A native of Quebec, I received my graduate degrees from the Universities of New Brunswick and Ottawa, and arrived at SFU in 1976. I am currently teaching courses on the history of New France, modern Quebec, the environment, and visions of the Canadian landscape.
While I have published articles on the history of New Brunswick, British Columbia, Scotland, and the United States, my research focus has largely been on nineteenth-century rural society in Quebec's Eastern Townships, a region first settled by Americans following the War of Independence, then by families from Great Britain after the Napoleonic Wars, and, finally, by French Canadians following the Rebellions of 1837-8. This has been an ideal region to examine Canadian ethnic/national relations and identity, but my thematic focus has varied widely to include immigration and colonization, rural economic development, landscape and tourism, religion and society, community and state formation, gender and the family, political conflict, and so on. To encourage research into the history of a region whose early records have been scattered continent-wide with the English-speaking exodus, I have also published a number of diaries, memoirs, and correspondence collections. I am currently working on travelers’ narratives, tourism, public recreation, and the Canadian landscape.
Patrician Liberal: The Public and Private Life of Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, 1829-1908
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013
An Illustrated History of Quebec: Tradition and Modernity
Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2012
Loyalties in Conflict: A Canadian Borderland in War and Rebellion, 1812-1840
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008
The Other Quebec: Microhistorical Essays on Nineteenth-Century Religion and Society
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006
Borderland Religion: The Emergence of an English Canadian Identity, 1792-1852
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004
Love Strong as Death: Lucy Peel's Canadian Journal, 1833-36
Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2001
State and Society in Transition: The Politics of Institutional Reform in the Eastern Townships, 1838-1852
Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997
Crofters and Habitants: Settler Society, Economy and Culture in a Quebec Township, 1848-81
Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1991
Nationalism, Capitalism, and Colonization in Nineteenth-Century Quebec: The Upper St. Francis District
Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1989
- ‘Charities, Manufactures, and Taxes: The Montreal Sisters of Providence Spruce Gum Syrup Case, 1876-78,' Canadian Historical Review, 95, no. 1 (March 2014): 54-77.
- ‘Travels in a Cold and Rugged Land: C.H. Farnham’s Quebec Essays in Harper’s Magazine, 1883-89,’ Journal of Canadian Studies, 47, no. 2 (Spring 2013): 215-45.
- 'A.C. Buchanan and the Megantic Experiment: Promoting British Colonization in Lower Canada,' Histoire sociale - Social History, 46, no. 92 (Nov. 2013): 295-319.
- 'A Country Without a Soul: Rupert Brooke's Gothic Vision of Canada,' Canadian Literature, 219 (Winter 2013): 95-111.
- ‘From Borderland to Bordered Land: Reaction in the Eastern Townships Press to the American Civil War and the Threat of Fenian Invasion.’ Histoire sociale – Social History, 45 (May 2012): 1-24.
- ‘Vancouver’s Playground: Leisure and Sociability on Bowen Island, 1902-57.’ BC Studies, no. 171 (Autumn 2011): 37-67.
- ‘In Search of the Plains of Abraham: British, American, and Canadian Views of a Symbolic Landscape, 1793-1913.' In Phillip Buckner and John Reid, eds, Remembering 1759: The Conquest of Canada in Historical Memory (University of Toronto Press, 2012).
- '"Like a fragment of the old world:" The Historical Regression of Quebec City in Travel Narratives and Tourist Guidebooks, 1776-1913.' Urban History Review, 40, no. 2 (Spring 2012): 15-28.
- 'L’Établissement des Canadiens français dans les Cantons de l’Est avant 1861,' forthcoming in Yves Frenette and Marc Saint-Hilaire, eds, Atlas sur la francophonie nord-américaine.
- 'West Coast Exile: A Scottish-Canadian Bard in the United States at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,' International Journal of Canadian Studies (Special issue on Americanity, Continentalism, and Globalisation), 44 (2011.2): 119-33.
- 'Promoting "a truly national spirit": The Unifying Mission of Sir Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, 1885-1896.' In Jason Zuidema, ed., French-Speaking Protestants in Canada: Historical Essays (Brill, 2011).
- "’The fostering care of Government’: Lord Dalhousie’s 1821 Survey of the Eastern Townships” (Research Note), Histoire sociale / Social History, 43 (May 2010): 193-212.
- "Life without conventionality: Social Reformers as Summer Campers on Lake Memphremagog, 1878-1905,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 9, no. 3 (July 2010): 281-311.
- "Scenic Tourism on the Northeastern Borderland: Lake Memphremagog's Steamboat Excursions and Resort Hotels, 1850-1900," Journal of Historical Geography, 35, no. 4 (2009): 716-42.
- "Advancing the Liberal Order in British Columbia: The Role Played by Lieutenant-Governor Sir Hector-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière. 1900-1906," Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, NS 19, no. 1 (2008): 83-114.
- "The Posthumous Americanization of Jason Lee, "Prophet of Oregon"," Journal of Eastern Townships Studies, 32/33 (2008): 9-22.
- "American Sinner/Canadian Saint? The Further Adventures of the Notorious Stephen Burroughs, 1799-1840," Journal of the Early Republic, 27, no. 2 (2007): 203-31.
- "West Coast Picturesque: Class, Gender, and Race in a British Colonial Landscape, 1858-71," Journal of Canadian Studies, 41, no 2 (2007): 5-41.
- "Millennial Invasion: Millerism in the Eastern Townships of Lower Canada," in Anglo-American Millenarianism: From Milton to the Millerites, edited by Richard Connors and Andrew Gow. Leiden: Brill, Studies in the History of Christian Traditions, vol. 113, 2004.
- "The Pedlar's Tale: Radical Religion and Family Marginality in the Journal of Ralph Merry, 1804-1863," in On the Margins of the Family, edited by Nancy Christie and Michael Gauvreau. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003.
- "'In the desert places of the wilderness': The Frontier Thesis and the Anglican Church in the Eastern Townships, 1799-1831," Histoire sociale / Social History, 36 (2003): 31-54.
- "Canadian Pastoral: Promotional Images of British Colonization in Lower Canada's Eastern Townships during the 1830s," Journal of Historical Geography, 29, 2 (2003): 189-211.
- "The Methodistical Way: Revivalism and Popular Resistance to Wesleyan Church Discipline in the Stanstead Circuit, Lower Canada, 1821-51," Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses, 31, 2 (2002): 171-94.
- "The Mental World of Ralph Merry: A Case Study of Popular Religion in the Lower Canadian - New England Borderland, 1798-1863," Canadian Historical Review, 83 (2002): 338-63.
- "Revivalism Rejected: Protestantism in Sherbrooke during the First Half of the Nineteenth Century," Journal of Eastern Townships Studies, no. 21 (fall 2002): 27-46.
- "The Naturalist's Landscape: Philip Henry Gosse in the Eastern Townships, 1835-38," Journal of Eastern Townships Studies, 20 (Spring 2002): 59-74.
- "The Fireside Kingdom: A Mid-Nineteenth-Century Anglican Perspective on Marriage and Parenthood," in Nancy Christie, ed., Households of Faith: Family, Gender, and Community in Canada, 1760-1969. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002.
- "A Crime 'Shrouded in Mystery': State, Church and Community Regulation in the Kinnear's Mills Post Office Case, 1899-1905," Histoire sociale - Social History, 34 (2001): 1-34.
- "From the Isle of Arran to Inverness Township: A Case Study of Highland Emigration and North American Settlement, 1829-34," Scottish Economic and Social History, 20 (2000): 3-30.
- "Gender and Gentility on the Lower Canadian Frontier: Lucy Peel's Journal, 1833-36," Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, NS 10 (1999): 59-79.
- "Agricultural Improvement and Highland Clearance: The Isle of Arran, 1828-29," Scottish Economic and Social History, 19 (1999): 132-54.
- "Contested Land: Squatters and Agents in the Eastern Townships of Lower Canada," Canadian Historical Review, 80 (1999): 381-412.
- "'Labouring in a Great Cause': Marcus Child as Pioneer School Inspector in Lower Canada's Eastern Townships, 1852-59," Historical Studies in Education, 10 (1998) : 85-115.
- "School Reform and Community Control in the 1840s: A Case Study from the Eastern Townships," Historical Studies in Education, 9 (1997): 153-64.
- "Serving 'the North East Corner of Creation': The Community Role of a Rural Clergyman in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, 1829-70," Histoire sociale / Social History, 30 (1997): 21-54.
- "A Moral Engine of Such Incalculable Power: The Temperance Movement in the Eastern Townships, 1830-52," Journal of Eastern Townships Studies, 11 (Fall 1997): 5-38.
- "The Bard in a Community in Transition and Decline: Oscar Dhu and the Hebridean Scots of the Upper St. Francis District, Quebec," Canadian Papers in Rural History, 10 (1996): 45-80.
- "The Foundations of Government," in The Pacific Province: A History of British Columbia, edited by Hugh J.M. Johnston. Vancouver and Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1996.
- "State Formation and Local Reaction in the Eastern Townships: A Brief Overview," in Serge Courville and Normand Séguin (eds.), Espace et Culture/Space and Culture (Sainte-Foy: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 1995).
- "Popular voices in Print: the Local Newspaper Correspondents of an Extended Scots-Canadian community, 1894," Journal of Canadian Studies, 30, 3 (1995): 134-55.
- "On the Borders of the Kingdom of the Beast': The Religious Ideas of a Nineteenth-Century Congregational Minister in the Eastern Townships," The Douglas Walkington Memorial Lectures on Congregational History, 1994, pp. 130-46.
- "Popular Resistance to Legal Authority in the Upper St. Francis District of Quebec: The Megantic Outlaw Affair of 1888-89." Labour / Le Travail, 33 (Spring 1994): 97-124.
- "The Foundations of Government," in The Pacific Province: A History of British Columbia, edited by Hugh J.M. Johnston. Vancouver and Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 19.
- "The Short Life of a Local Protest Movement: The Annexation Crisis of 1849-50 in the Eastern Townships," Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 1993, 45-67.
- "The Development of the Québécois Identity: Literary and Historical Images," Colby Quarterly, 29 (1993): 126-35, June, 1993.
- "British Toryism 'amidst a horde of disaffected and disloyal squatters': The Rise and Fall of William Bowman Felton in the Eastern Townships," Journal of Eastern Townships Studies, 1 (Fall 1992): 13-42.
- "From the Isle of Lewis to the Eastern Townships: The Origins of a Highland Settlement Community in Quebec, 1838-81," in Catherine Kerrigan (ed.), The Immigrant Experience (University of Guelph, 1992).
- "Ethnicity, Family Structure, and Seasonal Labor Strategies on Quebec's Appalachian Frontier, 1852-1881," Journal of Family History, 18, 3 (1992): 289-302.
- "Cycles du travail saisonnier dans une zone de colonisation québécoise: les Canadiens français et les Ecossais du Canton de Winslow, Québec, 1852-81," Famille, économie et socièté rurale en contexte d'urbanisation 17e-20e siècle, published under the direction of Gérard Bouchard and Joseph Goy. Chicoutimi and Paris: Centre interuniversitaire SOREP et Ècole des hautes Ètudes en sciences sociales, 1990.
- "Public Policy and Private Interest in the Lumber Industry of the Eastern Townships: The Case of C.S. Clark and Company, 1854-81," Histoire-sociale / Social History 19 (1986): 9-37.
- "Agricultural Progress in Canada East/Quebec: Problems in Measuring Relative Productivity during the Grain-Dairy Transition Period," note de critique, Histoire sociale / Social History, 18, (1985): 425-431.
- "Imperialism and Colonization in Lower Canada: The role of William Bowman Felton," Canadian Historical Review, 66 (1985): 511-540.
- "The Catholic Church and French-Canadian Colonization of the Eastern Townships, 1821-51," Revue de l'Université d'Ottawa, 52 (1982): 142-165.
- "Watching the Frontier Disappear: English-Speaking Reaction to French-Canadian Colonization in the Eastern Townships, 1844-90," Journal of Canadian Studies, 15 (1980-81): 93-111. Reprinted in Michael D. Behiels, ed., Quebec Since 1800: Selected Readings. Toronto: Irwin, 2002.
- "Colonization and Municipal Reform in Canada East, "Histoire sociale / Social History, 14 (1981): 94-121.
- "Les Investisseurs Français et le Nationalisme Canadien-Français. La Compagnie de Colonisation et de Crédit des Cantons de l'Est--1881-1893," Revue d'Histoire de l'Amérique FranÃ§aise, 32 (1978): 19-39.
- "Missionary Priests in Quebec's Eastern Townships: Years of Hardship and Discontent, 1825-53," Canadian Catholic Historical Association: Study Sessions, 45 (1978): 21-35.
- "The Parish and French Canadian Migrants to Compton County, Quebec, 1851-1891," Histoire sociale / Social History, 11 (1978): 134-143.
- "The Social and Economic Development of Settlers in Two Quebec Townships, 1851-1870," Canadian Papers in Rural History, in 2 (1978): 89-113. Reprinted in J.M. Bumsted (ed.) Interpreting Canada's Past: Pre-Confederation, 2nd edition, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1993.
- "La Patrie: Quebec's Repatriation Colony, 1875-1880," Canadian Historical Association: Historical Papers (1977), 65-85.
- "New Brunswick Reaction to the Manitoba Schools' Questions," Acadiensis, 1, 2 (1971): 43-58.
- "The Wheat Trade and Economic Development in Upper and Lower Canada," Acadiensis, 11, 1(1981): 141-151.
Areas of Graduate Supervision
The graduate students I have supervised have, for the most part, explored aspects of rural and cultural history in Quebec and British Columbia.
Current Graduate Students:
I have taught many courses over the years, including environmental history, the Scots myth/identity in Canada, and popular culture, but my mainstays have been courses on Quebec and New France.
Notable Major Awards
- Le prix Lionel-Groulx presented by l'Institut d'histoire de l'Amérique française for the best book on French America published in 1991.
- Certificate of Merit in Regional History presented by the Canadian Historical Association for the best book on Quebec.