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.

A Walk in the Farm - 60 Acres at Arpents 2014

This post is a modified version of my prepared talk at Arpents 2014. In my actual talk, I wandered widely from the prepared text so this account doesn't accurately represent that version. Such is a Pete Anderson presentation.

Looking north-east towards downtown from near the intersection Baseline and Merivale.

A couple of things happened since I agreed to give this presentation that changed the contours of what I originally planned to speak about. First in preparing for my qualifying exams, my research focus narrowed on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries limiting the methodological thrust of this presentation which was originally to be focused on the use of walking oral history interviews. Second, John Baird, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the minister responsible for the National Capital Commission, recently made a direct attack on the geographic integrity of my research site, Ottawa's Central Experimental Farm.

Rather than looking at walking methodologies in historical geography research, then, I first outline the recent announcement by Baird and reactions to them--if you follow me on twitter this will be familiar to you. In the second section I argue that the pace of observation is an important factor in the ways different gazes are directed at the Farm.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Crosspost: Vacating Science and Forgetting History at the Central Experimental Farm

This post originally appeared at Active History. As always, please leave comments at the original.

Pete at Farm with Civic in Background.jpg” with Caption: “Pete Anderson posing near the threatened experimental plots with the Civic Hospital in the background. Photo credit: Laura Cameron.
Pete Anderson posing near the threatened experimental plots with the Civic Hospital in the background. Photo credit: Laura Cameron.

On November 3rdJohn Baird announced that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada transferred approximately 24 hectares (60 acres) of the Central Experimental Farm, in Ottawa, to the National Capital Commission. The NCC in turn offered to lease the land to the Ottawa Hospital to build a new Civic Campus. The Hospital then mused about the using this new land as a parking lot.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Hulme: Human Geography and the Many Voices of Climate Change

On Thursday, November 13th and Friday, November 14th Mike Hulme gave two public lectures at Carleton University. Hulme is a Professor of Climate and Culture in the Department of Geography at University of King’s College and after a career working as a climatologist at the University of East Anglia is now making a transition to being a human (and in particular a cultural) geographer.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Op-ed: Protect the Central Experimental Farm

Central Experimental Farm looking towards the Windfield Towers, Personal Photograph.

My op-ed arguing against the development of the Central Experimental Farm, even for a hospital, can be found at the Ottawa Citizen. Please leave any comments on the original post.

Crosspost: Graduate School and the Consulting Historian

This was originally posted at History@Work, the blog of the National Council for Public History. Please leave comments at the original.

Academic careers are hard to come by these days. Public historians will not be surprised by the posts on the active #altac hashtag on Twitter or the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) recent “White Paper on the Future of the PhD in the Humanities” that observed that only between 10 and 15 percent of those who enter PhD programs will be employed at a post-secondary institution [1]. A declining number of tenured and tenure-track positions, coupled with an increased reliance on precarious labor in the form of adjunct and temporary appointments, has destabilized the academic job market for graduates. Deep budget cuts to museums, archives, and other research-oriented institutions–not just in history and the humanities, but also in the social, physical, and life sciences–make finding “traditional” public history jobs increasingly difficult as well.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

/Kitchen Literacy/ in "The Westward-Moving House": A Joint Review

  • Ann Vileisis, Kitchen Literacy: How we lost knowledge of where food comes from and why we need to get it back. (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2008.) Book Website. 
  •  John Brinckerhoff Jackson, “The Westward-Moving House: Three American Houses and the People Who Lived in Them.” Places Journal, July 2011: Online. [Originally printed in Landscapes (2.3), Spring 1953.]

Food is essential to life. These two works, Ann Vileisis’s Kitchen Literacy and John Brinckerhoff Jackson’s “The Westward-Moving House,” focus on the social histories and cultural geographies of people and places at seemingly opposite poles of eating: the cooks and the farmers. This observation obscures the deep similarities in the important stories Vileisis and Jackson tell about how we have come to rely on distributed supply chains for our daily sustenance.