The Clio Prizes
L. Anders Sandberg and Peter Clancy, Against the Grain: Foresters and Politics in Nova Scotia. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2000.
Against the Grain draws on interdisciplinary perspectives ranging from History through Economics and Environmental Studies to Political Science in analyzing the forestry sector in Nova Scotia in the twentieth century. L. Anders Sandberg and Peter Clancy use a biographical approach in their well-written study, providing profiles of seven forestry professionals to illustrate their analysis of forest policy. Rather than a simple narrative of the history of this resource sector, the authors present a unique and careful perspective on the role of resource managers in both the public and private sectors revealing the development of the industry as well as the political and ideological factors that affect policy decisions. Resource management is treated as a historical subject rather than as a simple technological vocation and the study underlines that forest policy involved contested ideological terrain and policy choices.
Donald G. Wetherell and Irene R.A. Kmet, Alberta’s North: A History, 1890-1950. Edmonton: Canadian Circumpolar Institute Press and The University of Alberta Press, 2000.
This substantial book is the first comprehensive study of the history of Alberta’s North. The authors trace the rise of northern Alberta as a region, its transformation through national expansion, the diverging economic and social life of its various districts, and the changing relationship between Aboriginal and Euro-Canadian people. Parts I and II provide a chronological overview and in Part III a thematic approach is taken to topics such as transportation, towns and social services, agriculture, social life, trapping, Aboriginal land rights and political organizations. The authors strive to present the multiple perspectives of those who occupy Alberta’s north, stressing that no single narrative is adequate, and they successfully demonstrate the diversity and complexity of northern Alberta’s societies and economies. A major theme woven throughout if that the policies and programs of both government and business placed the economic needs and standards of newcomers above those of the Aboriginal residents.
No prize this year
Yvan Lamonde, Histoire sociale des idées au Québec (1760-1896) Vol. 1. Montréal, Fides, 2000.
This important work presents the evolution of Quebec by examining the main ideas that have shaped this part of North America. The book demonstrates that francophone society in Quebec was influenced by a variety of ideological forces and by various international events, in particular in relation to the Rebellions of 1837-1838. The product of many years of research, this work of synthesis makes excellent use of published works, newspapers and archival documents. Written in a clear style, the book presents an innovative perspective on this very important period in Quebec history. By studying the social history of ideas in Quebec using the metaphor of “clearings in the forest,” Yvan Lamonde reveals to the reader “the multifarious identities in Quebec.”
Gordon Hak, Turning Trees into Dollars: The British Columbia Coastal Lumber Industry, 1858-1913. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.
Gordon Hak gives us the first scholarly comprehensive study of the coastal lumber industry from the creation of the colony of British Columbia in 1858 through to the changing of American tariff laws in 1913. He argues that the market orientation of the staples approach and the production relations of industrial capitalism are both necessary in understanding this industry. Drawing on his solid research of primary materials and his extensive reading of secondary sources, Hak systematically analyses the lumber industry’s “front end” of markets, company structures, and business strategies, its “back end” of government policies, critics, and independent loggers, and, finally, the mechanical and human aspects of production. In particular, he uncovers the dissenting voices of those who emerged to critique companies and government. Thus, in addition to giving historians a practical theoretical approach, Hak builds a sound foundation for understanding today’s crises and conflicts in the woods between government, companies, loggers, Aboriginals, and environmentalists.
Shirley Tillotson, The Public at Play: Gender and the Politics of Recreation in Post-War Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.
Shirley Tillotson’s study of the recreation movement in post-war Ontario is a important new addition to the burgeoning literature on this period. While focusing on the development of the recreation movement at the local level, in Brantford and Simcoe County, Tillotson skillfully links community developments to a number of national concerns and themes: citizen participation in the liberal state, the development of professional identities for recreation workers, and women’s voluntary role in public recreation. A richly-detailed and well-written book, The Public At Play provides significant insights about the formation of the Canadian liberal democratic welfare state. Deftly integrating social theory into her empirical research, Tillotson successfully demonstrates that gender relations and discourses were central to state formation in this period.