I’m delighted to pass along the news of an upcoming conference in Saskatoon, focussing on the importance and role of provincial and local/regional parks (as opposed to ‘national’ parks). Organized by graduate student Jon Clapperton and professor Keith Carlson at the University of Saskatchewan, the conference promises to give extensive and intensive thought to the way parks are created, why, and whether or not they do the job for which they are created. I’m looking forward to it.
The call for papers, copied from the NiCHE (Network in Canadian History and Environment) website, is as follows:
Call for Participants: Perspectives on Canadian Parks
Jul 30 2010
Oct 29 2010 – Oct 30 2010
Canadian national, provincial and local/regional parks are of global significance. Combined, they cover over 599,000 km2 (an area roughly twice the size of Germany, or equivalent to Ukraine). And yet, there exists a national park myopia that has caused the more than 300,000km2 of Canadian provincial and local/regional parks to remain largely ignored.
This October 29th and 30th, 2010, Keith Carlson and Jonathan Clapperton will be hosting a symposium at the University of Saskatchewan with funding from the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE) on the history of provincial and local parks (including non-architectural heritage sites that are “natural,” however defined).
This symposium seeks to encourage original research on Canadian provincial and local/regional parks, and to foster dialogue with the existing scholarship on Canadian national parks and the international scholarship on state/provincial and local/regional parks in the USA and elsewhere.
In particular, we seek to:
- elucidate the intersections of provincial, local, and national park histories within a global context,
- to communicate the continuities and discontinuities between the parks creators’ intentions and the lived reality of parks,
- and to illustrate any hegemonic cultural assumptions that lie behind parks and the impact these have for indigenous people and recent immigrants who may or may not share the assumptions of mainstream society.
We especially encourage applications that:
- place Canadian provincial and local/regional parks within the context of trans-national comparisons, and those that,
- account for long-term ecological change.
Ideally, the symposium will include a mixture of distinguished professors, emerging scholars, and graduate students. We also encourage papers from those working outside of academia, such as in parks administration or public history. We are proposing that the best of the contributions be considered for inclusion in a special edition of Environment and History. The symposium, therefore, will serve principally as a forum for presenting and refining ideas and analysis and for engaging in critical, respectful dialogue aimed toward publication of an integrated body of articles. All papers will be historical studies, and participants will design their papers to provide answers to several questions:
- What cultural and scientific assumptions have informed the creation and operation of provincial/local parks?
- What have the relationships between heritage and ecology in provincial/local parks been?
- To what extent have provincial/local parks enacted a program set by national or international agendas and standards?
- How have these second and third tier parks socially, politically, environmentally and discursively compared and contrasted with national or comparable provincial/state and local/regional parks elsewhere?
- How have these parks reflected a process of local and provincial, as opposed to national or international, community-building ideology, and are such attitudes ever set in opposition to presumed national or international interests?
- What could those responsible for parks do differently to better design and implement their mandates?
- Have parks in general been the best way of preserving or providing stewardship for ecosystems, heritage, and recreational resources, or are there alternate ways of managing the land that may be more culturally or ecologically responsive and appropriate?
Anyone interested is asked to send a max 300 word abstract (which includes the authors’ names, affiliations, and title of the paper) and a one page C.V. to Keith Carlson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deadline: by July 30, 2010.
Nominal travel subsidies will be awarded to symposium participants.