The Industrial Transformation of Subarctic Canada
The industrialization of Canada's Subarctic relied upon the region's large northwestern lakes: Winnipeg, Athabasca, Great Slave, and Great Bear. Between 1921 and 1960, these lakes comprised a seam in the Canadian interior where industrial economies took root, transgressing political geographies and superseding the historically dominant fur trade. The state and private enterprise imported southern scientists and sojourning labourers to work the Northwest, and its industrial history bears these newcomers’ imprint. The Industrial Transformation of Subarctic Canada reveals the history of human impact upon the North. It provides a baseline, grounded in historical and scientific evidence, for measuring environmental change in the Subarctic.
Liza Piper examines the sustainability of industrial economies, the value of resource exploitation in volatile ecosystems, and the human consequences of northern environmental change. She also addresses northern communities’ historical resistance to external resource development and their fight for survival in the face of intensifying environmental and economic pressures. This rich environmental history will appeal to historians, geographers, and environmentalists interested in industrialization, resource management, and the Canadian North.
- 2010, Winner - K.D. Srivastava Prize
- 2010, Winner - Clio Award (North), Canadian Historical Association
Liza Piper captures with detail and insight an essential episode in northern environmental history … in telling this story Piper provides an immensely valuable perspective not just on northern history, but on the practice of environmental history itself … she also exhibits an impressive sensitivity for the meanings embedded in both action and language. But where she especially excels is in situating this history in a specific place, and in invoking its material basis in living organisms: lakes and rivers, water and ice, earth and fire. This history has dirt under its fingernails.
[This book] makes a very significant contribution to the field, both by demonstrating to environmental historians that Northern topics are of broader interest and by providing Northern historians with an impressively detailed illustration of the importance of environmental perspectives.
Liza Piper's book couples an impressive command of archival sources and empirical detail with an unusually diverse range of scholarship, and demonstrates a creative intelligence that ultimately brings readers to think about the meanings embedded in language, metaphor, and imagination.
Foreword: The Nature of Industrialization / Graeme Wynn
Introduction: The Industrial Colonization of the Northwest
1 On the Edge: the 1920s
2 Railroad's End: Adaptation
3 Industrial Appetites
4 An Ordered World
5 Sub / Terrain
6 Harnessing the Wet West
7 “Two Weights and Two Measures”: Conservation and Conflict in the Fisheries
8 Industrial Circuitry
9 The Hazards of Disassembly
Conclusion: The Frontiers of High-Energy Civilization
Glossary; Notes; Bibliography; Index
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Edited by Dolly Jørgensen and Sverker Sörlin
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