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Working People in Alberta

Finkel, Alvin (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press and Canadian Committee on Labour History | Working Canadians: Books from the CCLH


Working People in Alberta traces the history of labour in Alberta from the period of First Nations occupation to the present. Drawing on over two hundred interviews with labour leaders, activists, and ordinary working people, as well as on archival records, the volume gives voice to the people who have toiled in Alberta over the centuries. In so doing, it seeks to counter the view of Alberta as a one-class, one-party, one-ideology province, in which distinctions between those who work and those who own are irrelevant. Workers from across the generations tell another tale, of an ongoing collective struggle to improve their economic and social circumstances in the face of a dominant, exploitative elite. Their stories are set within a sequential analysis of provincial politics and economics, supplemented by chapters on women and the labour movement and on minority workers of colour and their quest for social justice.

Published on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Alberta Federation of Labour, Working People in Alberta contrasts the stories of workers who were union members and those who were not. In its depictions of union organizing drives, strikes, and working-class life in cities and towns, this lavishly illustrated volume creates a composite portrait of the men and women who have worked to build and sustain the province of Alberta.

With contributions by Jason Foster, Winston Gereluk, Jennifer Kelly and Dan Cui, James Muir, Joan Schiebelbein, Jim Selby, and Eric Strikwerda

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“… Three chapters stand out. Joan Scheibelbein’s provided an easy-to-grasp general history of the role of women in the Alberta workplace over the past 100 years. Jennifer Kelly and Dan Cui’s discussion of minority workers broadened my knowledge of this forgotten sector. Finkel’s concluding chapter explains how Alberta suffers from the highest worker fatality rate in Canada even while its laws remain consistently anti-labour”

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“Working People in Alberta sheds light on the western end of working-class Canada and situates Alberta workers in a national context.... Finkel and the eight other contributors cover the headline-grabbing events from this history, but also strive to include the often voiceless members of the working class using direct quotes from First Nations workers, immigrant workers (particularly Ukrainians), and women workers.”

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“Beautifully designed and illustrated, Working People in Alberta is a model of public history that meets the needs of labour activists and working people for an informed knowledge of provincial history. ... In times like these, history can be read with a purpose, and Working People in Alberta succeeds in achieving its goals. Union activists and their allies in all provinces will find this an instructive history, for this is a celebration not of any particular labour organization but of the vision of a more just distribution of our social and economic wealth that is shared by workers across Canada.”

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"[Union Power and Working People in Alberta] provide an excellent look into the history of labour in Canada and how it has changed over time. Most notably each is an important addition to the struggle to keep labour history in the public eye."

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Alvin Finkel is professor of Canadian history at Athabasca University, where he has taught since 1978. Best known as the co-author (with Margaret Conrad) of the two-volume History of the Canadian Peoples, his main areas of research and teaching are the history of social policy, labour history, and Western Canadian history.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The West and Beyond«

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The West and Beyond

Finkel, AlvinCarter, SarahFortna, Peter (Hrsg.) | Athabasca University Press | The West Unbound: Social and Cultural Studies


The West and Beyond explores the state of Western Canadian history, showcasing the research interests of a new generation of scholars while charting new directions for the future and stimulating further interrogation of our past. This dynamic collection encourages dialogue among generations of historians of the West, and among practitioners of diverse approaches to the past. It also reflects a broad range of disciplinary and professional boundaries, offering new ways to understand the West.

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“The essays in this volume are a fascinating snapshot of current scholarship about western Canada and reveal a crop of emerging historians who have expanded the reach of Western Canadian Studies beyond its earlier regional and analytical confines.”

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“The depth and breadth of the essay in The West and Beyond indicate a renewed vitality in Western Canadian history, reconstituted as a field rooted in a particular geographic space, but at the same time attuned to broader sets of processes and other spaces.”

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Alvin Finkel has taught Canadian history at Athabasca University since 1978. His main areas of research and teaching are the history of social policy, labour history, and Western Canadian history. Best known for his co-authorship with Margaret Conrad of the two-volume History of the Canadian Peoples, his other publications include The Social Credit Phenomenon in Alberta and Our Lives: Canada After 1945. His latest book is Social Policy and Practice in Canada: A History.

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Sarah Carter is Professor and Henry Marshall Tory Chair in both the Department of History and Classics and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Recent books include The Importance of Being Monogamous: Marriage and Nation Building in Western Canada and Montana Women Homesteaders: A Field of One's Own.

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Peter Fortna is a historical and traditional land use consultant in the Fort McMurray area. His research interests include Aboriginal history, traditional environmental knowledge, and public history. He was also the co-organizer for "The West and Beyond: Historians Past, Present and Future" conference, on which The West and Beyond is based.

 
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