Colonial Fantasies, Narrative Borders, and the Canadian North in the Works of Germany's Colin Ross(1885-1945)


  • Nicole Pissowotzki University of Toronto



Arkitkse diskurser, Canadas nord, Colin Ross, tysk kolonialisme,


This paper argues that the Canadian North is a discursive construction, within which German colonial fantasies emerge. In particular, I argue that it is through bordering that colonial fantasies of German Lebensraum ("living space") in the Canadian North are brought into being. I further argue that the German biologist and geographer Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904), with his view of the "organic state," provides the ideological framework for colonial fantasies in the travel writings of Colin Ross.

I focus on the writer's colonial imagination and his perception of borders, and on how both relate to the Canadian North. I show that seemingly bare geographical information and demographical data, provided in Ross' travelogues, carry colonial fantasies of German spaces in the Canadian North. Those spaces are bordered by "shared histories" and "narrative boundaries," thus constructing a collective German colonial identity (cf. Eder 2006, 255-257).

Author Biography

Nicole Pissowotzki, University of Toronto

Nicole Pissowotzki is a PhD-candidate and language course instructor in the Dept. of German at the University of Toronto. She has received various scholarships and awards including a five-year doctoral fellowship at the Univ. of Toronto. Most recently, she has been awarded a PhD-Research Scholarship in German-Canadian Studies from the Univ. of Winnipeg for her project "Exploring Canada's ‘Orient': The Image of the Canadian North in German Literature." Currently, she is editing an anthology on North and
Nordicity: Towards the Discursive Construction of North
(Hannover: Wehrhahn Verlag, forthcoming).




How to Cite

Pissowotzki, Nicole. 2009. “Colonial Fantasies, Narrative Borders, and the Canadian North in the Works of Germany’s Colin Ross(1885-1945)”. Nordlit, no. 24 (March):81-97.