Stone Bodies in the City: Unmapping Monuments, Memory, and Belonging in Ottawa

  • Author / Creator
    Davidson, Tonya Katherine
  • In this ethnographic study of the dynamic lives of a population of monuments in Ottawa, I argue that long after they have been unveiled, monuments are imbued with many capacities to act. Monuments inspire loathing or affection, and settle or disturb dominant understandings of place, nation, race, and gender. I suggest that monuments have these affective capabilities because they operate like ‘stone bodies’ in their urban environments. Additionally, spirited with a certain life-force, monuments have the ability to haunt, unsettling relationships between place, memory, and belonging. These affective charges of monuments are felt and expressed through articulations of imperial and colonial nostalgia, feminist and other activist mobilities and various articulations of patriotism. To understand the affective power of monuments I developed an understanding of unmapping as a methodological perspective. I define unmapping as a practice that attends to the discursive and affective motility of monuments through using methods like narrative ethnography that attend to movements through space, and site genealogies that attend to shifts within and around monuments over time. I focus on four monuments in downtown Ottawa: the National War Memorial, a monument to the French explorer Samuel de Champlain accompanied by an Aboriginal Scout, a monument to murdered women titled, “Enclave: the Women’s Monument” and the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights. I was also inspired by a monument to War of 1812 heroine Laura Secord, and Champlain’s lost-and-found astrolabe to create narrative ethnographic accounts of Ottawa flanerie attuned to representations and absences of women and Aboriginality in the built environment.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Gismondi, Michael
    • Dorow, Sara
    • Mookerjea, Sourayan
    • Till, Karen
    • Carter, Sarah