Monday, September 15, 2008

Ph.D. candidate Merle Massie features in a recent profile published in the 5 September 2008 edition of OCN: OnCampusNews. Merle explains there that "history is about creating and shaping identity", and that she is interested in the identity of this, her home province—and how she might, in fact, change it. Merle is working on two main fronts, in fact. One concerns her own doctoral research on the "transition zone" between the borreal north and the prairie south of Saskatchewan. The other concerns her forthcoming teaching in her inaugural edition of History 395.3, New Directions in Historical Research. "Wheat and Wilderness: Canadian Regions, Boundaries, and the Places in Between" (about which more below) which will inform students that the regional concepts which divide Canada into easily described units like the prairies or the north actually over-simplify Canadian history. "Perception," she explains, "is the key. When we identify regions, we impose boundaries and create static geographies, lifecycles, and economics that really have no bearing on reality. When we define Saskatchewan as a 'prairie' province only, we allow one landscape to dominate our history, politics, and culture. I'm working to change this." And so shall her lucky students be.