Swipes File #32: Sewing

20093-political-cartoon-andrew SUTURE Jess Jackson quilt John Miller Baer 1917-01-04 see also suture and conrad quilt

John Miller Baer – 4 January 1917

Mauldin - Suture - 15 May 1963b

Mauldin – “Suture” – 15 May 1963

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“I just have to ask…”

Three of the best / my favo(u)rite questions that I have been asked about Canada (since, ya know, I have a BA, MA, and am ABD in the doctoral program in Canadian Studies) are as follows:

(1) Do they have Halloween in Canada?”

Answer: Yes, in the (US)American sense, they do have Halloween in Canada. Many Canadians do dress up and go trick or treating on Halloween. There are great sales on candy and chocolate bars on November 1, too, if that’s your thing.

(2) “Do they have gas stations in Canada?”

Answer: Yes, there are gas stations in Canada. The main difference between gas stations in the US and Canada is that the prices are in gallons (US) and thimbles (CAN) or some metric thing.

(3) If you die in Canada, do you die in real life?”




Asking questions is a useful way to learn things that you didn’t know before, and I strongly endorse the behavio(u)r. These questions are simply illuminating to me (and, likely, other Can-Stud-iers) when considering the amount of US-Canada myth debunking work yet to be done!

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Old Timey Easter Bonnets

Columbia's Easter Bonnet

“Columbia’s Easter bonnet” by Samuel D. Ehrhart, Puck, 6 April 1901.

The Easter Hat

“The Easter hat” by Udo J. Keppler, Puck, 8 April 1903.

9 April 1911, Berryman

9 April 1911, Berryman

John Miller Baer, 20 January 1919

John Miller Baer, 20 January 1919

John Miller Baer, 1917

John Miller Baer, 1917

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Swipes File #31: The White Man’s Burden


“A White Man’s Burden” – Portsmouth Daily Times
5 December 1911

LOT 7862 white man's burden

“The White Man’s Burden” - Boston Evening Record
8 February 1898

The White Man's Burden - Gillam - 1899

“The White Man’s Burden” – Gillam – 1900

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Ukraine vs. USA in carto-caricatures

A member of the Washington Map Society recently shared this cartoon map (carto-caricature!) from The Independent (UK), including this commentary:

Francis Herbert [wrote]: “In The Independent (London) of today (Tuesday) 18 March 2014, is a politically [un-]correct [?] cartographic cartoon by a regular contributing artist, Dave Brown. For those familiar with the term, it is of ‘The Russian Bear’ type, showing a ferociously hungry bear’s open salivating jaw about to snap up a red (bloody?)-coloured Crimean peninsula. The map extends across the states of the northern Black Sea (including an insular Moldova) area.”

Here is the cartoon, with three others that popped up in my search:


From The Independent.


The Russian bear is a long standing, popular trope, as this cartoon from The Red Phoenix demonstrates. (These are just two of many cartoons to use the Russian bear.)


An unattractive troll-goalie-Putin, again from The Independent.


An abstract representation on the consumption of territory, again from The Independent.

On Facebook, EZH posted an interesting article from CBC News, “The Ukraine crisis through the whimsy of international law,” which reads, in part (at the beginning part, enticing you to read more, no?):

Listening to U.S. President Barack Obama bang on this week about the importance of world opinion and obeying international law and respecting sovereignty and being on the right side of history, you had to wonder whether he didn’t have a little voice in his head whispering: “Really? Seriously? I’m actually saying this stuff?”

This is the commander-in-chief of a military that operates a prison camp on Cuban soil, against the explicit wishes of the Cuban government, and which regularly fires drone missiles into other countries, often killing innocent bystanders.

He is a president who ordered that CIA torturers would go unprosecuted, and leads a nation that has invaded other countries whenever it wished, regardless of what the rest of the world might think.

This immediately brought to mind some on-topic carto-carictures (the first from 2014, the second from 2009):


This image by Ted Rall is relevant to my research area because of its depiction of territory and territorial appropriation. The entire map could be white and say “Stolen from Indigenous Peoples,” and the caricature of US President Barack Obama calls for a critique of racism (links to the most extensive piece that I found on the topic over at the Daily Kos). There are layers of deconstruction possible for each part of the image, and I’m sharing it here primarily because of the territorial representation, but despite this focus, I don’t want to ignore the radicalized (EDIT: should read “racialized,” but auto-correct has its own spelling ideas!) representation of Obama.

D09510_3600 copyThe caricatured person here in this cartoon is Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, current Prime Minister of Israel. Again, I am setting aside discussions of racialized depictions of Netanyahu to focus on the depiction of land and territory, but this conversation is happening.

And just so we’re not letting Canada off the hook, here’s Everett Soop’s commentary:

SOOP m-9028-63a_141He is referring to the genocide of the Beothuk people:

Screen Shot 2014-03-30 at 1.52.15 PM

Here, I’ll recommend additional reading on the role of maps in Indigenous land claims in Canada.

Lots to consider regarding the daily implications of geo-politics, representation, and sovereignty.

UPDATE: Here are two more carto-caricatures of Ukraine from Graeme Mackay.

Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator, 4 March 2014

Graeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator, 4 March 2014

Tuesday March 25, 2014

Graeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator, 25 March 2014

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Swipes File #30: Cycles of Empire

Coasting Political Cartoon by Victor Gillam

 F. Victor Gillam (c1858-1920)


RaceyMontreal Witness – circa 1898

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North American merger much?

Last month, the Canada Institute hosted a discussion of Diane Francis’s recent book Merger of the Century: Why Canada and America Should Become One Country. (Link goes to the webcast of the 2-hour event.)


The cover page reminded me of something, so I poked around in the McCord Museum archives until I found it:


“Canada-American Relations” by Aislin (Terry Mosher), Montreal Gazette, 1987

And of course, there’s:

Fight for Canada David OrchardCanamerican Union Now! D K DonnellyAmerica_But_Better







The more things change… you know the rest!

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Koozie versus cozy

April Fool’s Day seems as good a day as any to continue the “what are you doing, Canada?” segment of this blog.

Last summer while camping, the terminology regarding the most important piece of camping equipment came under debate.

Photo by Jim Jim.

Photo by Jim Jim. Dinner also by Jim Jim. Beer from Joe’s.

Apparently, Canadians (if I may speak in generalizations) call this a “cozy” (although, knowing them, they probably spell it “cosy”).

However, as some (but not all) of the USAmericans that I polled (using the “willy nilly” methodological approach to gathering data) said that obviously that item is called a koozie (and wikipedia agrees! But don’t tell anyone that I used that as a trump card).

As I pointed out to the Canadian co-campers, a cozy is basically a hat that keeps your tea pot cozy and warm, while a koozie keeps your beer cool.


We might have to agree to disagree, but it’s an interesting debate – one that corresponds to some rather neat linguistic maps that pop up on the Internet from time to time:


See also: the debate about saying “cheese string” or “string cheese” (for the entirety of HP’s visit in March).

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“Canada-US Border” lecture digitized by a Luddite

For all that you are reading this on my blog, I can be reluctant to learn new digital things, which is why it took me about four days to upload this lecture. (And my personal desktop background appears at the beginning of each presentation. What a faux pas!)

It was my first try at this on-line course stuff, so I would appreciate any constructive feedback from seasoned on-line instructors out there (or from audience members!).

You know it’s full of cartoon maps (carto-caricatures!), so go ahead and learn about the Canada-US Border…

INTRODUCTION (Starts about 10 seconds in cuz it was my first try!)

PART 1: Maps and Cartoons

PART 2: Mapping North America

PART 3: The 49th Parallel

–> There’s a silent five minute gap in Part 3 where Canada & The United States: Bizarre Borders Part 2 is playing but doesn’t have sound!

PART 4: Northern Borders

PART 5: Think Tanks Think About the Border

CONCLUSION: Does it ever really end? (Everett Soop gets the last word!)

The lecture was developed for an introductory Canadian Studies course at Carleton University, hence my glib-ness at times.

If you’re looking for tips on creating a digital lecture, all I can tell you is that I used Camtasia and Screencast and didn’t have the worst time with either (although I lost one section in Camtasia and had to re-record it, and I couldn’t figure out how to upload files to Screencast without exporting them as mp4s first, so again, any advice is welcome!).

It was hard to balance sass and jokes with utter silence, so it may be a bit dry. I’d be glad to hear from others who have made lecturing into a headset more lively!

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Chicago Map Society Meeting Notes

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to present one of my dissertation chapters to the Chicago Map Society at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Jim was kind enough to point out in his introduction that, although I have been a member of the society since 2011, this was my first time actually attending a meeting… but it definitely won’t be my last! The Chicago Map Society hosts a range of speakers on many interesting topics.

Here’s the handy advertisement postcard that they sent out for the talk:


For those who couldn’t make it, I’ve recorded a version of the talk: “‘To hell and gone:’ Cartoon Maps of Alaska since 1867.” It’s about 25 minutes long, with lots of pictures of maps and cartoons and cartoon maps (what I call “carto-caricatures,” and you may quote me). I promise I’m much funnier and more enthusiastic in person, but I figured if I ever want to launch a podcast, I’d better start practicing.

I’m sure you’re wondering: who is she wearing?!


 Photo by ELM.

I’d like to give a shout out to Grandma for the lovely homemade nautical map skirt (WITH POCKETS), JKZ for finding the fabric, SS for the map-on-Scrabble-piece necklace, ELM for the socks and shoes (not pictured) and lunch, NYC for the giant yellow bag, Gram Rose for the jacket, HP for taking me shopping for the blouse, Jim Jim for the rings, TRM for the bracelet, and EZH for the earrings.

Everyone was very impressed by the pocketed skirt – they said it was a nice response to the male speaker tradition of wearing map neckties. Luckily, I dragged my Grandma along so she could collect compliments.

Thank you to everyone who helped me practice, made it out to the Newberry, asked questions or offered comments, and hosted me for dinner afterward! It was great to meet the other members of the Chicago Map Society. I couldn’t have asked for a better first meeting!

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