- Paperback ISBN: 9781552665213
- Paperback Price: $24.95 CAD
- Publication Date: Aug 2012
- Pages: 224
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Gender and Sexuality
Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists
The freedoms and liberties that every community, workplace and individual in Canada enjoys are due to the many struggles and social movements in our country’s history. Yet the stories, accounts and histories of the movements to overcome racism, sexism and poverty, for example, remain largely untold, thanks to the single, simplistic national story taught to the masses in school. Deftly combining history with accounts from activists and participants in social movements, two new books from Scott Neigh introduce us to the untold histories of two crucial issues in contemporary Canadian society that challenge all of us to engage in the struggles that will shape our shared tomorrow.
Gender and Sexuality unearths a diverse spectrum of struggle through the accounts of longstanding activists and social movement participants. From Indigenous women working against colonization and Christian women trying to end sexism and homophobia in their churches, to gay men opposing sexual oppression and women fighting against hostile employers and violence, this book reveals the ways that gender and sexual oppression — and the struggles against them — have shaped our society.
”This work is a treasure that provides a portal to Canadian history, bringing it alive and urgent through the voices and profound insights of veteran social justice activists, an indispensable guide for present and future generations to carry on these struggles.”
— Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, veteran activist and author
”Never doubt that a few committed people can change Canada (and the world) for the better. Scott Neigh’s oral histories show not only the power of committed idealism, but also how the history of our whole country has been shaped in large part by brave Canadians who refuse to accept the misery and injustice that surrounds us. Read these books to learn how the history of social change organizing is indeed the history of Canada — and then go out and start making your own history.”
— Jim Stanford, union economist and peace activist
Foreword: Encounters with a Radical History From Below (Gary Kinsman) • Introduction • Decolonize Your Mind — Doreen Spence & Donna MacPhee on the Plains Indian Cultural Survival School • Against Company, Church, and State — Madeleine Parent and the Dominion Textile Strike of 1946 • Women Against Violence (Part I) — Lee Lakeman on Feminist Anti-Violence Activism in Woodstock and Vancouver • Women Against Violence (Part II) — Shree Mulay & Sadeqa Siddiqui on Feminist Anti-Violence Activism in Montreal • Living Rooms, Bed Rooms, and the Streets — Chris Vogel & Richard North on Gay Liberation in Winnipeg • Women’s Liberation and the Lord — Shelley Finson on Feminism in Christian Churches • Conclusion • References •Index
About the AuthorSCOTT NEIGH is a professional writer, researcher and media producer.
History is often described as being written by the victors; a single story in which voices of struggle and resistance are often lost. Scott Neigh’s pair of books, Resisting the State and Gender and Sexuality, work to counteract this dominant account of history, recording “Canadian history from below through the words of long-time activists.” Neigh’s books tell the history of opposition, oppression and struggle. These are the voices of the people that resisted settlement, resisted residential schools, resisted war, resisted the dominant paradigm of racism, sexism, ableism and heteronormativity.
Each chapter in the books contains the story of a particular activist, told in their own words through interviews conducted with the author. These personal stories are prefaced with thoroughly researched commentaries by Neigh, taking the very specific story of one person and giving it a context within centuries of world history. For instance, the preface to an interview with Lynn Jones, a Black woman who fought for power and respect within the labour movement, contains a history of the African Nova Scotian community going back to 1605, explaining the impact of the slave trade, the destruction of Africville, and the legal struggles of Viola Desmond.
More importantly, Neigh weaves the chapters together, showing the connections between the fights for Indigenous sovereignty, against domestic violence, for immigration reform, for LGBT rights, and against the psychiatry movement. As 2013 kicked off with the rise of Idle No More, the words of Josephine Grey, founder of Low Income Families Together (LIFT), resound: “I may never see another success for as long as I live, but I made a promise... If the seeds that I plant today sprout in six hundred years, I don’t care, I’m going to do it anyway. I’m just going to keep going.”- Michelle Schwartz for Shameless, Issue 23
There are many ways to examine the past.
In his latest collection of work, Scott Neigh looks at history from the eyes of an activist.
The Sudburian has been part of his fair share of social movements, but has more recently taken to documenting some of the biggest fights from modern history.
Using conversations with activists as his primary source of data, he tells the stories the way they say them.
”A very broad and diverse group” of people from across the country shared their stories of what it was like to live through various historical accounts. Many of the people he spoke to were seniors, who actually experienced what is now considered history.
”We tend not to hear how important their struggles were,” Neigh said. “It shaped our Canada of today.”
Not only does the writer recount what happened, he makes a point to write about how historic lessons can be applied today.
”I’m hoping they can be a useful resource to spark conversations about thinking differently about history and thinking differently about Canada,” he said.
”There are two broad groups of people who will be interested in this book–people interested in history...and people who are involved somehow in social change work.”
So far, he has published two books from the lens of activism. Resisting the State and Gender and Sexuality tackle different elements of his research.
Audio clips from interviews, and other related material, can be found at www.talkgingradical.ca.–by Jenny Jelen for NorthernLife.ca