State of The Arts
State of the Arts is a monthly video series devoted to exploring the research we do in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the people behind that research. It is hosted by Lisa Moore, professor of creative writing and award-winning Newfoundland author.
In our most recent episode of 2019, Lisa Moore talks to John Sandlos about Zombie mines and development in the Canadian North.
What are you reading?
I am currently reading Andrew Stuhl’s recent book, Unfreezing the Arctic, a brilliant examination of the many ways science has been used as a colonial tool in Arctic Canada. I am also reading sportswriter Cathal Kelly’s memoir, Boy Wonder, a funny and honest memoir about growing up in Toronto in the 1980s.
What do you love most about doing research?
The thing I love most about doing research is finding needles in haystacks. I would never lie and say that archival research is always fantastically exciting; often the mass of documents contains a great deal of repetitive material and bureaucratic dross. But every once in a while, you find a document that unveils something so critical to the story you are telling, it akin to discovering hidden treasure (though perhaps a bit less lucrative).
One of my favourites was finding a comic book the Canadian government had created in the 1960s to instruct norther Indigenous hunters how to conserve caribou. The image of bureaucrats in Ottawa deciding they knew more about caribou than people who had hunted them for generations, and then presenting it in a medium meant for children, said more about colonialism in northern Canada that all the thousands of pages that had come before.
What up-and-coming researcher in your field should we know about?
I am really excited about the work of Anishinaabe historian Brittany Luby at the University of Guelph. Her work on northern hydro development and her writing on Indigenization represents an innovative approach to the integration Indigenous history and environmental history.