HIST 5315F: Natural Resources Extraction in Canadian History
Fall 2023

Instructor: Professor Dominique Marshall

map of Canada

Image source: Canada, Natural Resources Canada, “Lands and Minerals Sector – Indigenous Mining Agreements”, Interactive map, Date modified 2020-07-23, https://atlas.gc.ca/imaema/en/index.html


“As recent global climatic trends suggest ominous cataclysmic environmental implications for both the environment and its users, the issue of natural resources and the efficient management of the environment to guarantee the continuous sustainable consumption of the environment and its natural resources has appeared in sharp focus.” – Shannon Lectures in History, Spring 2022

An exploration of the complex history of the extraction of natural resources in Canada. It addresses Canada’s transnational relations of labour and business, Indigenous and traditional understandings of rights to the land at home and abroad, contrasting traditions and perspectives on the ecology and management of natural resources amongst users, activists, government agencies and civil society organizations, social and cultural histories of science and technology, questions of gender and generations, relations between humans and non-human inhabitants of the environment. It pays a particular attention to political and legal conflicts over the regulation of resources extraction, regulations of all sorts about use and preservation, contested or collaborative.  The course features corresponding transnational perspectives, in conversations with African environmental/resource management experiences/practices from African and Latin American regions.  The course also relies on the shared knowledge of an interdisciplinary group of students.  It is cross listed with PECO 5501F. 

Class Format: Organised around one resource every two weeks: fisheries, mining, agriculture, oils, wind and air, water and electricity, forests, etc. Seminar oral (synchronous) and written (asynchronous) discussions, conversations with scholars and Environmental NGO workers or veterans, and presentations (with a choice or written or audio-recorded presentation). Individual meetings with Instructor. Maximum of 90 minutes of real time participation required each week. 

Aims and Goals: The course will introduce students to the main debates surrounding the history of resource extraction in Canada in the context of the transnational history of land and labour rights. It will familiarize students with methods of work with international guest speakers.  It will pay a particular attention to the approaches and the documents used to write such histories. 

Assessment: The assessed work will consist in weekly readings and seminar discussions. Over the term, each student will develop an individual research project on a theme selected by them, as well as one small group project. It will involve working with archival documents, and engagement with the teaching website Recipro. 

Text:  Weekly readings of the equivalent of two to three scholarly articles or book chapters. The readings will be available through the library course reserve system. 

Questions? Please email me at: Dominique_marshall@carleton.ca