Spreading the Light: Work and Labour Reform in Late-Nineteenth-Century Toronto by Christina Burr
8vo. pp. x, 254. b/w illustrations. bibliography. index. paperback wrs. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, .
ISBN-10: 0802079083 / ISBN-13: 9780802079084
This book explores new evidence on the gendered nature of working-class experience and on gender relations within the Toronto working class. Christina Burr presents case studies of the printing and garment industries to demonstrate how class, race, and especially gender were integral to the politics of work and labour reform in nineteenth-century Toronto.
One of the unique features of the study is Burr's use of workers' poetry, fiction, and political cartoons as source material. Language, symbols, and popular culture, in addition to economic factors, are examined to reveal how the working class experienced their world. Burr employs a deconstructionist cultural materialist approach to explain the strategies by which power relations were produced and reproduced by Toronto labour reformers.
In addition to being a valuable scholarly contribution, Spreading the Light is a focused study that will prove to be a popular book in Canadian social history, women's history, and labour history courses.