Compelled to Act

Histories of Women’s Activism in Western Canada

Reviewed by Henrietta Roi

Posted December 1, 2021

In the wake of the Idle No More movement, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the #MeToo movement, there has been a renewed interest in histories of women’s activism. But there has been relatively little scholarship that focuses on the history of women’s activism in Western Canada.

Compelled to Act is intended to address this gap. The book is a collection of essays, all but one of which stem from presentations made at a 2016 conference at the University of Alberta. Together, the essays delve into neglected areas of the history of women’s activism and provide a fascinating exploration of some lesser- known topics.

One essay, by Stephanie Bangrath, tells of Japanese-Canadian women who contributed to community newspapers while they were incarcerated during the Second World War. Bangrath includes a clipping from one of the newspapers that presents a wartime recipe. Other contributors to the collection explore women’s involvement with agricultural, religious, and social progress.

The volume is co-edited by Sarah Carter, who is a professor in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta, and Nanci Langford, an academic coordi- nator in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at Athabasca University.

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This article originally appeared in the December 2021-January 2022 issue of Canada's History.

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