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Virtue Capitalists: The Rise and Fall of the Professional Class in the Anglophone World, 1870–2008 (Cambridge UP, 2023) explores the rise of the professional middle class across the Anglophone world from c. 1870 to 2008. With a focus on British settler colonies - Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States - Hannah Forsyth argues that the …
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In 2018, Janis Thiessen, Kimberley Moore, and collaborator Kent Davies refashioned a used food truck into a mobile oral history lab. Together they embarked on a journey around Manitoba, gathering stories about the province’s food and the people who make, sell, and eat it. Along the way, they visited restaurant owners, beer brewers, grocers, farmers…
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The thrilling true story of Agent A12, the earliest enemy of the Nazis, and the first spy to crack Hitler's deadliest secret code: the framework of the Final Solution. In public life, Dr. Winthrop Bell was a Harvard philosophy professor and wealthy businessman. As an MI6 spy--known as secret agent A12--in Berlin in 1919, he evaded gunfire and shook…
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How do bureaucratic documents create and reproduce a state’s capacity to see? What kinds of worlds do documents help create? Further, how might such documentary practices and settler colonial ways of seeing be refused? Settler Colonial Ways of Seeing: Documentation, Administration, and the Interventions of Indigenous Art (Fordham University Press, …
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In 1845 an expedition led by Sir John Franklin vanished in the Canadian Arctic. The enduring obsession with the Franklin mystery, and in particular Inuit information about its fate, is partly due to the ways in which information was circulated in these imperial spaces. Arctic Circles and Imperial Knowledge: The Franklin Family, Indigenous Intermedi…
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To the degree that Canadians remember the treatment passengers on the Komagata Maru received when they were barred entry to the port of Vancouver in 1914, it is typically remembered in contrast to the supposed multiculturalism and openness of the country today. Contributors to this volume challenge this framing from top to bottom; not only do they …
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Burnt by Democracy: Youth, Inequality, and the Erosion of Civic Life (University of Toronto Press, 2023) by Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly traces the political ascendance of neoliberalism and its effects on youth. The book explores democracy and citizenship as described in interviews with over forty young people – ages 16 to 30 – who have either experienc…
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The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the turbulent end of China’s imperial system, violent revolutionary movements, and the fraught establishment of a republican government. During these decades of reform and revolution, millions of far-flung “overseas Chinese” remained connected to Chinese domestic movements. Transpacific Reform a…
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In An Empire of Laws: Legal Pluralism in British Colonial Policy (Yale University Press, 2023), Dr. Christian R. Burset presents a compelling reexamination of how Britain used law to shape its empire. For many years, Britain tried to impose its own laws on the peoples it conquered, and English common law usually followed the Union Jack. But the com…
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Today I talked to Ryan Manucha about his new book Booze, Cigarettes, and Constitutional Dust-Ups: Canada's Quest for Interprovincial Free Trade (McGill-Queen's UP, 2022). In 2012, after Gerard Comeau had driven to Quebec to purchase cheaper beer and crossed back into New Brunswick, police officers tailed and detained him, confiscated his haul, and …
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Never have policy initiatives been so important than in today’s society. Neoliberal manifestations, climate change, civil rights movements, and governmental reactions to these issues have created a backdrop where greater education in policy analysis and development is vital. Listen to this informative interview with one of the authors, Dr. David Yo…
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Every driver in North America shares one miserable, soul-sucking universal experience—being stuck in traffic. But things weren’t always like this. Why is it that the mass transit systems of most cities in the United States and Canada are now utterly inadequate? The Lost Subways of North America: A Cartographic Guide to the Past, Present, and What M…
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Point Saint-Charles, a historically white working-class neighborhood with a strong Irish and French presence, and Little Burgundy, a multiracial neighborhood that is home to the city’s English-speaking Black community, face each other across Montreal’s Lachine Canal, once an artery around which work and industry in Montreal were clustered and by wh…
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The thirteenth-century Muslim mystic and poet Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207–1273) is a popular spiritual icon. His legacy is sustained within the mystical and religious practice of Sufism, particularly through renditions of his poetry, music, and the meditation practice of whirling. In Canada, practices associated with Rumi have become ubiquitous in publ…
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In 1936, long before the discovery of the Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, the Royal Ontario Museum made a sensational acquisition: the contents of a Viking grave that prospector Eddy Dodd said he had found on his mining claim east of Lake Nipigon. The relics remained on display for two decades, challenging understandings of when and where …
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How did Native Americans make war, not with European settlers, but amongst themselves? Historian Wayne E. Lee, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explores this often-neglected question in his book, The Cutting-Off Way: Indigenous Warfare in Eastern North America, 1500-1800 (The University of North Carolina Press, 2023).…
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Where the Pavement Turns to Sand (Malarkey Books, 2023) is a collection of working class, everyday heartbreaks and bad decisions. In a refreshing rural Canadian setting, the characters in these slice of life tales stumble through divorce, debt, bad sex, and boring jobs, but also curling robots, aliens, jackalopes, wendigo, lots of legs wet with uri…
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In The Ends of Research: Indigenous and Settler Science after the War in the Woods (Duke University Press, 2023) by Dr. Tom Özden-Schilling explores the afterlives of several research initiatives that emerged in the wake of the “War in the Woods,” a period of anti-logging blockades in Canada in the late twentieth century. Drawing on ethnographic fi…
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Today I talked to Christopher Patterson about two books: the late Y-Dang Troeung's Landbridge [life in fragments] (Knopf Canada, 2023) and Christopher's own Nimrods: A Fake-Punk Self-Hurt Anti-Memoir (Duke UP, 2023), which was published under the name Kawika Guillermo. In Landbridge, Y-Dang Troeung meditates on her family’s refugee history and the …
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Accounts of decolonization routinely neglect Indigenous societies in North America and Australasia, yet Native communities have made unique contributions to anticolonial thought and activism. David Myer Temin's book Remapping Sovereignty: Decolonization and Self-Determination in North American Indigenous Political Thought (U Chicago Press, 2023) ex…
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For eighteen months during the Second World War, the Canadian military interned 1,145 prisoners of war in Red Rock, Ontario (about 100 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay). Camp R interned friend and foe alike: Nazis, anti-Nazis, Jews, soldiers, merchant seamen, and refugees whom Britain feared might comprise Hitler's rumoured "fifth column" of ali…
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No two nations have exchanged natural resources, produced transborder environmental agreements, or cooperatively altered ecosystems on the same scale as Canada and the United States. Environmental and energy diplomacy have profoundly shaped both countries’ economies, politics, and landscapes for over 150 years. Natural Allies: Environment, Energy, …
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They were unlike any other band in the punk scene they called home. NoMeansNo started in the basement of the family home of brothers Rob and John Wright in 1979. For the next three decades, they would add and then replace a guitar player, sign a record deal with Alternative Tentacles and tour the world. All along the way, they kept their integrity,…
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On the 16th October 2023, I met with Claire Launchbury and Charles Forsdick to discuss the recent publication of Transnational French Studies (Liverpool UP, 2023), a collection of essays that draws attention to the diverse objects of study and methodologies that can be brought to bear on French cultural production. This is the latest in the “Transn…
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In Constitutional Culture, Independence, and Rights: Insights from Quebec, Scotland, and Catalonia (University of Toronto Press, 2023), Dr. Javier García Oliva and Dr. Helen Hall coin the term "constitutional culture" to encapsulate the collective rules and expectations that govern the collective life within a jurisdiction. Significantly, these sha…
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Uganda, August 1972. President Idi Amin makes a shocking pronouncement – the country’s South Asian population is being expelled. They have ninety days to leave. After packing scant possessions and countless memories, 50,000 Ugandan Asians vied for limited space in countries including Canada, India and the United Kingdom. More than 28,000 expellees …
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How do borderlands work? How do they maintain their distinctive features in the face of concerted efforts on the part of nation-states to make each of their borderlines into a harsh demarcation? According to most contemporary political discourse and popular perceptions, the two borders of the United States West have little in common but understandi…
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Perhaps no other single day in US history was as threatening to the survival of the nation as August 24, 1814, when British forces captured Washington, DC. This unique moment might have significantly altered the nation’s path forward, but the event and the reasons why it happened are little remembered by most Americans. Robert P. Watson's book When…
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From 1990 to 2001, while the popular radio waves were consumed with the buzz of grunge and alternative rock, Winnipeg managed to craft a unique underground music scene that moved in its own direction. At once informed by their predecessors and stubbornly determined to create the art that they wanted to see made, bands like Kittens, Propagandhi, and…
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In August 1972, military leader and despot Idi Amin expelled Asian Ugandans from the country, professing to return control of the economy to "Ugandan citizens." Within ninety days, 50,000 Ugandans of South Asian descent were forced to leave and seek asylum elsewhere; nearly 8,000 resettled in Canada. This major migration event marked the first time…
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Our lives are in countless ways defined by our citizenship. The country we belong to affects our rights, our travel possibilities, and ultimately our chances in life. Obtaining a new citizenship is rarely easy. But for those with the means—billionaires like Peter Thiel and Jho Low, but also countless unknown multimillionaires—it’s just a question o…
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Sexual violence is a significant problem within many Western militaries. Despite international attention to the issue and global #MeToo and #TimesUp movements highlighting the impact of sexual violence, rates of sexual violence are going up in many militaries. Good Soldiers Don't Rape: The Stories We Tell About Military Sexual Violence (Cambridge U…
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Valentina Capurri's book Not Good Enough for Canada: Canadian Public Discourse Around Issues of Inadmissibility for Potential Immigrants with Diseases And/Or Disabilities (U Toronto Press, 2020) investigates the development of Canadian immigration policy with respect to persons with a disease or disability throughout the twentieth century. With an …
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In 1930, a young Jewish man, Yehuda Yosef Eisenstein, arrived in Canada from Poland to escape persecution and the rise of Nazism in the hopes of starting a new life for himself and his family. Like countless others who made this journey from "non-preferred" countries, Eisenstein was only granted entry because he claimed to be single, starting his n…
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Bookshop.org is an online book retailer that donates more than 80% of its profits to independent bookstores. Launched in 2020, Bookshop.org has already raised more than $27,000,000. In this interview, Andy Hunter, founder and CEO discusses his journey to creating one of the most revolutionary new organizations in the book world. Bookshop has found …
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Psychedelics have gone from the counterculture, to the mainstream. However, can you turn take such an ineffable thing — a tool for personal revelation, cosmic oneness, spiritual enlightenment, whatever people have called it — and make it just another product in late stage capitalism? From something that is potentially radical, to something that is …
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In Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America's Woods (Little, Brown Spark, 2022), Lyndsie Bourgon takes us deep into the underbelly of the illegal timber market. As she traces three timber poaching cases, she introduces us to tree poachers, law enforcement, forensic wood specialists, the enigmatic residents of former logging communities, en…
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Family history is one of the most widely practiced forms of public history around the globe, especially in settler migrant nations like Australia and Canada. It empowers millions of researchers, linking the past to the present in powerful ways, transforming individuals' understandings of themselves and the world. Family History, Historical Consciou…
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Diverse in their languages and customs, the Native American peoples of the Great Lakes region—the Miamis, Ho-Chunks, Potawatomis, Ojibwas, and many others—shared a tumultuous history. In the colonial era their rich homeland became a target of imperial ambition and an invasion zone for European diseases, technologies, beliefs, and colonists. Yet in …
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From his debut as a novelist, Mordecai Richler challenged, provoked, enraged, entertained, and surprised readers. Criticizing him for his portrayals of Canada and accusing him of being anti-Jewish, many found his mix of progressive sympathies and illiberal satire confounding but hard to ignore. His novels were too engaging: their subjects crackled …
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Twentieth-century African American history cannot be told without accounting for the significant influence of Pan-African thought, just as the story of U.S. policy from 1900 to 2000 cannot be told without accounting for fears of an African World. In the early 1900s, Marcus Garvey and his followers perceived the North American mainland, particularly…
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Mateusz Świetlicki's book Next-Generation Memory and Ukrainian Canadian Children's Historical Fiction: The Seeds of Memory (Routledge, 2023) is the first book monograph devoted to Anglophone Ukrainian Canadian children's historical fiction published between 1991 and 2021. It consists of five chapters offering cross-sectional and interdisciplinary r…
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Today I talked to Ricardo Tranjan about his book The Tenant Class (Between the Lines, 2023). It’s well known and almost taken for granted that we live in the midst of a “housing crisis”—soaring rent, persistently low vacancy rate, and deteriorating quality of existing housing stock plague renters throughout Canada. But if a crisis is defined by bei…
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As recently as fifty years ago most people expected to lose their teeth as they aged. Few children benefited from braces to straighten their teeth, and cosmetic procedures to change the appearance of smiles were largely unknown. Today, many Canadians enjoy straight, white teeth and far more of them are keeping their teeth for the entirety of their …
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Finns tell a story about themselves as a people exempt from European colonialism. Not so, argue the contributors to Finnish Settler Colonialism in North America: Rethinking Finnish Experiences in Transnational Spaces (Helsinki University Press, 2022). In this volume edited by Finnish scholars Rani-Henrik Andersson and Janne Lahti, both scholars of …
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Martialling Peace: How the Peacekeeper Myth Legitimises Warfare (Edinburgh University Press, 2023) by Dr. Nicole Wegner is not a book about peacekeeping practices. This is a book about storytelling, fantasies and the ways that people connect emotionally to myths about peacekeeping. The celebration of peacekeeping as a legitimate and desirable use o…
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Myra Tawfik's book For the Encouragement of Learning: The Origins of Canadian Copyright Law (U Toronto Press, 2023) addresses the contested history of copyright law in Canada, where the economic and reputational interests of authors and the commercial interests of publishers often conflict with the public interest in access to knowledge. It chronic…
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Child abandonment, theft, kidnapping, prostitution, bigamy, and murder! Bad Bridget is a must-read examination of crime and Irish emigrant women in the U.S. and Canada, written by Elaine Farrell and Leanne McCormick, and out now with Sandycove. Ireland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was not a very good place to be a woman. Among th…
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Empire, Kinship and Violence: Family Histories, Indigenous Rights and the Making of Settler Colonialism, 1770-1842 (Cambridge University Press, 2022) by Dr. Elizabeth Elbourne traces the history of three linked imperial families in Britain and across contested colonial borderlands from 1770 to 1842. Dr. Elbourne tracks the Haudenosaunee Brants of n…
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Carla Cevasco, Assistant Professor of American Studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, discusses her recent article, "This is My Body: Communion and Cannibalism in Colonial New England and New France." Her article was published in the December 2016 issue of The New England Quarterly. Abstract: Analyzing the material culture of Engli…
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