The War of 1812 Bicentennial in Canada and Russia: Two approaches to Commemoration

by Konstantin ROMANOV

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ABSTRACTThe War of 1812, one of the major international conflicts of the 19th century, is a significant landmark that impacted both Canadian and Russian history. The bicentennial of the War of 1812 – as it is known in both countries – was extensively commemorated and used in Canada and Russia as significant identity markers. National capitals – Ottawa and Moscow – broadly celebrated the bicentennial of each war and devoted large museum spaces for the War of 1812 as a part of commemoration.The paper compares the perspectives and narratives presented at the “Four Wars of 1812” exhibition at Canadian War Museum in Ottawa and the new “Museum of the Patriotic War of 1812” in Moscow.KEYWORDS

War of 1812, bicentennial, Canadian War Museum, Napoleon, Alexander I, Battle of Queenston Heights, Battle of Borodino, the Battle of York, Tecumseh, Kutusov, the Burning of Washington.


Konstantin Romanov has joined the School of Canadian Studies as a Russian post-doctoral fellow in September 2012 for one year. He is a graduate of the Moscow State University, where he completed his Ph.D. project in Culture Studies in 2009. The topic of his thesis was ‘The creative personality of E. Pauline Johnson and the development of Canada ’s national identity’. The goal of his research at Carleton is to analyze the modern tradition of Canadian Studies in Canada and to collect up-to-date materials for an introductory course in Russia . The findings of the research are to be publicized in a book which is to be used as a manual for students enrolled in North American Studies programs in Russian universities. The task of compiling such a course book is highly relevant today when the focus of North American Studies programs in Russia is shifting to embrace Canadian issues. The manual is to be compiled under the supervision of Dr. Richard Clippingdale, an Adjunct Research Professor in the School.

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