Thursday, 14 May 2015

#Envhist at CHA 2015

With less than a month to go before this year's meeting of the Canadian Historical Association at the University of Ottawa, and in the spirit of last year's list, I've trawled the CHA 2015 program for environmental history panels. The following list may be incomplete and environmental history is a broad and fluid subdiscipline so let me know if there's anything I missed.

Tuesday, June 2nd

8:30-10:00
  • Defining the Great Lakes-St Lawrence System: varying perspectives and scales
    • Facilitator /Commentator Alan MacEachern
    • Jamie Benidickson "From Boundary Waters to Water Boundaries: Legal dimensions of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence System."
    • Stephen Bocking "Invasive Species, Ecological Transformations, and the Formation of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence System." 
    • Stéphane Castonguay "Production cartographique, représentation scientifique et espace administratif: le system GL-SL comme imaginaire géographique.
    • Michèle Dagenais and Ken Cruikshank "Quelques pistes sur les études publiées sur les Grand Lacs-Saint-Laurent depuis 200 ans: un survol."
 10:30-12:00
  • Roundtable: Is All History Now Environmental History? The anthropocene in historical perspective.
    • Facilitator: Tina Loo
    • Participants: Daniel Macfarlane, Sean Kheraj, Stephen Bocking, Jessica DeWitt.
1:30-3:00
  • History and Environment
    • Facilitator/Commentator Gregory M.W. Kennedy
    • Gregory M.W. Kennedy "Building Resilience to Environmental Change in New Brunswick Coastal Communities Through Historical and Interdisciplinary Research."
    • Kristine Kowalchuk "Thomas Tyron and Bioregionalism: Learning from Early Modern England's Alternative Agriculture."
    • Yves Tremblay "Le fédéral, le provincial et le DDT: l'Expo 67 comme moment décisif de l'histoire de la sensibilité écologique au Canada."
  • What Kind of Development? Maritime Environmentalism and Regional Development Policy in the 1970s
    • Facilitator/Commentator Alan MacEachern
    • Mark Leeming "Local Economic Independence as Environmentalism: Nova Scotia in the 1970s."
    • Mark J. McLaughlin "Greening the System: The Conservation Council of New Brunswick's Responses to State Resource Development, 1969-1983."
    • Henry Trim "An Alternative on Prince Edward Island: Environmentalism, Modernization, and Sustainable Development."
  • Canadian Energy Histories: Kerosene, Coal and Oil
    • Facilitator/Commentator Steve Penfold
    • Sean Kheraj "On-Shore Oil Spills in Canada: Trans-Mountain Pipeline and the Interprovincial Pipeline, 1949-2012."
    • Ruth W. Sandwell "Searching for Light: Canada's Early Petroleum Industry, 1859-1900."
    • Andrew Watson "'The Tail Cannot Wag the Dog': Canadian Dependence on American Coal Between the Wars."
Wednesday, June 3rd 

8:30-10:00
  • Nationalism, Land, and Territory
    • Facilitator/Commentator Julien Labrosse
    • Cristina Ionita "Comment mettre la nation sur la carte: Nationalisme et cartographie dans l'Europe central avant la Première Gueere Mondiale."
    • Dinah Jansen "Size Matters: The Paris Peace Conference, Russian Liberals, and Russian Territorial Integrity, 1919"
    • Christopher Miller "Making Meaning in the Land: Remembering Expropriation through Oral History in Pickering, Ontario."
    • Xiaping Sun "Creating the Myth of the Wilderness: A Discursive Analysis of Maoist Land Reclamation in Northeast China." 
12:00-1:30
  • Exploration and Immigration in Canadian History
    • Facilitator/Commentator Katie Simanzik
    • Marilyn Braber and Murray Watson "Invisible Immigrants: The English in Canada since 1945."
    • Geoffrey Little "'This very extensive and almost unknown portion of the Empire': The Montreal Natural History Society's Surveys of Rupert's Land."
    • Gustavo Velasco "The Post, the Railroad and the State: New Approaches to study Western Canada Settlement, 1870-1900."
1:45-3:15
  • Sensory Encounters and Embodied Histories in the Fur Trade and Nineteenth-Century Northwest
    • Facilitator/Commentator Mary-Ellen Kelm
    • Daniel Robert Laxer "Sensing New Peoples: Diet, Dress, and Dance in the Western Fur Trade, 1760-1821."
    • Stacy Nation-Knapper "Feeling It: Sensory Experience of the Nineteenth-Century Columbia River Plateau Fur Trade."
    • Carolyn Podrunchny "Embodying Denial: The Vanishing Life of the Metis Giant from Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan, 1881-1904."
3:30-5:00
  • Indigenous Peoples, Labour, and Industrial Development in Canada
    • Facilitator/Commentator John Lutz
    • Anne R Janhunen "'A Regular Curse': Indigenous Labour and the Paradox of Early Twentieth-Century Industry in British Columbia's Fraser Valley."
    • Brittany A Luby "The International Joint Commission and the Woes of 'Civilized' Men: An Examination of Flood Damage Assessments and Compensatory Systems on Lake of the Woods, 1893-1925."
    • Daniel Rück "Industrial Development and Indian Act Moernity in Kahnawake, 1880-1935." 
  • Man and His Environment
    • Facilitator/Commentator Merle Massie
    • Stacey Alexopoulos "Surveying a Problem: Statistics and Housing Policy Development, 1958-1962."
    • Jessica DeWitt "Park Formation as Catalyst for Restoration: A Pennsylvania River's Ecological Revivification."
    • Adrian Gamble "Documenting the Canadian Arts and Crafts Movement: An Exercise in Interdisciplinarity."
    • Merle Massie "Grounding Science with History: Place methodology from the field." 
  • History, Interdisciplinarity, and the Indian Ocean World
    • Facilitator/Commentator Emmanuel Hogg
    • J. Pablo Arroyo-Mora "The Indian Ocean World Database: An interdisciplinary approach for understanding human-environment interactions."
    • Rashed Chowdhury "Russian Explorers in the Indian Ocean World in the Late Nineteenth Century."
    • Chinnaiah Jangram "Rethinking History in Indian Subcontinent: Politics of Identity and Writing History." 
  • L'histoire environnementale et les savoirs interdisciplinaires du passé
    • Animateur/Commentateur Stéphane Castonguay
    • Maude Flammard-Hubert "Explorer, inventorier, classified: la séparation des terres comme lieu de négociation interdisciplinaire."
    • Maude-Emmanuelle Lambert "Embellir et aménager les abords routiers: du Club des Habitants aux ingénieurs de l'État québécois, 1945-1960."
    • Valérie Poirier "'Choice between Automobile and Survival': la pollution automobile comme enjeu de santé publique, 1960-1970."

Of course no list is complete without some self promotion. My Ottawa (De)tour walking seminar "Finding Scientific Landscapes" will be running at 6pm from the Fletcher Wildlife Garden on June 3rd. (This is not part of Congress.) 

Monday, 2 February 2015

Parks Canada and the 60 Acres

A wintry view of the 60 Acres

Today I received my first package of documents from a series of access to information requests I submitted in December.

It turns out that Parks Canada learned about the transfer of the 60 acres of the Farm to build a hospital when Leslie Maitland, president of Heritage Ottawa, emailed them a day after John Baird's November 3rd press conference.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Domains of Literature - Introduction and Context

Every university, every department, has its own practices regarding comprehensive and qualifying examinations. Usually these include "fields" or "domains" of literature which are either standardized across the department or completely open. In my department the individual PhD committee has great leeway in deciding what goes into the domains and my committee challenged me to come up with a base list, which they then commented on and added to.

This is harder than it seems. Sure in being given latitude to decide I had the chance to stack the list, so to speak, with works I was already familiar with. But, as my supervisor said, I should pay attention to my committee and the journals they publish in, who they cite in their work and teach in their courses, who they would put on the list if they were creating it.

Beyond the literature I already knew, my committee's publications, and the every increasing fractal search cross referencing common citations brings, I found online syllabi and lists of departments and other individuals who've completed their exams extremely useful. In that spirit, I have reproduced my lists here for those who may be going down the same rabbit hole as me.

Domains of Literature - Public History and the Geography of Storytelling

 This is part of a series of posts related to the domains of literature I covered in my qualifying exam. I am sharing it in hopes that it helps other students creating their lists. Please see the introductory post in the series for more details.

The final domain, public history and the geography of storytelling, looks at both methodological questions in historical geography research and modes of presenting that research. Public historians are a diverse community of practitioners fundamentally interested in the ways historical knowledge is created and presented to broad and multifaceted publics in various locations such as archives and museums. Geographers of storytelling are concerned with the spatial dimensions of stories, how they’re told and how landscapes become inscribed with meaning and discourses. This domain finds natural linkages between these sub-fields, particularly in the recent work of a group of British geographers under the auspices of ‘anticipatory history’ (see: DeSilvey 2012 and DeSilvey, Naylor and Sackett 2011). As such it provides the basis for exploring the contingent nature of the documents, landscapes and material cultures that form the core of the proposed research as well as addressing concerns regarding the narrative form of this thesis project.  

This post has two main parts:
(1) The domain itself; and,
(2) A syllabus created as a thought experience while studying the list.

Domains of Literature - Geography of Science

This is part of a series of posts related to the domains of literature I covered in my qualifying exam. I am sharing it in hopes that it helps other students creating their lists. Please see the introductory post in the series for more details.

Geographies of science, the second domain, focuses on literature that, following David Livingstone (2003), puts science in its place. The Central Experimental Farm is one of those places, home to both experimental fields and laboratories. The places of science exist across a variety of scales, from small allotment gardens to international and imperial networks. Geographers of science have explored not only the sites of research, but also geographies of the more-than-human world including plants and non-human animals. Building on work in science and technology studies, this domain explores the sites, networks, agents, production, performance and distribution of scientific knowledge.

This post has two main parts:
(1) The domain itself; and,
(2) A syllabus created as a thought experience while studying the list.

Domains of Literature - Historical Geographies of Canada and Agricultural Colonialism

This is part of a series of posts related to the domains of literature I covered in my qualifying exam. I am sharing it in hopes that it helps other students creating their lists. Please see the introductory post in the series for more details.

The first domain, the historical geography of Canada and agricultural settler colonialism, provides the national and international contexts of the Farm. As stated above, the Farm played an important role in the Canadian colonial project within the wider British Empire and with the backdrop of the expansion of the United States to the south. This domain looks beyond historical geographies of Canada to include readings in the growing fields of settler colonial studies, environmental history, and envirotechnical history. Uncovering the connections between agriculture, the environment, science, technology, Aboriginal communities and settlers, these readings provide the basis for a critical understanding of the Farm’s place in Canada as well as Canada’s place in wider imperial and colonial narratives.

This post has two main parts:
(1) The domain itself; and,
(2) A syllabus created as a thought experience while studying the list.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

60 Acres


In early November, John Baird announced the transfer of 60 acres of the Central Experimental Farm from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to the National Capital Commission. The NCC then leased the land for a dollar-a-year to the Ottawa Hospital to build a new Civic Campus. The Ottawa Hospital then mused about paving the site for parking as it has no money to build a new campus. None of the responsible planning authorities at the federal, provincial, or municipal level were consulted.

The Friends of the Central Experimental Farm used to host a list of articles and reactions against the transfer. This page went down sometime in mid-December, 2014. This is my attempt to recreate a list of reactions against Baird's irresponsible decision.