Being Irish on the Prairies: Repertoire, Performance, and Environment in Oral History Narratives of Winnipeg Irish CanadiansPublic Deposited
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This thesis applies Diana Taylor’s concept of repertoire to oral history interviews with ten first generation Irish Canadians living in Winnipeg who emigrated between 1957 and 2012. It argues that traditional performances, such as music and dance, have acquired a provenance with particular histories. This has made them both meaningful and politically contentious expressions of Irish identity. Memory tensions emerged when the performances were integrated into a new repertoire in Canada. Taylor’s concept is modified and applied to embodied encounters with landscape and weather. As experiences of a new place are incorporated into a spatial repertoire, they become infused with emotional significance, and emigrants’ stories about visiting Ireland, surviving Manitoban winters, or driving across flat prairie spaces, communicate feelings of displacement and belonging. Accompanying this thesis is a website which further explores emotional memories in these interviews through an audio exhibit (www.beingirishontheprairies.ca).
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