BookLook 2013

BookLook 2013

BookLook 2013
BookLook 2013 Titles

BookLook 2013 Titles

Last year, I wrote about the historical geography / environmental history titles I saw while trolling the book fair at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. I’m not making it to Congress this year, but the books, they keep on a’comin’. Here are some published since BookLook 2012 to keep an eye out for. That is, for which you should keep an eye out. Or rather, for which you should keep out an eye. A preposition is not something to end a sentence with.

Start at the UBC Press table: the Nature/History/Society series celebrates its 20th title this year. Having heard Darcy Ingram at the ASEH offer a distinct take on early Canadian environmentalism, I’m especially interested in reading Wildlife, Conservation, and Conflict in Quebec, 1840-1914. But I also look forward to Sean Kheraj’s Inventing Stanley Park: An Environmental History, because I know him well, and Caroline Desbiens’ Power from the North: Territory, Identity, and the Culture of Hydroelectricity in Quebec, because I don’t know her well. UBC also has geographer Bruce Erickson’s Canoe Nation: Nature, Race, and the Making of a Canadian Iconcoming out this month, and the collection Social Transformation in Rural Canada has a clear historical component.

The other two of the big three Canadian university presses, Toronto and McGill-Queen’s, have to date largely given over the environmental history / historical geography field to UBC. But McGill-Queen’s has launched its Rural, Wildland, and Resource Studies series this year with Peter A. Russell’s How Agriculture Made Canada: Farming in the Nineteenth Century. And Toronto has The Oak Ridges Moraine Battles: Development, Sprawl, and Nature Conservation in the Toronto Region by Anders Sandberg, Gerda Wekerle, and Liette Gilbert coming out.

Much more is happening at some of the smaller presses. NiCHE supports the Canadian History & Environment series at University of Calgary Press; alas, there are no new titles in the series this season. But I promise that Jennifer Bonnell and Marcel Fortin’s edited Historical GIS Research in Canadawill be a great stocking stuffer come Christmas. (While waiting at the Calgary table, test drive Christopher Armstrong and HV Nelles’ Wilderness and Waterpower: How Banff National Park Became a Hydroelectric Storage Reservoir.) Wilfrid Laurier Press has also embraced environmental titles, and has a vibrant Environmental Humanities series developing. This fall will see the release of Sustaining the West: Cultural Responses to Western Environments, Past and Present, edited by Liza Piper and Lisa Szabo-Jones. (Map Worlds: A History of Women in Cartography, by Will. C. van den Hoonaard, also looks interesting.) And this spring Acadiensis Press published the NiCHE-supported collection Land and Sea: Environmental History in Atlantic Canada, edited by Claire E. Campbell and Robert Summerby-Murray. Full disclosure: I have a chapter in it. Fuller disclosure: It’s still good.

And don’t forget Andrew Nikiforuk, author of The Energy of Slaves … and Tar Sands …and Empire of the Beetle …and lot’s more. Environmentally-minded, historically-minded, politically-minded, Canadian, read. He’s a real source of inspiration and envy for me these days.

Cigars for all the proud parents of these books. I look forward to reading, researching, and teaching from all of you. Have I forgotten anyone? Undoubtedly. Email me with more titles, or add them via the Comments below.

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I am a Professor in the Department of History at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. I was Director of NiCHE, 2004-15. You can reach me at

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  1. Sean Kheraj says:

    Frank Zelko’s Make it a Greenpeace!: The Rise of Countercultural Environmentalism came out earlier this month from Oxford University Press. More details are available here:

    Frank spoke a bit about this research on episode 35 of Nature’s Past

  2. That’s a nice list of upcoming books, I’m looking forward to reading some of them! I have two more for the list – both are edited volumes that grew out of two international workshops that I arranged in Sweden and Norway, and both were supported by NiCHE (and both books have Canadian contributors).

    The first is New Natures: Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies, edited by Dolly Jørgensen, Finn Arne Jørgensen, and Sara B. Pritchard, and published by University of Pittsburgh Press. The articles in this volume broadens the dialogue between the disciplines of science and technology studies (STS) and environmental history in hopes of deepening and even transforming understandings of human-nature interactions. The volume presents historical studies that engage with key STS theories, offering models for how these theories can help crystallize central lessons from empirical histories, facilitate comparative analysis, and provide a language for complicated historical phenomena. Overall, the collection exemplifies the fruitfulness of cross-disciplinary thinking. It’ll be out in July.

    The second is Northscapes: History, Technology, and the Making of Northern Environments (see page 14 in the linked PDF catalog), edited by Dolly Jørgensen and Sverker Sörlin, and published by University of British Columbia Press. The book argues that the unique environments of the North have been born of the relationship between humans and nature. Approaching the topic through the lens of environmental history, these essays examine a broad range of geographies, including those of Iceland and other islands in the Northern Atlantic, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada, over a time span ranging from CE 800 to 2000. This book is bound together by the intellectual project of investigating the North both as an imagined and mythologized space and as an environment shaped by human technology. It should be out in November.

  3. Tack så mycket, Finn Arne!

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