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KPU Faculty Picks for Diving into the Disciplines

Clearing the Plains

The most remarkable aspect of Clearing the Plains is the narrative arc of the book. Taking the reader on trips through primary documents and using deft and clear prose, Daschuk draws a line that connects nineteenth-century Canadian Indian policy, Sir John A. MacDonald’s railroad, western settlement, Canada’s economic foundation, territorial theft of Indigenous communities and the rise of Canada all together. The conclusion of this story is that Indigenous peoples now experience, a century and a half later, dire circumstances due to these events.

~ Niigaan James Sinclair, Introduction; Book recommended by Chris Hyland, History

The Uses and Abuses of History

In a few pages (just over 100) MacMillan raises a number of provocative questions about the past. Always engages the reader when I use it in class.

~ Tracey J. Kinney, History

Facing East from Indian Country

This original and beautifully written book sought to reverse then-conventional plotlines on colonial North America. Instead of following the arrival of European settlers, it turned to face them looking outwards from a narrative centre on Turtle Island. It's a must-read for anyone interested in how to challenge Eurocentric narratives of the past.

~ Kyle Jackson, History

A People's History of the United States

A book that transformed the way we look at history while remaining engaging and accessible.

~ Tracey J. Kinney, History

The Making of a Confederate

William L. Barney's "The Making of a Confederate, Walter Lenoir's Civil War" is a compelling read for anyone interested in Southern white identity at the time of the American Civil War. This narrative focuses on Walter Lenoir, a planter in North Carolina, who found the slaves he owned to be more of a burden than an asset. He supported the Union in the 1850s and even considered moving his family to Minnesota prior to the war. Despite this, Lenoir and his family supported the Confederacy when the Civil War broke out. Lenoir experienced the full horrors of the war and survived to make a new life for himself and his family. Despite his earlier opposition to southern secession, Lenoir subscribed to the cult of the Lost Cause in the years following the war. This overview of one man's life contains many surprises that challenge our understanding of the American South.

~ Bob Fuhr, History

There Was This Goat

This book introduces a reframing of testimonies collected in the 1995 South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The storytelling is beautiful, but its academic value lies in its interrogation of gender and race in the TRC. The authors challenge how victimhood is constructed in ways that limit which testimonies are deemed worthy of attention. As such, the book is relevant not only to those interested in oral history, but scholars in any discipline that studies testimony in contexts of mass political violence.

~ Beth Stewart, History