Upcoming Publications November 2016

Welcome back to our monthly series, “Upcoming Publications in Canadian History,” where I’ve compiled information on all the new and upcoming releases for the following month in the field of Canadian history from every Canadian academic press, all in one place. This includes new books in both English and French. To see last month’s releases, click here.


***Please note that the cover images and book blurbs are used with permission from the publishers.***

***Contains affiliate links***


November 1, 2016

Len Kuffert, Canada Before Television: Radio, Taste, and the Struggle for Cultural Democracy (Montreal: MQUP, 2016).

Upcoming Publications November 2016

Before screens could be stared at, listeners lent their ears to radio, and Canadian listeners were as avid as any. In Canada before Television, Len Kuffert takes us back to the earliest days of broadcasting, paying particular attention to how programs were imagined and made, loved and hated, regulated and tolerated.

At a time when democracy stood out as a foundational value in the West, Canada’s private stations and the CBC often had conflicting ideas about what should or could be broadcast. While historians have documented the nationalist and culturally aspirational motives of some broadcasters, the story behind the production of programs for both broad and specialized audiences has not been as effectively told. By interweaving archival evidence with insights drawn from secondary literature, Canada before Television offers perspectives on radio’s intimate power, the promise and challenge of US programming and British influences, the regulation of taste on the air, shifting and varied musical appetites, and the difficulties of knowing what listeners wanted.

While this mixed system divided Canadians then and now, the presence of more than one vision for the emerging medium made the early years of broadcasting in Canada more culturally democratic for listeners who stood a better chance of getting both what they already liked and what they might come to like. Canada before Television offers an insightful look at the place of radio and debates about programming in the development of a cultural democracy.

Formats available: Hardcover, Paperback

Publisher’s link: http://www.mqup.ca/canada-before-television-products-9780773548107.php?page_id=46&

Buy it on Amazon.ca: Canada before Television: Radio, Taste, and the Struggle for Cultural Democracy


Sarah Glassford, Mobilizing Mercy: A History of the Canadian Red Cross (Montreal: MQUP, 2016).

Upcoming Publications November 2016

For more than a century the Canadian Red Cross Society has provided help and comfort to vulnerable people at home and abroad. In the first detailed national history of the organization, Sarah Glassford reveals how the European-born Red Cross movement came to Canada and took root, and why it flourished.

From its origins in battlefield medicine to the creation of Canada’s first nationwide free blood transfusion service during the Cold War, Mobilizing Mercy charts crucial organizational changes, the influence of key leaders, and the impact of social, cultural, political, economic, and international trends over time. Glassford shows that the key to the Red Cross’s longevity lies in its ability to reinvent itself by tapping into the concerns and ambitions of diverse groups including militia doctors, government officials, middle-class women, and schoolchildren. Through periods of war and peace, the Canadian Red Cross pioneered new services and filled gaps in government aid to become a ubiquitous agency on the wartime home front, a major domestic public health organization, and a respected provider of international humanitarian aid.

Opening a window onto the shifting relationship between voluntary organizations and the state, Mobilizing Mercy is a compelling portrait of a major humanitarian organization, its people, and its ever-evolving place in Canadian society.

Formats available: Hardcover

Publisher’s link: http://www.mqup.ca/mobilizing-mercy-products-9780773547759.php?page_id=46&

Buy it on Amazon.ca: Mobilizing Mercy: A History of the Canadian Red Cross


November 10, 2016

Bradley Miller, Borderline Crime: Fugitive Criminals and the Challenge of the Border, 1819-1914 (Toronto: UTP, 2016).

Upcoming Publications November 2016

From 1819 to 1914, governments in northern North America struggled to deal with crime and criminals migrating across the Canadian-American border. Limited by the power of territorial sovereignty, officials were unable to simply retrieve fugitives and refugees from foreign territory.

Borderline Crime examines how law reacted to the challenge of the border in British North America and post-Confederation Canada. For nearly a century, officials ranging from high court judges to local police officers embraced the ethos of transnational enforcement of criminal law. By focusing on common criminals, escaped slaves, and political refugees, Miller reveals a period of legal genesis where both formal and informal legal regimes were established across northern North America and around the world to extradite and abduct fugitives. Miller also reveals how the law remained confused, amorphous, and often ineffectual at confronting the threat of the border to the rule of law. This engrossing history will be of interest to legal, political, and intellectual historians alike.

Formats available: Hardcover

Publisher’s link: http://www.utppublishing.com/Borderline-Crime-Fugitive-Criminals-and-the-Challenge-of-the-Border-1819-1914.html

Buy it on Amazon.ca: Borderline Crime: Fugitive Criminals and the Challenge of the Border, 1819-1914


November 15, 2016

Beth A. Robertson, Science of the Seance: Transnational Networks and Gendered Bodies in the Study of Psychic Phenomena, 1918-40 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016).

Upcoming Publications November 2016

In the 1920s and ’30s, people gathered in darkened rooms to explore the paranormal through seances. Science of the Seance resurrects the story of a select transnational group and their quest for objective knowledge of the supernatural world, casting new light on empiricism and its relationship to gender, sexuality, and the body in this era.

Drawing on publications, correspondence, seance notes, and photographs from Canada, the UK, and the US, Beth A. Robertson draws back the curtain to reveal a world inhabited by researchers, spirits, and spiritual mediums, including the notorious Mina “Margery” Crandon. Representing themselves as masters of the senses, untainted by the effeminized subjectivity of the body, psychical researchers believed that machines and empirical methods could transform the seance from an isolated spiritual encounter into a transnational empirical project. The laboratory of the spirits that they created, however, opened up a space where mediums and ghostly subjects could and did challenge their claims to exclusive scientific expertise and authority.

This innovative reassessment of paranormal investigation and the transatlantic ties of the seance reveals how science, metaphysics, and the senses collided to inform gendered norms in the interwar era.

Formats available: Hardcover

Publisher’s link: http://www.ubcpress.ca/science-of-the-seance

Buy it on Amazon.ca: Science of the Séance: Transnational Networks and Gendered Bodies in the Study of Psychic Phenomena, 1918-40


Lynne Heasley and Daniel Macfarlane, Border Flows: A Century of the Canadian-American Water Relationship (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2016).

Upcoming Publications November 2016

Declining access to fresh water is one of the twenty-first century’s most pressing environmental and human rights challenges, yet the struggle for water is not a new cause. The 8,800-kilometer border dividing Canada and the United States contains more than 20 percent of the world’s total freshwater resources, and Border Flows traces the century-long effort by Canada and the United States to manage and care for their ecologically and economically shared rivers and lakes. Ranging across the continent, from the Great Lakes to the Northwest Passage to the Salish Sea, the histories in Border Flows offer critical insights into the historical struggle to care for these vital waters. From multiple perspectives, the book reveals alternative paradigms in water history, law, and policy at scales from the local to the transnational. Students, concerned citizens, and policymakers alike will benefit from the lessons to be found along this critical international border.

Formats available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-Book

Publisher’s link: http://press.ucalgary.ca/books/9781552388952

Buy it on Amazon.caBorder Flows: A Century of the Canadian-American Water Relationship


November 25, 2016

Eddy Weetaltuk, edited by Thibault Martin, From the Tundra to the Trenches (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2016).

Upcoming Publications November 2016

“My name is Weetaltuk; Eddy Weetaltuk. My Eskimo tag name is E9-422.” So begins From the Tundra to the Trenches. Weetaltuk means “innocent eyes” in Inuktitut, but to the Canadian government, he was known as E9-422: E for Eskimo, 9 for his community, 422 to identify Eddy.

In 1951, Eddy decided to leave James Bay. Because Inuit weren’t allowed to leave the North, he changed his name and used this new identity to enlist in the Canadian Forces: Edward Weetaltuk, E9-422, became Eddy Vital, SC-17515, and headed off to fight in the Korean War.

In 1967, after fifteen years in the Canadian Forces, Eddy returned home. He worked with Inuit youth struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, and, in 1974, started writing his life’s story. This compelling memoir traces an Inuk’s experiences of world travel and military service. Looking back on his life, Weetaltuk wanted to show young Inuit that they can do and be what they choose.

From the Tundra to the Trenches is the fourth book in the First Voices, First Texts series, which publishes lost or underappreciated texts by Indigenous writers. This new English edition of Eddy Weetaltuk’s memoir includes a foreword and appendix by Thibault Martin and an introduction by Isabelle St-Amand.

Formats available: Paperback

Publisher’s link: https://uofmpress.ca/books/detail/from-the-tundra-to-the-trenches

Buy it on Amazon.ca: From the Tundra to the Trenches


November 28, 2016

Jonathan Peyton, Unbuilt Environments: Tracing Postwar Development in Northwest British Columbia (Vancouver: UBC, 2016)

Upcoming Publications November 2016

In the latter half of the twentieth century, industrial pioneers came to British Columbia with grand plans for resource development projects, many of which never materialized. Unbuilt Environments argues that these kinds of projects have lasting impacts on the natural and human environment – even when they fail. Jonathan Peyton examines a range of archival materials in five case studies. Looking at a closed asbestos mine, an abandoned rail grade, an imagined series of hydroelectric installations, a failed LNG export facility, and a fuel transmission line, Peyton finds that past development failures continue to shape contemporary resource conflicts in the region.

Formats available: Hardcover

Publisher’s link: http://www.ubcpress.ca/unbuilt-environments

Buy it on Amazon.caUnbuilt Environments: Tracing Postwar Development in Northwest British Columbia



Emil Bessels; edited and translated by William Barr, Polaris: The Chief Scientist’s Recollections of the American North pole Expedition, 1871-7(Calgary: University of Calgary Press,  2016).

Upcoming Publications November 2016

“Emil Bessels was chief scientist and medical officer on George Francis Hall’s ill-fated American North Pole Expedition of 1871-73 on board the ship Polaris. Bessels’ book, translated from the German in its entirety for the first time, is one of only two first-hand accounts of the voyage, and it is the only first-hand account of the experiences of the group which stayed with the ship after it ran afoul of arctic ice, leaving some of its crew stranded on an ice floe. Bessels and the others spent a second winter on shore in Northwest Greenland, where the drifting, disabled ship ran aground. Hall died suspiciously during the first winter, and Bessels is widely suspected of having poisoned him. Bill Barr has uncovered new evidence of a possible motive. Polaris: The Chief Scientist’s Recollections of the American North pole Expedition, 1871-73 includes considerable detail which does not appear elsewhere.  It is the only account of the expedition which includes rich scientific information about anthropology, geology, flora and fauna. It provides much more information than other accounts on the Greenland settlements Polaris visited on her way north. Bessels’ is the only published first-hand account of the second wintering of part of the ship’s complement on shore at Polaris House, near Littleton Island, and of that party’s attempt at travelling south by boat until picked up by the Scottish whaler Ravenscraig. The same applies to the cruise aboard the whaler, Arctic, after Bessels and his companions transferred to that ship.”

Formats available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-Book

Publisher’s link: https://press.ucalgary.ca/books/9781552388754

Buy it on Amazon.ca: Polaris: The Chief Scientist’s Recollections of the American North Pole Expedition, 1871-73


Once again, lots of fascinating books coming out next month! Are there any books you are looking forward to? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments below, Twitter, or Facebook! Don’t forget to check back on Sunday for another Canadian History Roundup.

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