Dr. John Thistle
Labrador Institute of Memorial University
P. O. Box 490, Station B
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL
Office: Labrador Institute Research Station, North West River.
Tel: (709) 497-3630, ext 222
Fax: (709) 896-2970
PhD (Geography), University of British Columbia (2009)
Research and Teaching Interests
I am a Research Associate with the Labrador Institute and an Adjunct member of the Department of Geography at Memorial University.
My teaching and research interests span environmental history, economic geography, and science and technology studies. My current research examines the socioeconomic and environmental legacies of large-scale resource development projects (in particular mining and hydropower) in modern Labrador. Although it is generally acknowledged that large-scale resource extraction projects drove the economic ‘development’ and ‘modernization’ of Labrador communities and landscapes during the twentieth century (and will continue to do so into the twenty-first with new mining developments and hydropower at Muskrat Falls) in fact we know very little about the precise effects of these projects in particular contexts, or their cumulative impacts over time. Nor do we know much about the long term ‘costs’ and ‘benefits’ of large scale resource development in Labrador context. In seeking both quantitative and contextual answers to these questions, this work explores new conceptual frameworks for Canadian resource geography. This work also aims to establish a local collection of archival materials dealing with large scale resource development projects in Labrador, as well as produce statistical baselines and historical time series to support future research in the region.
a) Books and monographs
Resettling the Range: Animals, Ecologies and Human Communities in Early British Columbia (forthcoming, UBC Press).
(with lead author Richard Unger), Energy Consumption in Canada in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: A Statistical Outline (forthcoming, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Naples Italy).
“A Vast Inland Empire and the Last Great West: Remaking Society, Space and Environment in British Columbia” Journal of Historical Geography 37 (2011), 418-428.
“Accommodating Cattle: British Columbia’s ‘Wars’ with Grasshoppers and ‘Wild Horses’,” BC Studies 160 (2008), 67-91
“‘As Free of Fish as a Billiard Ball is of Hair’: Dealing with Depletion in the Pacific Halibut Fishery, 1899-1924,” BC Studies 142/143 (2004), 110 -125.
c) Recent Book Reviews
Matthew McKenzie, Clearing the Coastline: The Nineteenth Century Ecological and Cultural Transformation of Cape Cod. Hanover, University Press of New England, 2010, xviii+227, Journal of Historical Geography, 38, 4 (2012): 481
Dean Bavington, Managed Annihilation: An Unnatural History of the Newfoundland Cod Collapse. Vancouver, University of British Columbia Press, 2010, xxix + 186 pages, Journal of Historical Geography 38, 3 (2012): 481.
“Extractive Industry in the Atlantic Subarctic: Towards a Critical Historical Geography of Modern Labrador,” Canadian Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, St. John’s NL, August 11-15, 2013.
“Why Employment Benefits are Not Enough: Rethinking the Role of Mineral Royalties and Tax Revenues from Iron Ore Mining in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Special Panel on “Managing Growth” Expo Labrador, June 2013.
“Community Resiliency in a Resource Economy: Reflections from Research on Iron Ore Mining in Western Labrador” Harris Centre of Memorial University, Public Forum, Labrador City, March 26 2013.
(with Jean Sebastian Boutet), “The Second Red Gold Rush: Recent Developments in Iron Ore Mining in Quebec-Labrador,” Canadian Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Waterloo, 2012.
“Making an Iron Ore Landscape: Industrial Development and Change in the Quebec-Labrador Borderlands, 1936-1954.” Department of Geography, Memorial University, November 2011.