Rethinking the Great White North: Race, Nature and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness in Canada

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Event Date: Feb 1 2008 – Feb 2 2008
Event Website: Event Webpage
City: Kingston, ON
Country: Canada

A two-day workshop addressing the myth of the “Great White North” as a major theme in contemporary debates about Canadian geography and identity. Discussions will place critical race theorists in dialogue with scholars studying the idea of nature in order to consider how social constructions of race, whiteness and nature are interconnected in creating the Canadian nation. The objectives of the workshop are:

  • to evaluate how the concept of nature has been and continues to be implicated in the co-construction of race and whiteness in Canada;
  • to draw scholarly attention to the geographical configurations of racisms in Canada and elsewhere;
  • and to initiate interdisciplinary debate on the complex ways that history and geography are implicated in the production of racialized social formations.

Streaming Video of the presentations at the conference are now available from the Rethinking the Great White North Site.

[More Information about the conference]

Featured image: Indigenous people trading in Dawson, Yukon, circa 1900. Canadian Museum of History. Accessed from Wikimedia Commons.

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Laura Jean Cameron is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University, Kingston, and coordinates the Sonic Arts of Place Lab. As a Canada Research Chair in Historical Geographies of Nature (2003-2012), her work has investigated a range of field sciences as place-based practices and as cultural encounters. Before arriving at Queen’s, she held a Junior Research Fellowship in Historical Geography at Churchill College, Cambridge (1999-2002). She is the author of Openings: A Meditation on History, Method and Sumas Lake, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997 and co-author with John Forrester of Freud in Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017. She also co-edited Emotion, Place and Culture, Ashgate, 2009 and Rethinking the Great White North: Race, Nature and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness, UBC Press, 2011. Currently she enjoys writing in various genres about fieldwork, emotions and nature, collaborating on sound installations, and hosting the Fireplace Series: Interdisciplinary Conversations, a podcast series you can listen to here:

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