Multicultural Cold War: Liberal Anti-Totalitarianism and National Identity in the United States and Canada, 1935-1971

by Smolynec, Gregory

Abstract (Summary)
In Cold War North America, liberal intellectuals constructed the Canadian and American national identities in contrast to totalitarianism. Theorists of totalitarianism described Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as monolithic societies marked by absolutism and intolerance toward societal differences. In response, many intellectuals imagined Canada and the United States as pluralistic nations that valued diversity. The ways in which Canadians and Americans imagined their respective national identities also varied with epistemological trends that were based on the ideas of totalitarianism and its correlate, anti-totalitarianism. These trends emphasized particularity and diversity. Using archival sources, interviews with policy-makers, and analysis of key texts, Multicultural Cold War outlines the history of theories of totalitarianism, related trends in epistemology, the genealogy of the social sciences, and the works of Canadian and American proponents of cultural pluralism and multiculturalism. It centers attention on Canada and the United States where the unreflective ideology of anti-totalitarianism was widespread and the postwar enthusiasm for ethnicity and cultural pluralism became especially pronounced. In the U.S.A. this enthusiasm found expression among public intellectuals who defined cultural pluralism in their scholarship and social criticism. In Canada, discourses of multiculturalism originated in the hearings of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism and the political thought of Pierre Elliot Trudeau. This dissertation shows that enthusiasm for sub-national group particularity, pluralism, and diversity was a transnational North American trend.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Thompson, John Herd; Lerner, Warren; Thorne, Susan; Shanahan, Suzanne

School:Duke University

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:multiculturalism pluralism canada united states national identity totalitarianism


Date of Publication:05/03/2007

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.