Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
My research focuses on rural colonial Nova Scotia and Canada. A recent book, The Spirit of Industry and Improvement, explores social technologies of government in Nova Scotia, and outlines the importance of "improvement" as a defining social discourse of the period. Earlier work, notably the essays collected in Contested Countryside, emphasised the role of rural workers in shaping the course of modern Atlantic Canada.
My new research, Victorian Countrymen, explores the roles of rural elites in defining colonial and post-colonial political identities of British North America. Current historiography highlights the place of cities in shaping early Canadian modernity. But the colonies of British North America were agricultural settlement colonies. The Countryside highlights a vitally active and importantly different series of debates over the nature of emerging Canadian modernity.