Colonial Extractions: Race and Canadian Mining in Contemporary Africa

By Paula Butler

© 2015

Challenging Canada’s image as a humane, enlightened global actor, Colonial Extractions examines the troubling racial logic that underpins Canadian mining operations in several African countries. Drawing on colonial, postcolonial, and critical race theory, Paula Butler investigates Canadian mining activities and the discourses which serve to legitimate this work.

Through a series of interviews with senior personnel of businesses with mining operations in Africa, Butler identifies a continuation of the same colonialist mindset that saw resource ownership and racial dominance over Indigenous peoples in Canada as part of Canada’s nation-building project. Financially, culturally, and psychologically, Canadians are invested in extracting resource-based wealth in the Global South, and – as Butler’s analysis of Canada’s influence over South Africa’s first post-apartheid mining legislation shows – they look to legitimize that extraction through neoliberal legal frameworks and a powerful national myth of benevolence.

Complementing analyses of the industry through political economy or critical development studies, Colonial Extractions is a powerful and unsettling critique of the cultural dimension of Canada’s mining industry overseas.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.2in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003921

  • PUBLISHED MAY 2015

    From: $55.50

    Regular Price: $74.00

    ISBN 9781442649323
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2015

    From: $55.50

    Regular Price: $74.00

Quick Overview

Challenging Canada’s image as a humane, enlightened global actor, Colonial Extractions examines the troubling racial logic that underpins Canadian mining operations in several African countries.

Colonial Extractions: Race and Canadian Mining in Contemporary Africa

By Paula Butler

© 2015

Challenging Canada’s image as a humane, enlightened global actor, Colonial Extractions examines the troubling racial logic that underpins Canadian mining operations in several African countries. Drawing on colonial, postcolonial, and critical race theory, Paula Butler investigates Canadian mining activities and the discourses which serve to legitimate this work.

Through a series of interviews with senior personnel of businesses with mining operations in Africa, Butler identifies a continuation of the same colonialist mindset that saw resource ownership and racial dominance over Indigenous peoples in Canada as part of Canada’s nation-building project. Financially, culturally, and psychologically, Canadians are invested in extracting resource-based wealth in the Global South, and – as Butler’s analysis of Canada’s influence over South Africa’s first post-apartheid mining legislation shows – they look to legitimize that extraction through neoliberal legal frameworks and a powerful national myth of benevolence.

Complementing analyses of the industry through political economy or critical development studies, Colonial Extractions is a powerful and unsettling critique of the cultural dimension of Canada’s mining industry overseas.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.2in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘A stunning critique of modern mining under neo-liberalism… Colonial Extractions has something to offer on the chronic modern disconnect between Canadian ideals and actions in the realm of race politics and international relations.’


    Mica Jorgenson
    Canadian Historical Review vol 98:01:2017

    ‘This brave book’s ideas should be widely considered.’


    Kate B. Showers
    Canadian Journal of History vol 52:01:2017

    “Colonial Extractions is fresh, provocative and unsettling.”


    Holly Doan
    Blacklocks Reporter, November 7, 2015

    Colonial Extractions tells the story of Canadian mining as a racial regime on a global scale. A thoughtful and well-developed reading of the Canadian mining industry in its historical and contemporary contexts, this book documents and analyses Canadian colonizers’ attitudes towards Africa, its people, and its resources.”


    Grace-Edward Galabuzi, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University

    “This book asks hard and unpleasant questions: Is Canada engaged today in a colonialist process of resource appropriation? If so, what makes this possible? How is it that racialized structural violence, manifested as resource appropriation, becomes routinized and legitimized? Not all will welcome the analysis presented. Informed mainly by post-colonial and critical race theory, it represents nonetheless a long overdue and extremely rigorous deconstruction of the Canadian mining industry, its domestic history – including its relationship with the Canadian state – and its contemporary operations in African countries. Colonial Extractions is a ground-breaking contribution that will serve as a landmark for years to come.”


    Bonnie Campbell, Faculte de science politique et de droit, Universite du Quebec a Montreal
  • Author Information

    Paula Butler teaches in the Department of Canadian Studies at Trent University.
  • Table of contents

    1. Contemporary Canadian Mining in African States: Colonial Continuities

    2. Theorizing the 21st Century Racial-Colonialist Project

    3. “I Hear the Rustling of Gold Under My Feet”: Mining, Race and the Making of Canada

    4. “Something from Nothing”: Generating Wealth in the Racialized Mining Economy

    5. Racial Rule: Resource Appropriation and the Rule of Law

    6. Who Do We Say We Are: Narratives of Canadian Mining Professionals in African States

    7. “I Wouldn’t Glorify Them as Prospectors”: Colonial Contact Zones and the Eradication of African “Artisanal” Miners

    8. Refusing the “White Man’s Burden”: Colourblind Mining in Post-Apartheid South Africa

    9. Conclusions: Toward Decolonized Relations

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