Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Book Notes: The Slow Rush of Colonization

I have been meaning to take a deep dive into Thomas Peace's big new book The Slow Rush of Colonization: Spaces of Power in the Maritime Peninsula 1680-1790.  But it's a book that demands quite a bit of undivided attention -- and I have not had a whole lot of that recently. (More on that tomorrow.)

But I'm already impressed. Peace is covering a period that starts when there has already been a century of so of contact between Europeans and the indigenous peoples and nations of what is now eastern Canada.  It ends another century later, in what is still the remote past of Canadian history, but when colonial states were beginning to be able to operate with a much reduced need to give respect or attention to indigenous needs and requirements.  That I guess is the ""slow rush."

Peace documents all this in meticulous detail. But the conclusions are large. He's arguing, I think, that what happened in this time period set a template that still defines the deep constitutional underpinnings of Canada and of indigenous-newcomer relations. The book's way of getting inside indigenous policies and strategies in this period overthrows a lot of standard visions of "pre-confederation" history. But his argument about political fundamentals that endure today being established before the end of the eighteenth century is vastly expands what we might take to be the standard model of Canadian political history.

If you too have not taken the time yet to dive deep into The Slow Rush, you might listen to Tom Peace on the Witness to Yesterday podcast, particularly his concluding remarks about the enduring constitutional meaning of what went on in this period. 

More, maybe, when I've gone deeper into the book.  

Follow @CmedMoore