research on disease and health history
Health and colonial change in the North
This project includes articles and a book manuscript in preparation that examine the role of epidemic disease and ecological change as integral to northern colonialism. The book manuscript is focused on the the Mackenzie and Yukon Rivers and their tributaries between 1865 and 1940. Other articles arising from this work address the subject more broadly with particular attention to polio, tuberculosis, and cancer.
The images above show the location of the 1949 polio outbreak (left, map by Liza Piper) and the extent of several other 20th century epidemics across the northern territories (right, map by Eric Leinberger, UBC).
Publications from this project include:
Science, Indigenous Peoples, and Northern Contaminants
I am a co-applicant with colleagues from MUN, Wilfrid Laurier University, Trent, and the University of Toronto, on this SSHRC-funded project led by Dr. Arn Keeling (Geography, MUN). This project investigates the environmental history and cultural politics of pollution and toxicity in Canada's northern regions, offering an opportunity to examine the historic and ongoing impacts of contaminants on northern Indigenous communities.
My research for this project has examined historical constructions of food hazards and anxieties. See for example:
Woman and children cooking bannock in frying pan over kerosene lamp fire near Igluligaarjuk (Chesterfield Inlet), Nunavut, August 1946.
Credit: G. Hunter / National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada / PA-141906