Shannon Conway Abstract

Shannon Conway
PhD Candidate, History
University of Ottawa

National Project, Regional Perspective: Newfoundland, Canada and Identities, 1949-1991

The Canadian government has long striven for the development of an official national identity grounded in a cohesive sense of national unity, but this has been in contrast to the regional reality of the Canadian nation-state. The postwar period reveals increased concern within Canada regarding its national identity, when the federal government was attempting to construct an intrinsic identity and trying to encode what it meant to be Canadian.
When Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, it became an additional element in this enduring struggle, especially so when it began a cultural revival in the decades after Confederation. This cultural revival further entrenched its distinct identity during the same period in which they were acclimatising to their new Canadian reality.
The main goals of this dissertation are to comprehend how Newfoundland understood official Canadian identity in its post-Confederation period and how the province retained a distinct regional identity while becoming a part of Canada.
This project will examine how Newfoundland understood official constructions of Canadian identity during the immediate and midterm post-Confederation period, which will provide a lens to observe how Canada’s official national identity was understood outside of the dominant central-Canada perspective. This alternative regional perspective could provide an understanding of how the realities of Canada’s regionalism play a role in why the official national identity was not as homogenous or uniting as the federal government had idealised. By addressing the national question of Canadian identity through a regional Newfoundland perspective, this project seeks to deepen and expand our knowledge and understanding of modern Canada and its continued regional realities.


J R Smallwood Foundation

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000