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Death in the DiasporaBritish and Irish Gravestones$
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Nicholas Evans and Angela McCarthy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474473781

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474473781.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Looking for Thistles in Stone Gardens: The Cemeteries of Nova Scotia’s Scottish Immigrants1

Looking for Thistles in Stone Gardens: The Cemeteries of Nova Scotia’s Scottish Immigrants1

Chapter:
(p.81) 4 Looking for Thistles in Stone Gardens: The Cemeteries of Nova Scotia’s Scottish Immigrants1
Source:
Death in the Diaspora
Author(s):

Laurie Stanley-Blackwell

Michael Linkletter

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474473781.003.0004

By focusing on the burial sites of northeastern Nova Scotia’s Scottish immigrants, this article demonstrates that their cemeteries were varied and complex places, which defy a uniform reading.  An analysis of such metrics as Gaelic language use, stated place of origin (i.e., parish, county, Scotland or North Britain), prevalence of thistle images and Christian iconography gives a verbal and visual dimension to the discussion of whether death was a catalyst for conformist expression among Scottish immigrants and whether they opted for pictorial or linguistic signifiers of identity. In their cemeteries, Scottishness was negotiated, new meanings of belonging forged, status aspirations articulated, and religious differences spatially enforced. It is in their last resting places that one sees vividly displayed the forces of change and continuity, tradition and innovation, and retention and adjustment, which reshaped their lives and deaths as immigrants.

Keywords:   Nova Scotia, cemeteries, thistles, Gaelic, identity, Scottish immigrants, Canada

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