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Negotiated Memory: Doukhobor Autobiographical Discourse

Negotiated Memory: Doukhobor Autobiographical Discourse (Paperback)

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The Doukhobors, Russian-speaking immigrants who arrived in Canada

beginning in 1899, are known primarily to the Canadian public through

the sensationalist images of them as nude protestors, anarchists, and

religious fanatics -- representations largely propagated by government

commissions and the Canadian media. In Negotiating Memory,

Julie Rak examines the ways in which autobiographical strategies have

been employed by the Doukhobors themselves in order to retell and

reclaim their own history.

Drawing from oral interviews, court documents, government reports,

prison diaries, and media accounts, Rak demonstrates how the Doukhobors

employed both "classic" and alternative forms of

autobiography to communicate their views about communal living,

vegetarianism, activism, and spiritual life, as well as to pass on

traditions to successive generations. More than a historical work, this

book brings together recent theories concerning subjectivity,

autobiography, and identity, and shows how Doukhobor autobiographical

discourse forms a series of ongoing negotiations for identity and

collective survival that are sometimes successful and sometimes


An innovative study, Negotiating Memory will appeal to

those interested in autobiography studies as well as to historians,

literary critics, and students and scholars of Canadian cultural


Julie Rak is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Alberta.

More books by Julie Rak

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