Friday, 25 July 2014

Rambling at the Farm: Walking Tours, History, Digital Humanities

I recently took my friend Kendall, a PhD candidate in history at Queen's University, on a rambling tour through the Central Experimental Farm. Over the course of an hour and a half and covering 6.5km, we jumped through the Euro-Canadian history of the site. While I didn't have a firm plan about where we'd go and what stories I'd tell, the route wound through some of my favourite spots and included an interweaving of apocryphal local legends, histories of the Farm system and of the city, descriptions of archival collections I've already worked with, and a discussion of the various methodologies I hope to apply as I get into my dissertation research.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Crosspost: Review of Peter Russell's /How Agriculture Made Canada/

Note: This was originally posted at the Network in Canadian History and the Environment. Please leave comments on the original.

Reviewed By: Peter Anderson (Queen’s University)9780773540644

Published: The Otter-NiCHE (July 2014)

Peter A. Russell, How Agriculture Made Canada: Farming in the Nineteenth Century. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012. 400 pp. ISBN 978-0-7735-4065-1. $34.95 (paper). Rural, Wildland and Resource Studies Series, Number 1.

Peter Russell argues that the settlement of the Prairies was shaped by the dynamics of two agricultural crises in nineteenth century Quebec and Ontario, which created a predominantly English Canadian context that later European immigrants assimilated to. As agricultural settlement reached the environmental and technological limits of the open land frontier in each province, farm communities and elites reacted in different ways. In Quebec the impulse was to turn inwards whereas in Ontario settlers looked west for a new frontier.