Marginal Man: The Dark Vision of Harold Innis

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University of Toronto Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 525 pages
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WithMarginal Man, Alexander John Watson provides the first in-depth intellectual biography of Harold Adams Innis (1894-1952), the great Canadian economic historian and communications guru. Melding biography and analysis, Watson presents, in unprecedented detail, the links between key events in Innis' life and scholarly influences, and the intellectual synthesis that Innis produced.

Watson illustrates and reconciles the great thinker's movement from rural Ontario to the centre of Canadian and international scholarship, followed by his relegation to the margin by scholars who did not understand his political project and the essential consistency of his scholarship and vision. Based on exhaustive research including interviews and reviews of archival sources, the book's methodology reflects that of Innis himself, emphasizing oral tradition and 'dirt' research.

Innis' thought is remarkably relevant to today's world, and Marginal Man discusses his foresight with regards to technological changes - such as the arrival of the internet - as well as historical changes including the end of the Cold War and the beginnings of today's unipolar world order. This book is an extraordinary work of scholarship in its own right, as well as an essential companion to the work of its subject, one of Canada's most important minds.

Works by Harold A. Innis

History of the Fur Trade in Canada
The Bias of Communication

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About the author (2007)

Alexander John Watson is a senior fellow at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto.

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