Dr. Rachael Alexander is currently a Teaching Associate in English Literature and a Research Associate in Journalism at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Her work focuses on twentieth-century transnational magazine cultures, and her first monograph—Imagined Women: Gender, Nation, and Consumerism in American and Canadian Magazines of the 1920s—is forthcoming with Anthem Press.
In Citizens and Nation (2000), Gerald Friesen makes a compelling argument that “the very acts of communication—the social contexts created by voice, writing, print and modern electronic forms—establish a framework for citizenship and nationality and thus Canada.” Canadian magazines undoubtedly played a significant role in the negotiation and articulation of constructions of national identity and citizenship, privileging certain characteristics over others. Indeed, the centrality of both familial and national conceptions of the home is evident in the titles and taglines of the Canadian Home Journal (1905–1958) and The Western Home Monthly (1899–1932). Both titles contained a similar format and range of content and—like the vast majority of Canadian magazines—made use of the now recognizable stylistic and economic models which had been tried and tested in the United States. This is perhaps why Canadian magazines have often been rather unflatteringly dismissed as merely derivative of their American counterparts. Yet these assumptions ignore the complexities of these texts, particularly in relation to the ways in which Canadian magazines constructed their readership and worked towards aims which were, at times, highly distinct from those of American publications.