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Throughout the circumpolar north, rapid environmental change has transformed relationships between humans, non-human nature, and the borders and boundaries that delineate and assign meaning to northern spaces. These changes, along with the reality that living beings transgress these borders, have urged scholars to rethink the role of northern borders. The Northern Borders Project is a collaborative environmental humanities initiative that explores the dynamic socio-environmental contexts that have shaped the making of borders and boundaries throughout the circumpolar world from the nineteenth century to the present. This project expands upon existing innovative borderlands and trans-boundary research within environmental history and historical geography to emphasize the uniqueness of this region and examine themes particularly relevant to the North.

Objectives of the project include:

  1. Enhancing scholarly knowledge through original contributions about the role of borders and boundaries in shaping the development and lived experience of the North
  2. Enhancing ethical approaches to community-engaged research with Northern communities and institutions
  3. Providing collaborative opportunities for inter-institutional research through creating networks
  4. Pedagogy-focused curriculum development and student research experience and training

Project Team

Glenn Iceton is an independent scholar living in Williams Lake, BC. His research considers the interplay between local land-use patterns, government conservation measures, and natural resource development. He received his PhD from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019. His dissertation examined colonial perceptions of Kaska Dena land use in the Yukon-BC borderlands and how colonial knowledge influenced perceptions of Aboriginal rights and title. His works have appeared in Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire, Historical Geography, and BC Studies. Glenn’s BC Studies article, “‘Many Families of Unseen Indians’: Trapline Registration and Understandings of Aboriginal Title in the BC-Yukon Borderlands,” was the runner up for the BC Studies Prize. You can find him on Twitter at @GlennIceton.

Heather Green (she/her) is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Saint Mary’s University located in K’jipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki (Halifax, NS). She obtained her PhD from the University of Alberta in 2018 where her doctoral studies examined the colonial history of gold mining and environmental transformation in relation to Indigenous-setter relations in the Klondike region of the Yukon Territory. She was privileged to work with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation in Dawson City throughout that research process. Her current research focuses on environmental histories of mining, sport-hunting tourism and colonialism, and heritage landscapes in the Canadian North. Her work has appeared in the Canadian Historical Review, Inuit Studies, the Northern Review, the Journal of Tourism History and in the edited collection Mining and Communities in Northern Canada. Her first book, The Great Upheaval: Gold Mining and Environmental Change in the Klondike, is forthcoming with UBC Press. She teaches courses on environmental history, Indigenous-settler relations, and history in film in which she adopts pedagogies of hands-on skills and research creation in digital and written forms. You can find her on Twitter @heathergreen21.

Jonathan Luedee is a Faculty of Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at the UofT. He is an Arctic environmental historian, and his research focuses on the intersecting geographies of migratory animals, scientific knowledge, and resource extraction. As a postdoc, Jonathan is conducting research on the privatization of Arctic environmental knowledge, and the role that oil and gas companies played in the establishment of ecological baselines in the western Arctic (Alaska-Yukon) during the second half of the twentieth century.  His work has appeared in the Journal of the History of Biology (forthcoming Winter 2021) and in edited collections published by Acadiensis and McGill-Queen’s University Press. His doctoral dissertation received the Canadian Association of Geographers’ Starkey-Robinson Award.  You can find him on Twitter at @JonathanLuedee.

Student Team Members Include:

Gabe Isenor is a student research assistant entering his 4th year in an undergraduate degree in History and Computer Science at Saint Mary’s University. On this project, Gabe curates archival holdings and public facing media, helping connect relevant resources to Northern Borders themes. Most summers he works as a tour guide, driving Zodiaks through the tidal currents of the historic Shubenacadie River, located within the traditional Mi’kmaq territory of Sipekne’katik. Currently, Gabe resides in Meadows, a small Newfoundland village north of Corner Brook where he spends his free time canoeing, gardening, and playing guitar.

Bernice Perry is a second-year undergraduate student at Saint Mary’s University. Working on a Bachelor of Arts degree, she will focus on geographical influence and missing narratives in Canadian History. Involvement in various SMU related events and her historical interest in the North contributed to the 2021 SSHRC summer undergraduate scholarship award. Under the supervision of Dr. Heather Green, the twelve-week research assistant position in the summer of 2021 will contribute a bibliography to the Northern Borders Project’s teaching module. Bernice plans to complete her degree and further broaden her historical and geographical knowledge globally by participating in a course field trip to The Gambia in the spring of 2022.