Westward Bound

Westward Bound : Sex, Violence, the Law, and the Making of a Settler Society

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This book will be welcomed by social and legal historians, those withan interest in colonial and frontier history, as well as scholars andstudents of law and gender.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 360 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 27.94mm | 520g
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • English
  • 13 b&w photos and illustrations, 3 maps, 12 tables
  • 077481859X
  • 9780774818599
  • 1,969,003

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Westward Bound debunks the myth of Canada's peaceful West and the masculine conceptions of law and violence upon which it rests by shifting the focus from Mounties and whisky traders to criminal cases involving women between 1886 and 1940. Erickson's analysis of these cases shows that, rather than a desire to protect, official responses to the most intimate or violent acts betrayed an impulse to shore up the liberal order by maintaining boundaries between men and women, Native people and newcomers, and capital and labour. Victims and accused could only hope to harness entrenched ideas about masculinity, femininity, race, and class in their favour. This fascinating exploration of hegemony and resistance in key contact zones draws prairie Canada into larger debates about law, colonialism, and nation building.
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Table of contents



1 Fruitful Land, Happy Homes, Manly Titans: Settlement Frontiers,Law, and the Intimate in Colonialism and Nation Building

2 They Know No Better: Maintaining Race and Managing Domestic Spaceat the Fringes of Civilization

3 The Most Public of Private Women: Prostitutes, Reformers, andPolice Courts

4 The Farmer, the Pioneer Woman, and the Hired Hand: SexualViolence, Seduction, and the Boundaries of Class

5 For Family, Nation, and Empire: Policing Drugs, Abortion, andHeterosexuality in the Interwar City

6 The Might of a Good Strong Hand: Domestic Violence, Wife Murder,and Incest

7 She Is to Be Pitied, Not Punished: The Murderess, the WomanQuestion, and the Capital Punishment Debate




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Review quote

This exploration of hegemony and resistance debunks the myth of Canada's peaceful settlement of the West. * Prairie Books Now, No. 59, Summer 2012 * Fascinating...Erickson's substantive incorporation of elements beyond the text, including courthouse architecture, prairie visual culture and police photography, also enliven her discussion of legal and sociocultural developments...scholars of western Canadian legal, sex-trade and cultural history will find this book a valuable and engaging addition to both teaching and research. -- Laurie K. Bertram, University of Alberta * Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, Vol. 13 No. 3, Winter 2012 *
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About Lesley Erickson

Lesley Erickson is a historian and editor whospecializes in the history of gender, law, and nation building inwestern Canada.
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