Marginal Man: The Dark Vision of Harold Innis
WithMarginal Man, Alexander John Watson provides the first in-depth intellectual biography of Harold Adams Innis (1894-1952), the great Canadian economic historian and communications guru. Melding biography and analysis, Watson presents, in unprecedented detail, the links between key events in Innis' life and scholarly influences, and the intellectual synthesis that Innis produced.
Watson illustrates and reconciles the great thinker's movement from rural Ontario to the centre of Canadian and international scholarship, followed by his relegation to the margin by scholars who did not understand his political project and the essential consistency of his scholarship and vision. Based on exhaustive research including interviews and reviews of archival sources, the book's methodology reflects that of Innis himself, emphasizing oral tradition and 'dirt' research.
Innis' thought is remarkably relevant to today's world, and Marginal Man discusses his foresight with regards to technological changes - such as the arrival of the internet - as well as historical changes including the end of the Cold War and the beginnings of today's unipolar world order. This book is an extraordinary work of scholarship in its own right, as well as an essential companion to the work of its subject, one of Canada's most important minds.
Works by Harold A. Innis
- World Rights
- Page Count: 480 pages
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.6in x 9.3in
... by giving us Innis in full, Watson's biography delivers the gift of a thinker about the human condition who was also an authentic Canadian prophet. This is surely one of the important books of the year.
The Globe and Mail - Friday, February 24, 2006
Alexander John Watson is a senior fellow at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto.
Table of contents
Introduction: The Innisian Puzzle
Part One: From the Margin, 1894–1939
- The ‘Herald’ of Otterville, 1894–1913
- The Great War, 1914–1918
- One of the Veterans, 1919–1923
- The Search for a New Paradigm, 1920–1929
- The Great Betrayal, 1930–1940
Part Two: To the Margin, 1940–1952
- Hunting the Snark
- A Telegram to Australia: Innis’s Working Methods
- Innis and the Classicists: Imperial Balance and Social-Science Objectivity
- Time, Space, and the Oral Tradition: Towards a Theory of Consciousness
- At the Edge of the Precipice: The Mechanization of the Vernacular and Cultural Collapse
- Cassandra’s Curse
PrizesDonald Grant Creighton Award - Ontario Historical Society - Winner in 2008
Subjects and Courses