Ahhh, springtime, when a young environmental historian’s thoughts turn to books. The thrill of their binding, their firm yet supple spines. Or maybe ebooks are more your thing. The slightest touch yielding immediate response. Deciding for yourself how much font you can handle. Oh baby.
There are so many new Canadian environmental history / historical geography titles coming out that I’ve taken to compiling an annual inventory. The 2013 list is here. Many more have arrived since then, or are soon to be published.
Like last year, it’s the phenomenal number of titles coming out of the smaller Canadian university presses that is most notable. Wilfrid Laurier University Press has a great Environmental Humanities series which this fall will see the release of Liza Piper and Lisa Szabo-Jones’s edited Sustaining the West: Cultural Responses to Western Environments, Past and Present. University of Calgary Press’ Canadian History & Environment series, although saddled with me as an editor, is hitting its stride, with its second title – Jennifer Bonnell and Marcel Fortin’s edited Historical GIS Research in Canada— recently released and a whopping seven more manuscripts in development. (I’m clearly biased, but I’m especially impressed by Calgary’s commitment to open-access. You can go download PDFs of not just the Canadian History & Environment titles, but also books in the Energy, Ecology, and Environment series such as Ella Soper and Nicholas Bradley’s Greening the Maple: Canadian Ecocriticism in Context or Alan MacFadyen and G. Campbell Watkins’ Petropolitics: Petroleum Markets and Regulations – Alberta as an Illustrative History.)
And there are lots more. Athabasca University Press is releasing George Colpitts’ Fish Wars and Trout Travesties: Saving Southern Alberta’s Coldwater Streams in the 1920s. He’s such a good writer, I look forward to that. Ditto for Merle Massie’s Forest Prairie Edge: Place History in Saskatchewan, coming out with University of Manitoba Press – as is Jon Parmenter’s The Edge of the Woods: Iroquoia, 1534-1701. Pearl Ann Reichwein’s Climber’s Paradise: Making Canada’s Mountain Parks, 1906-1974is part of University of Alberta Press’ catalogue.
Don’t get me wrong: the big three Canadian university presses – UBC, McGill-Queen’s, and Toronto – are also producing lots of solid, attractive books in our field. I like the look of Ron Williams’ Landscape Architecture in Canada, from MQUP. And as the dust jacket blurb suggests, I’m a big fan of John Riley’s The Once and Future Great Lakes Country: An Ecological History, which reads as the love child of Donald Creighton and Annie Proulx. (I should have blurbed that.) Maybe it’s more history of science than environmental history, but I’ll be buying Ted Binnema’s Enlightened Zeal: The Hudson’s Bay Company and Scientific Networks, 1670-1870 from U of T. And of course UBC Press’s Nature/History/Society series keeps chugging along: I’ll be on the lookout for Daniel MacFarlane’s Negotiating a River: Canada, the US, and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and for comps prep I’ll be reading (I mean re-reading!) the series’ 2013 titles: Darcy Ingram’s Wildlife, Conservation, and Conflict in Quebec, 1840-1914, Sean Kheraj’s Inventing Stanley Park: An Environmental History, and Caroline Desbiens’ Power from the North: Territory, Identity, and the Culture of Hydroelectricity in Quebec.
Those are the university presses, but what about the trade publishers? How about international titles with significant Can con? Tell me about any I’ve missed, in the comments below.
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Another great BookLook, Alan. Here are a couple I spotted at Congress this week:
1. James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life (Regina: University of Regina Press, 2013) – This book won the 2013 John A. Macdonald Prize along with a mountain of other prizes. It is likely on track to be the best-selling book in Canadian history for 2013-14. Daschuk uses environmental history analysis (particularly Crosby’s ecological imperialism) along with other methodologies to connect health, disease, and settler colonialism in the expansion of Canada into the Prairies.
Stay tuned for a future interview with James Daschuk on Nature’s Past this fall.
2. Kathleen Rogers, Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014) – This book covers a wide range of matters relating to draft resisters in BC, but it includes a chapter on the emergence of a new environmental consciousness in BC beginning in the 1970s as a result of the infusion of American dissidents into the province.
Argh – how did I forget Daschuk’s book? And I didn’t know Rodgers’ was forthcoming; good stuff. Thanks, Sean.