Wilderness and multiculturalism are frequently invoked as central features of the official national imagination in Canada, but seldom are these foundational ideas recognized as genealogically proximate. Instead, both are routinely made to occupy discrete cognitive spaces, with the effect being that they are reified as distinct zones of Canadian life, and imagined as having emerged at two very distinct moments in the Canadian national narrative. Against the grain of this conventional interpretation, this paper offers a counterreading of wilderness and multiculturalism in Canadian political culture—one that seeks to disrupt their presupposed autonomy by rendering them simultaneous moments in a particular racialized historical geography. The paper elaborates this proposition by critically examining two popular works by Canadian landscape painter Lawren Stewart Harris. It concludes with some remarks on the political implications of the argument.
Baldwin, W. (2009). The White Geography of Lawren Stewart Harris: Whiteness and the Performative Coupling of Multiculturalism and Nature in Canada. Environment and Planning A, 41(3), 529-544. https://doi.org/10.1068/a40110