The Dominion of Nature: Environmental Histories of the Confederation Era

31 07 2014




AS: In a few minutes, I’ll be presenting a paper to “The Dominion of Nature” workshop in Charlottetown (PEI), to discuss environmental histories of the Confederation era. The organizers are Profs. Alan MacEachern (Western) and Edward MacDonald (UPEI). My paper, which is about fisheries regulation, applies concepts taken from James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State.

You can follow the workshop on Twitter using the hashtags #DoN2014  #envhist and #PEI2014.





How did nature figure into Canadian Confederation? From its creation in 1867 through a series of subsequent expansions, Canada swiftly became one of the largest nations in the world. Ideas about scale, resources, property, mobility, and environment certainly figured into the nation’s consolidation and articulation, yet rarely do such topics appear in histories of the Confederation era. And conversely, “Confederation” does not appear in the index of three recently-published Canadian environmental history surveys. Bringing the methods, practices, and sources of environmental history to bear on the standard Canadian history narrative may well enrich not only that narrative but also the emerging national environmental history one.

In time for the sesquicentennial of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference that was a first step to Confederation, NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment / Nouvelle initiative canadienne en histoire de l’environnement and the University of Prince Edward Island are hosting “The Dominion of Nature: Environmental Histories of the Confederation Era,” a workshop to be held in Charlottetown, PEI on 31 July and 1 August 2014. Participants will workshop pre-circulated essays, moving toward the publication of an edited collection by 2016.

For more of the inspirations and motivations behind this workshop see this Otter post by Alan MacEachern.




Thursday, 31 July
UPEI McDougall Hall room 243
9:00 Introduction: Alan MacEachern & Ed MacDonald
9:20 Wendy Cameron,“Nature Ignored: Promoting
Agricultural Settlement in the Ottawa Huron Tract of Canada
10:00 Darcy Ingram,“No Country for Animals?
National Aspirations and Governance Networks in Canada’s
Animal Welfare Movement”
10:40 break
11:00 Andrew Smith,“A Bloomington School
Perspective on the Dominion Fisheries Act of 1868”
11:40 William Knight“Administering Fish”
12:20 lunch
1:30 Brian J Payne, “The Best Fishing Station: Prince Edward
Island and the Gulf of St. Lawrence Mackerel Fishery in the Era
of Reciprocal Trade and Confederation Politics, 1854-1873”
2:20 Dawn Hoegeveen, “Gold, Nature, and Confederation:
Mining Laws in British Columbia in the wake of 1858”
3:30 Taxis to downtown. “Charlottetown 1864” walking tour,
Ed MacDonald.
6:00 Lobster on the Wharf


Friday, 1 August
UPEI McDougall Hall room 243
9:00 Randy Boswell,“The ‘Sawdust Question’ and the River
Doctor: Battling Pollution and Cholera in Canada’s New Capital
on the Cusp of Confederation”
9:45 Josh MacFadyen,“A Cold Confederation: Urban Energy
Linkages in Canada”
10:30 break
10:50 Elizabeth Anne Cavaliere,“Viewing Canada: The
Cultural Implications of Topographic Photographs in
Confederation Era Canada”
11:30 Gabrielle Zezulka, “Confederating Alberta’s Resources:
Survey, Catalogue, Control”
12:10 lunch
1:15 JI Little,“Picturing a National Landscape: Images of
Nature in Picturesque Canada”
2:00 Moving forward
2:30 on your own
7:00 McDougall Hall room 243
Guest speaker for The Dominion of Nature & the Northeast &
Atlantic Canada Environmental History Forum (NACEHF):
John R. Gillis, “Islands as Waterlands”
Saturday, 2 August
All are invited to stay on for NACEHF – see nacehf.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: