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Our Union

Athabasca University Press | Fabriks: Studies in the Working Class


The post-war period witnessed dramatic changes in the lives of working-class families. Wages rose, working hours were reduced, pension plans and state social security measures offered greater protection against unemployment, illness, and old age, the standard of living improved, and women and members of immigrant communities entered the labour market in growing numbers. Existing studies of the post-war period have focused above all on unions at the national and international levels, on the "post-war settlement," including the impact of Fordism, and on the chiefly economic issues surrounding collective bargaining, while relatively scant attention has been paid to the role of the union local in daily working-class experience.

In Our Union, Jason Russell argues that the union local, as an institution of working-class organization, was a key agent for the Canadian working class as it sought to create a new place for itself in the decades following World War II. Using UAW/CAW Local 27, a broad-based union in London, Ontario, as a case study, he offers a ground-level look at union membership, including some of the social and political agendas that informed union activities. As he writes in the introduction, "This book is as much an outgrowth of years of rank-and-file union activism as it is the result of academic curiosity." Drawing on interviews with former members of UAW/CAW Local 27 as well as on archival sources, Russell offers a narrative that will speak not only to labour historians but to the people about whom they write.

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“This book is a great history of our local! I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about local unions and what they do."

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“The vast majority of workers who have participated in the working-class movements in Canada in some way during the second half of the 20th century have done so through the activities of their locals. The bulk of union activity, whether directly connected to the paid workplace or not, has taken place at the local level. For these reasons, anyone who wishes to understand unions as working-class organizations should put local unions at the centre of their thinking. There are few detailed, thoroughly-researched studies of locals, and for this reason Our Union is valuable.”

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“Drawing on interviews with former union activists as well as archival sources, Russell explores and interrogates the role of UAW/CAW Local 27 in the lives of the men and women who were its members and thus contributes to a better understanding of the way being in a union shaped their lives, and of how they, in turn, influenced the union. He uncovers the broad social agendas as well as the narrow workplace concerns that determined local union members’ organizing and negotiating priorities and over which they struggled among themselves and with the national and international union. In the process, he nuances, and sometimes challenges, the overarching narratives of labour history by using evidence from the local and particular to interrogate what has long been taken for granted.”

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Jason Russell is assistant professor of labour studies at Empire State College, State University of New York.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »Liberalism, Surveillance, and Resistance«

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Liberalism, Surveillance, and Resistance

Athabasca University Press | The West Unbound: Social and Cultural Studies


Canada is regularly presented as a country where liberalism has ensured freedom and equality for all. Yet with the expansion of settlers into the First Nations territories that became southern Alberta and BC, liberalism proved to be an exclusionary rather than inclusionary force. Between 1877 and 1927, government officials, police officers, church representatives, ordinary settlers, and many others operated to exclude and reform Indigenous people. Presenting Anglo-Canadian liberal capitalist values and structures and interests as normal, natural, and beyond reproach devalued virtually every aspect of Indigenous cultures. This book explores the means used to facilitate and justify colonization, their effects on Indigenous economic, political, social, and spiritual lives, and how they were resisted.

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"As an introduction to postmodern ideas and analysis, the contribution Liberalism, Surveillance, and Resistance makes to Canadian Aboriginal history is significant. Sophisticated, thoroughly researched, and readable, it provides a very useful framework for analyzing familiar events in the history of Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relations in Canada and colonialism everywhere."

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“Smith concludes that ‘disciplinary surveillance’ of aboriginal people as employed by the federal government has persisted to the present day, despite the evidence of sporadic resistance by individuals and groups. What makes this book even more timely, is that the Canadian government continues to monitor the activities of aboriginal people who resist incursions on their indigenous rights and territories.”

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Keith D. Smith is Chair of the Department of First Nations Studies and teaches in the Department of History at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

 
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Reel Time

Athabasca University Press


In this authoritative work, Seiler and Seiler argues that the establishment and development of moviegoing and movie exhibition in Prairie Canada is best understood in the context of changing late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century social, economic, and technological developments. From the first entrepreneurs who attempted to lure customers in to movie exhibition halls, to the digital revolution and its impact on moviegoing, Reel Time highlights the pivotal role of amusement venues in shaping the leisure activities of working- and middle-class people across North America.

As marketing efforts, the lavish interiors of the movie palace and the romantic view of the local movie theatre concealed a competitive environment in which producers, exhibitors, and distributors tried to monopolize the industry and drive their rivals out of business. The pitched battles and power struggles between national movie theatre chains took place at the same time that movie exhibitors launched campaigns to reassure moviegoers that theatres were no longer the “unclean and immoral places of amusement” of yesteryear. Under the leadership of impresarios, the movie theatre rose up from these attacks to become an important social and cultural centre – one deemed “suitable for women and children.”

An innovative examination of moviegoing as a social practice and movie exhibition as a commercial enterprise, Reel Time depicts how the industry shaped the development of the Canadian Prairie West and propelled the region into the modern era.

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“Reel Time is an essential reference guide for serious students of film. By reaching back to 1896, the authors set the stage and place the book in the broad context within a skillful blending of social, economic, and technological developments.”

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Robert M. Seiler is associate professor emeritus in communication and culture at the University of Calgary.

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Tamara P. Seiler is professor emeritus of Canadian studies at the University of Calgary. Reel Time is their second joint publication.

 
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Hard Time

Athabasca University Press


Prisons have always existed in a climate of crisis. The penitentiary emerged in the early decades of the nineteenth century as an enlightened alternative to brute punishment, one that would focus on rehabilitation and the inculcation of mainstream social values. Central to this goal was physical labour. The penitentiary was constructed according to a plan that would harness the energies of the prison population for economic profit. As such, the institution became central to the development of industrial capitalist society. In the 1830s, politicians in Upper Canada embraced the idea of the penitentiary, and the first federal prison, Kingston Penitentiary, opened in 1835. It was not long, however, before the government of Upper Canada was compelled to acknowledge that the penitentiary had not only failed to reduce crime but was plagued by insolvency, corruption, and violence. Thus began a lengthy program of prison reform.

Tracing the rise and evolution of Canadian penitentiaries in the nineteenth century, Hard Time examines the concepts of criminality and rehabilitation, the role of labour in penal regimes, and the problem of violence. Linking the lives of prisoners to the political economy and to movements for social change, McCoy depicts a history of oppression in which prisoners paid dearly for the reciprocal failures of the institution and of the reform vision. Revealing a deeply problematic institu- tion entrenched in the landscape of Western society, McCoy redraws the boundaries within which we understand the penitentiary's influence.

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“Hard Time is chock full of lively correspondence from wardens, politicians, and inmates that elucidate 19th-century conditions, though the author stops short of saying today’s prisons are much better. Instead, he argues that many shortcomings are unresolved, many cruelties remain unchanged, and more starkly, he questions whether prison oppression may be inevitable.”

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Ted McCoy teaches at the University of Calgary. His research focuses on punishment and incarceration.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Importance of Being Monogamous«

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The Importance of Being Monogamous

Athabasca University Press and University of Alberta Press | The West Unbound


Sarah Carter reveals the pioneering efforts of the government, legal, and religious authorities to impose the “one man, one woman”model of marriage upon Mormons and Aboriginal people in Western Canada. This lucidly written, richly researched book revises what we know about marriage and the gendered politics of late 19th century reform, shifts our understanding of Aboriginal history during that time, and brings together the fields of Indigenous and migrant history in new and important ways.

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“This innovative book brings together a wide range of subjects and sources to pursue a theme not previously articulated in a single work. Although the pressures increasingly placed on First Nations people, from the 1800s onward, to marry in conventional church ceremonies and to eschew polygamy have often been discussed, the extent to which other groups were pressed to conform to mainstream practices is little known…. Carter demonstrates that monogamy was not just an ‘Indian’ issue; Canadian authorities also challenged non-conforming minorities of European background. These groups, often small and dispersed, were less successful than established Aboriginal communities in subverting and resisting the pressures imposed on their modes of marriage and divorce.”

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"The importance of monogamy was not something readily evident to much of the varied population of 19th-century Western Canada, Edmonton author and University of Alberta historian Sarah Carter points out in her new study of marriage and nation building in the old West.

Carter's fourth book, which recently made the longlist for the prestigious Cundill International Prize in History, begins by reflecting on the currency of this subject during the seemingly interminable current debate on family values and same-sex marriage. Carter sees much of this debate rooted in "a wistful nostalgia for an imaginary simpler time, when gender roles were firmly in place with the husband as family head and provider, and the wife as the dependent partner -- obedient, unobtrusive, and submissive."

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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. Her research focuses on the critical era that began in the late 19th century when Aboriginal people were dispossessed and a new population established in Western Canada.

 
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Cover zur kostenlosen eBook-Leseprobe von »The Forgotten Peace«

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The Forgotten Peace

University of Ottawa Press | Governance Series


In the early hours of April 22, 1914, American President Woodrow Wilson sent Marines to seize the port of Veracruz in an attempt to alter the course of the Mexican Revolution. As a result, the United States seemed on the brink of war with Mexico. An international uproar ensued. The governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile offered to mediate a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Surprisingly, both the United States and Mexico accepted their offer and all parties agreed to meet at an international peace conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

For Canadians, the conference provided an unexpected spectacle on their doorstep, combining high diplomacy and low intrigue around the gardens and cataracts of Canada's most famous natural attraction. For the diplomats involved, it proved to be an ephemeral high point in the nascent pan-American movement. After it ended, the conference dropped out of historical memory.

This is the first full account of the Niagara Falls Peace Conference to be published in North America since 1914. The author carefully reconstructs what happened at Niagara Falls, examining its historical significance for Canada's relationship with the Americas. From this almost forgotten event he draws important lessons on the conduct of international mediation and the perils of middle-power diplomacy.

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"This significant and engaging work provides a cogent analysis of [the A.B.C.] conference, an often-ignored incident in the course of the Mexican Revolution and a fascinating example of incipient Canadian involvement in the affairs of the hemisphere that will be of great intereest both to historians of Mexico and inter-American relations." -- Canadian Journal of History

 
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De la couleur des lois

Les Presses de l'Université d'Ottawa


Malgré l’ouverture proclamée des Canadiens face à la diversité ethnique et culturelle, l’histoire canadienne n’en est pas moins marquée par la discrimination systématique. Cet ouvrage expose la ténacité juridique de cette discrimination par l’entremise d’un examen de six arrêts judiciaires déterminants entre 1900 et 1950 qui démontrent comment le système juridique canadien fut complice de la discrimination raciale.

 

Les cas retenus font exemples des diverses façons dont le racisme a opéré dans les différents environnements juridiques du Canada. On y retrouve ceux d’Eliza Sero, qui a présenté en 1921 une revendication à la souveraineté Mohawk, de Wanduta, un Heyoka de la nation Dakota, qui visait à faire reconnaître son droit de célébrer la traditionnelle danse des herbes sacrées en 1903, d’Ira Johnson, qui a eu à subir le courroux du Ku Klux Klan en raison de son désir de contracter un mariage mixte en 1930, de Yee Clun, un restaurateur canadien d’origine chinoise à qui l’on avait refusé le droit d’employer des femmes blanches en 1924 et de Viola Desmond, qui avait été empêchée par le personnel d’un cinéma de s’asseoir dans une section réservée aux Blancs en 1946. De la couleur des lois illustre l’ambiguïté opérationnelle ainsi que l’étonnante et sournoise persévérance du racisme à l’oeuvre dans le système juridique canadien.

 

De la couleur des lois est la traduction française de Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 1999), qui a été gagnant du prix Joseph Brant en 2002.

 
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Vatican II

Attridge, MichaelClifford, Catherine E.Routhier, Gilles (Hrsg.) | Les Presses de l'Université d'Ottawa | Religion and Beliefs Series


Le deuxième concile du Vatican (1961-1965) fut l’un des événements religieux les plus importants du vingtième siècle. Au Canada, il coïncida avec une période de changements culturels et sociétaux sans précédent, entraînant chez les évêques catholiques canadiens un réexamen de la place et de la mission de l’Église dans le monde. Pendant quatre ans, les évêques catholiques canadiens se réunirent avec leurs collègues de partout dans le monde pour réfléchir aux questions urgentes qui se posaient à l’Église et en débattre. Ce livre bilingue étudie l’interprétation et la réception de Vatican II au Canada, analysant diverses questions, dont le rôle des médias, les réactions des autres chrétiens, les contributions des participants canadiens, l’impact du Concile sur la pratique religieuse et sa contribution à la progression du dialogue interreligieux.

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Michael Attridge est professeur agrégé à la Faculté de théologie de l’Université St. Michael’s College, à Toronto. Il a assuré la direction de la publication Jews and Catholics Together (Novalis, 2007) et la codirection de In God’s Hands (Leuven University Press, 2006).

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Michael Attridge is associate professor of the Faculty of Theology at University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto. He is the editor of Jews and Catholics Together (Novalis, 2007) and co-editor of In God’s Hands (Leuven University Press, 2006).

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Catherine E. Clifford est professeure agrégée et vice-doyenne de la Faculté de théologie de l’Université Saint-Paul, à Ottawa. Elle a assuré la direction de la publication For the Communion of the Churches (Eerdmans, 2010) et est coauteure du livre Le pape : 25 questions (Novalis, 2009). Elle est présidente de l’International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology.

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Catherine E. Clifford is associate professor and vice-dean of the Faculty of Theology at Saint Paul University, Ottawa. She is the editor of For the Communion of the Churches (Eerdmans, 2010), and co-author of Le pape : 25 questions (Novalis, 2009). She is president of the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology.

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coauteur et directeur de plusieurs ouvrages, dont Chemins de réconciliation (Médiaspaul, 2010) et Penser l’avenir de l’Église (Fides, 2008).

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Gilles Routhier is full professor and vice-dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Sciences at Université Laval. He is the author, co-author or editor of many books, including Chemins de réconciliation (Médiaspaul, 2010) and Penser l’avenir de l’Église (Fides, 2008).

 
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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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Light from Ancient Campfires

Athabasca University Press


Light from Ancient Campfires is the first book in twenty years to gather together a comprehensive prehistoric archaeological record of the Northern Plains First Nations. In this important examination of the region’s earliest inhabitants, author Trevor Peck reviews the many changes of interpretation that have occurred in relevant literature published during the last two decades. Beginning with the earliest archaeological evidence for people in Alberta, Light from Ancient Campfires covers each period in chronological sequence.

Throughout his research, Peck asks the following questions: What defines the cultural entity? How has our notion of it changed with increased information? What is the current state of thought concerning this issue? Light from Ancient Campfires provides a new definition for each archaeological phase, setting previous literature in a new light.

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Trevor R. Peck is the plains archaeologist at the Archaeological Survey with the Alberta government. He received his MA from the University of Alberta and his PhD from the University of Calgary. The author of numerous articles and monographs, Dr. Peck’s research interests include the prehistory of the Northern Plains, public archaeology, and archaeological theory.

 
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