaucoup plus vaste de la representation theatrale non plus limitee aux theatres ou aux mises en scene theatrales. Les auteurs rassembles ici partagent l'engagement de Filewod a exhumer les complexites vivantes de la culture du spectacle du dix-neuvieme siecle au Canada, surtout en ce qui a trait aux rapports complexes entre les representations de soi par des individus et les representations collectives de l'appartenance.

Dans <<Romulus and Ritual in the Beverly Swamp: A Freemason Dreams of Theatre in Pre-confederation Ontario>>, StephenJohnson suit la trace du recit fascinant de Henry Lamb, un colon qui, pendant les annees 1820 et 1830, revait de transformer les marecages du canton de Beverly en une glorieuse cite. Johnson demontre fort adroitement que les liens qui liaient Lamb aux francs-ma^ons ont informe sa conception de Romulus qui, sur la carte tracee par Lamb, incluait un terrain de sports, une salle de spectacles et un <<theatre de premiere classe>> (69, traduction libre). Mais en s'improvisant pere fondateur, Lamb a mal evalue sa communaute et la culture dynamique des rassemblements populaires qui l'entourait--des rituels en plein air, des partys de cuisine, des airs entonnes a la taverne et des rassemblements de mecaniciens a la salle paroissiale>> (10, traduction libre). Il dresse ainsi le portrait d'un homme <<resolu a administrer une societe ordonnee et structuree dans un monde d'espaces improvises>> (11, traduction libre) selon une vision de la civilisation incompatible avec les realites quotidiennes des habitants d'un marecage.

Heather Davis-Fisch explore pour sa part les representations divergentes des premiers colons sur la civilisation dans <<Lawless Lawyers: Indigeneity, Civility, and Violence>>. Elle fait un retour sur les evenements du 8 juin 1826, quand plusieurs jeunes membres du Pacte de famille, l'autorite gouvernante elitiste du Haut-Canada, se sont deguises en <<Indiens>> pour piller les bureaux du journal de William Lyon Mackenzie, signalant ainsi leur opposition a des editoriaux critiques publies par ce dernier. Tout en comparant cette representation de l'autorite et de la discipline a d'autres formes folkloriques de protestation comme le charivari, Davis-Fisch demontre que le statut des emeutiers, tous membres de l'elite, et <<comment ils ont choisi d'exprimer leur "autorite civilisee" [...] fait voir des contradictions internes dans l'exercice du pouvoir dans le Haut-Canada>> (31, traduction libre). En se deguisant en <<Indiens>>, les emeutiers exposaient le rapport paradoxal entre le <<pouvoir de la noblesse>> et le <<chatiment "sauvage">>, soulignant ainsi la cruaute et la violence qui se cachaient derriere la facade civilisee du Pacte de famille.

Si Davis-Fisch s'attarde aux tensions auxquelles etaient confrontes les colons dans leur quete de pouvoir et d'autorite, je me penche, pour ma part, sur les debats occasionnes par l'arrivee de compagnies de theatre etrangeres sur le comportement du gentleman. Dans <<An "Unmanly and Insidious Attack": Child Actress Jean Davenport and the Performance of Masculinity in 1840s Jamaica and Newfoundland>>, j'analyse la controverse qu'ont suscite les spectacles travestis de la jeune comedienne Jean Margaret Davenport dont le pere/gerant disait qu'elle ressemblait au comedien Edmund Kean, decede depuis peu. Quand des critiques de renom ont rejete cette comparaison et ont accuse Davenport de vouloir tromper le public des colonies, ils ont declenche un debat houleux sur <<la responsabilite du public et de la critique, le comportement d'un gentleman et la relation entre colons et etrangers venus de la metropole>>(51, traduction libre). La comparaison entre les reactions suscitees par Jean Davenport en Jamaique et a Terre-Neuve a l'epoque coloniale fait ressortir des similitudes frappantes dans la fa^on dont les colons britanniques ont reagi aux questions de civilite et de masculinite malgre les disparites culturelles et sociales.

Etudiant la transmission d'idees, d'ideologies, de gestes et de pieces qui franchissaient les frontieres a l'epoque coloniale, Roberta Barker s'inscrit dans le <<tournant transnationaliste>> et contribue aux efforts recents qui visent a tracer le mouvement des corps, des idees et des formes spectaculaires a travers les frontieres nationales. Elle cartographie la circulation transatlantique du <<galant invalide>>, un personnage-type reconnu pour sa vulnerabilite physique et affective et son empressement a se sacrifier au profit des autres, dont l'origine remonte a la piece Angele (1833) d'Alexandre Dumas pere et Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois. Avec humour et doigte, Barker fait valoir que <<de telles representations ont fa^onne a la fois la mythologie imperiale britannique et une forme emergeante d'heroisme politique canadien>> (69, traduction libre). Cela se voit notamment dans la representation du general James Wolfe et dans l'image que Sir Wilfrid Laurier projetait de lui-meme.

Deux contributions a la rubrique Forum servent de complement aux articles de ce numero sur le theme du genre, de l'empire et de l'histoire du theatre au Canada. La premiere, intitulee <<Canadian Performance Genealogies>>, est une transcription ecourtee d'une table ronde qui a eu lieu au colloque de l'ACRT de 2013. En prenant comme point de depart le concept de genealogie des representations artistiques de Joseph Roach et celui de <<mot cle>> de Raymond Williams, les six participants a la table ronde (Heather Davis-Fisch, Roberta Barker, Laura Levin, Kim Solga, KirstyJohnston et moi-meme) ont propose toute une serie de mots-cles pour aborder autrement l'histoire du theatre au Canada. Dans <<Women's Theatre Festivals as Counterpublics: Groundswell, FemFest, and The Riveter Series>>, Shelley Scott fait un survol des nouvelles tendances des festivals de theatre au feminin. S'inspirant du concept de <<contre-public>> de Nancy Fraser, elle presente un argument convaincant en faveur de <<la pertinence, encore aujourd'hui, des festivals de theatre de femmes comme lieu de soutien a la dramaturgie>> (103, traduction libre). La contribution de Scott rappelle aux lecteurs l'importance de viser l'egalite des sexes au sein de la profession theatrale et s'inscrit dans l'esprit de ce numero, qui concoit le genre comme <<une categorie utile a l'analyse historique>> (J. Scott, traduction libre).

Je m'adresse a vous maintenant a titre de redactrice en chef de RtaC pour vous annoncer quelques changements importants au sein de notre equipe. D'abord, j'ai le plaisir de souhaiter la bienvenue a Roberta Barker, Susan Bennett, Erin Hurley et Glen Nichols, qui sont maintenant membres de notre comite editorial. Ces derniers apportent de nombreuses annees d'experience editoriale et de recherches a une equipe deja solide. Ensuite, je suis heureuse d'annoncer que Michelle MacArthur prendra en charge les comptes rendus de livres a compter de janvier 2014. Michelle remplacera Erin Hurley, qui quitte cette fonction mais n'abandonne pas pour autant la revue (heureusement!). Au cours des quatre dernieres annees, Erin a veille a la publication de dizaines de comptes rendus. Le souci qu'elle a eu de presenter des reuvres publiees en francais et en anglais et son engagement a solliciter un large eventail d'auteurs (etudiants de deuxieme et troisieme cycles, chercheurs en debut de carriere et chercheurs chevronnes) tant au Canada qu'a l'etranger ont fourni un apport precieux a la revue. Merci, Erin, pour ces annees de service.

CEuvres citees

Filewod, Alan. Committing Theatre: Theatre Radicalism and Political Intervention in Canada. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2011. Imprime.

Levine, Philippa. Gender and Empire. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007. Imprime.

Scott, Joan Wallach. <<Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis>>. The American Historical Review 91.5 (dec. 1986): 1053-1075. Web. 13 sept. 2013.

Stoler, Ann Laura, ed. Haunted By Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History. Durham et Londres: Duke UP, 2006. Imprime.


(1) Je dois remercier mon collegue Stephen Johnson pour son appui et pour m'avoir invitee en 2011 a proposer l'idee d'un numero special au redacteur en chef de Rtac, Glen Nichols. A l'epoque, je n'etais pas du tout affiliee a la revue, et les articles etaient soumis a une evaluation par des pairs menee sous la direction de Glen.

MARLIS SCHWEITZER (with Stephen Johnson) (1)

MARLIS SCHWEITZER (avec Stephen Johnson) (1)

MARLIS SCHWEITZER is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at York University. She is the author of When Broadway Was the Runway: Theater, Fashion, and American Culture and has published articles in such journals as Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Theatre Research in Canada, Canadian Theatre Review, Performing Arts Resources, and TDR. She has co-edited issues of Canadian Theatre Review (on Celebrity Culture, with Laura Levin) and Performance Research 16.3: Performing Publics (with Laura Levin, Melanie Bennett, and Richard Gough) and is co-editing a volume of essays on performing objects and theatrical things with Joanne Zerdy. The research in this issue is part of a SSHRC-funded research project on nineteenth century child performers. She is the Editor of Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches theatrales au Canada.
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Title Annotation:INTRODUCTION
Author:Schweitzer, Marlis
Publication:Theatre Research in Canada
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Mar 22, 2014
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