Northern Visions: New Perspectives on the North in Canadian History

Edited by Kerry Abel and Ken Coates

© 2001

Outstanding Academic Title, 2002 - Choice

Canadian nationalists in the 19th century argued that the North, with its extremes of winter, distance and isolation defined the country's essential character and gave its population the resolve and determination necessary to create a prosperous nation. Promoters lauded its enormous economic potential while cursing its vast expanses and dangerous winters. Novelists, poets and painters were awestruck by its boundless reaches and environmental diversity. Today, the North retains its complex place within the Canadian psyche, at once celebrated as the very essence of the nation, while being largely ignored by a population that clings to the Canada-USA border. Many have debated its significance in Canada's history, and have attempted to bring the region to the attention of the rest of the country by carving out a niche for norther history within the academic curriculum. The current generation of historians has a more ambitious and complex agenda. While they are interested in the North for its own sake, they also firmly believe that the study and teaching of Canadian history as a whole does not currently recognize the North's importance to the development of the nation.

Northern Visions, by bringing together a variety of perspectives on the history of the North in Canada, raises new questions and challenges existing ideas. Provocative in their interpretations, these essays do not point to a single path forward in the writing of regional history, but instead suggest that it is time to rethink some of our basic conceptions—and misconceptions—about the North. Northern Visions calls upon historians of both region and nation to broaden their range of research, to connect regional developments to activities in other northern regions of the world, and to think much more widely about the place of the North in the understanding of Canada's past.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
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SKU# HE000187

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2001

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    ISBN 9781551114019
  • PUBLISHED MAR 2001
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Quick Overview

Northern Visions calls upon historians of both region and nation to broaden their range of research, to connect regional developments to activities in other northern regions of the world, and to think much more widely about the place of the North in the understanding of Canada's past.

Northern Visions: New Perspectives on the North in Canadian History

Edited by Kerry Abel and Ken Coates

© 2001

Outstanding Academic Title, 2002 - Choice

Canadian nationalists in the 19th century argued that the North, with its extremes of winter, distance and isolation defined the country's essential character and gave its population the resolve and determination necessary to create a prosperous nation. Promoters lauded its enormous economic potential while cursing its vast expanses and dangerous winters. Novelists, poets and painters were awestruck by its boundless reaches and environmental diversity. Today, the North retains its complex place within the Canadian psyche, at once celebrated as the very essence of the nation, while being largely ignored by a population that clings to the Canada-USA border. Many have debated its significance in Canada's history, and have attempted to bring the region to the attention of the rest of the country by carving out a niche for norther history within the academic curriculum. The current generation of historians has a more ambitious and complex agenda. While they are interested in the North for its own sake, they also firmly believe that the study and teaching of Canadian history as a whole does not currently recognize the North's importance to the development of the nation.

Northern Visions, by bringing together a variety of perspectives on the history of the North in Canada, raises new questions and challenges existing ideas. Provocative in their interpretations, these essays do not point to a single path forward in the writing of regional history, but instead suggest that it is time to rethink some of our basic conceptions—and misconceptions—about the North. Northern Visions calls upon historians of both region and nation to broaden their range of research, to connect regional developments to activities in other northern regions of the world, and to think much more widely about the place of the North in the understanding of Canada's past.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    Northern Visions provides a state-of-the-art overview of historical writing on Canada's North. Its essays explain convincingly how Northern historiography has developed in recent decades, and where it's likely to go in the near future.


    Jim Miller, University of Saskatchewan
  • Author Information

    Kerry Abel was a professor in the Department of History at Carleton University.


    Ken Coates is Dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan. He has published widely on northern Canadian history, and his books include Canada's Colonies: A History of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, Best Left as Indians: Indian-White Relations in the Yukon Territory and, with W.R. Morrison, The Sinking of the Princess Sophia and the Alaska Highway in World War II.

  • Table of contents

    Kenneth S. Coates and W. R. Morrison, Winter and the Shaping of Northern History: Reflections from the Canadian North

    Bill Waiser, A Very Long Journey: Distance and Northern History

    David Neufeld, Parks Canada and the Commemoration of the North: History and Heritage

    Mary-Ellen Kelm, Change, Continuity, and Renewal: Lessons from a Decade of Historiography on the First Nations of the Territorial North

    Shelagh Grant, Inuit History in the Next Millennium: Challenges and Rewards

    Nancy Forestell, Women, Gender, and the Provincial North

    Charlene Porsild, Creating New Angles of Repose: Northern Canadian Communities in a National Context

    Kerry Abel, History and the Provincial Norths: An Ontario Example

    Stephen Haycox, Alaska and the Canadian North: Comparing Conceptual Frameworks

    Aileen Espiritu, Whither the Northern Natives in Russian History?

    Bruce Hodgins, Reflections on a Career of Northern Travelling, Teaching, Writing, and Reading

    Note on Contributors

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