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 Featured Title
The Archive of Place
Unearthing the Pasts of the Chilcotin Plateau
William J. Turkel  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 5/21/2007
ISBN: 9780774813761    

$36.95 Paperback
Release Date: 1/1/2008
ISBN: 9780774813778    

352 Pages

Nature | History | Society series


About the Book

• Winner, 2008 Clio Award for BC, Canadian Historical Association

The Archive of Place weaves together a series of narratives about environmental history in a particular location -- British Columbia’s Chilcotin Plateau. In the mid-1990s, the Chilcotin was at the centre of three territorial conflicts. Opposing groups, in their struggle to control the fate of the region and its resources, invoked different understandings of its past -- and different types of evidence -- to justify their actions. These controversies serve as case studies, as William Turkel examines how people interpret material traces to reconstruct past events, the conditions under which such interpretation takes place, and the role that this interpretation plays in historical consciousness and social memory. It is a wide-ranging and original study that extends the span of conventional historical research.

About the Author(s)

William J. Turkel teaches history at the University of Western Ontario.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Putting Things in Their Place / ix
Graeme Wynn

Preface / xix

Acknowledgments / xxv

Part 1: Deep Time in the Present

1 Fish Lake / 3

2 Prosperity Gold / 44

Part 2: The Horizon of Experience

3 Mackenzie / 75

4 Grease Trails / 108

Part 3: Shadowed Ground

5 Converging towards “Banshee” / 139

6 Chilcotin War / 177

Afterword / 225


A Glacial Time / 228

B Geological Time / 229

Glossary / 230

Notes / 284

Toponymic Index / 310

General Index / 314


“William Turkel’s great achievement in this book is to show how once taken-for-granted accounts of geophysical processes, Aboriginal occupancy, and colonial settler society have now come to underpin sharply conflicting understandings of history.”
-- Julie Cruikshank, author of Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters, and Social Imagination

In this unorthodox and intriguing book, William Turkel uses the Chilcotin Plateau, an arid and sparsely settled region of west-central British Columbia, to ask a series of questions about how we acquire and use knowledge of the past.

...this is an engaging and rewarding book. Like much recent work in British Columbia history, it writes First Nations people into the general history of the province, a hugely important project for North American histroy more generally.

An amalgam of the material and the representational, the natural and the human, place allows Turkel to move some way toward transcending the old human-environment dichotomy that bedevils the writing of environmental history.
- James Murton, Environmental History Journal, Volume 12, Number 4, October 2007

Sample Chapter

Front Matter and Chapter One

Related Topics

Environmental Studies
History > Canada
Aboriginal Studies
BC Studies
BC Studies > History

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of The Archive of Place from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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