Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

December 2015

December 23, 2015


December 22, 2015


Many years ago I lived in an apartment with Babe Rainbow. When I moved out and then got married, the Babe took a different path but she turned up recently and once again adorns the walls of my office.

Babe Rainbow is one of a series of "fictitious lady wrestlers" imagined in 1968 by the British artist Peter Blake. Blake is still going strong, as...

December 17, 2015

According to BookNet Canada, 88 percent of Canadians read at least one book last year. I guess that is good news; apparently only 76 percent of Americans did.

But if you are going to read just one book in 2016, then I'd like to recommend that you make it the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was released earlier this week.

The summary of the report is online,...

December 15, 2015

I should acknowledge the recent death of British scholar Benedict Anderson since I so shamelessly ripped off his notion of "imagined communities" for my 1997 book National Dreams. Anderson, who wrote many books, was an historian of nationalism as well as an expert on Southeast Asia.

I thought when I wrote Dreams, and I still think, that it is very useful to think of Canada as, well, imaginary. Or perhaps...

December 13, 2015

Courtesy of Sam Sullivan and Lynn Zanatta, I was fed a very nice meal at the Pacific Rim Hotel one day last week.

The occasion was a luncheon, hosted by the dynamic duo, to celebrate and publicize their "Documents of Early Vancouver" project. The project is a website containing transcriptions of the minutes of early council meetings in the city. Sam, a former mayor and current MLA, is also an enthusiastic student of...