On the Cusp of Contact: Gender, Space and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia

Jean Barman, Margery Fee


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“The ways in which we can redress the past are many and varied,” writes Jean Barman, “and it is up to each of us to act as best we can.” The seventeen essays collected here, originally published between 1996 and 2013, make a valuable contribution toward this laudable goal. With a wide range of source material, from archival and documentary sources to oral histories, Barman pieces together stories of individuals and groups disadvantaged in white settler society because of their gender, race and/or social class.

Working to recognize past actors that have been underrepresented in mainstream histories, Barman’s focus is BC on “the cusp of contact.” The essays in this collection include fascinating, though largely forgotten, life stories of the frontier―that space between contact and settlement, where, for a brief moment, anything seemed possible.

This volume, featuring over thirty archival photographs and illustrations, makes these important and very readable essays accessible to a broader audience for the first time.

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March 2020, PB, 400 pages

ISBN 9781550178968

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Jean Barman, Professor Emeritus, has published more than twenty books, including the winner of the 2006 City of Vancouver Book Award, Stanley Park’s Secret (Harbour Publishing, 2005). Her lifelong pursuit to enrich the history of BC has earned her such honours as a Governor General’s Award, a George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, a Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing and a position as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She lives in Vancouver, BC.

Margery Fee, Professor Emeritus, has shaped national understanding of Canadian literature, culture and regional and national forms of Canadian English usage. She has recently published Literary Land Claims (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2015) and Polar Bear (Reaktion, 2019).

Additional information

Dimensions 8 × 8 × .25 in


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