The River of History

Does history matter any more? In an era when both the past and memory seem to be sources of considerable interest and, frequently, lively debate, has the academic discipline of history ceased to offer the connection between past and present experience that it was originally intended to provide? In short, has History become a bridge to nowhere, a structure over a river whose course has been permanently altered?

This is the overarching question that the contributors to The River of History : Trans-national and Trans-disciplinary Perspectives on the Immanence of the Past seek to answer. Drawn from a broad spectrum of scholarly disciplines, the authors tackle a wide range of more specific questions touching on this larger one. Does history, as it is practised in universities, provide any useful context for the average Canadian or has the task of historical consciousness-shaping passed to filmmakers and journalists? What can the history of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal conceptions of land and property tell us about contemporary relations between these cultures? Is there a way to own the past that fosters sincere stock-taking without proprietary interest or rigid notions of linearity? And, finally, what does the history of technological change suggest about humanity's ability to manage the process now and in the future?

The philosopher Heraclitus once likened history to a river and argued for its otherness by stating that "No man can cross the same river twice, because neither the man nor the river is the same." This collection reconsiders this conceptualization, taking the reader on a journey along the river in an effort to better comprehend the ways in which past, present, and future are interconnected.

With Contributions By:
Jeffrey Scott Brown
A.R. Buck
Carol B. Duncan
Peter Farrugia
James Gerrie
Leo Groarke
Stephen F.Haller
John S. Hill
John McLaren
M. Carleton Simpson
Robert Wright
Nancy E. Wright

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
The River of History 1
Table of Contents 8
List of Contributors 10
Acknowledgments 12
Introduction: Navigating the River of History 14
Section I: Whither History? Professional Historians, Specialization and Popularization 46
1 The Way We Were?: History as Infotainment in the Age of History Television 48
2 Teaching History: The Future of the Past 72
Section II: "Sharper than Any Two-Edged Sword": History, Colonialism and Land 90
3 The Memory of Property: The Challenge of Using the Past to Enlighten the Lawyers of the Future 92
4 Reading the Past: The Dispossession of the Poor and the Aborigines in Colonial New South Wales 116
5 Understanding Property in Australian History 138
Section III: Past, Present and Future Tense: How Do We Own the Past? 160
6 Historical Fictions: The Invention of Historical Events for Political Purposes 162
7 Being Present, Owning the Past, and Growing into the Future: Temporality, Revelation and the Therapeutic Culture 186
8 Travessao: African Diasporic Migratory Subjectivity and the Making of History 208
Section IV: Future History: Technological Development and Historical Change 228
9 Canada's Lost Tradition of Technological Criticism 230
10 Linking the Past to the Future 260
11 Predictions of Global Catastrophe: Just Another Chicken Little? 282
Index 298
B 298
A 298
C 299
D 299
E 300
F 300
G 300
H 300
I 301
K 302
L 302
M 302
J 302
O 303
Q 303
P 303
R 303
N 303
S 304
T 304
U 304
V 304
W 305
Y 305
Z 305