Beyond the City Limits: Rural History in British Columbia

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R.W. Sandwell
UBC Press, Nov 1, 2011 - History - 304 pages

Historians have not usually identified British Columbia as a rural province. B.C. historiography has been dominated by mining, logging, and fishing, and theorized within the context of large-scale, laissez-faire capitalism and economic individualism. Silences in the historical record have exacerbated this situation and lent tacit support to the dominance of resource-based capitalism as the shaping force in B.C. history.

The essays in Beyond the City Limits, all published here for the first time, decisively break this silence and challenge traditional readings of B.C. history. In this wide-ranging collection, R.W. Sandwell draws together a distinguished group of contributors who bring expertise, methodologies, and theoretical perspectives taken from social and political history, environmental studies, cultural geography, and anthropology. They discuss such diverse topics as Aboriginal-White settler relations on Vancouver Island, pimping and violence in northern BC, and the triumph of the coddling moth over Okanagan orchardists, to show that a narrow emphasis on resource extraction, capitalist labour relations, and urban society is simply not broad enough to adequately describe those who populated the province's history.

By challenging the dominant urban-based and overwhelmingly capitalist interpretation of the province's history, the provocative essays in Beyond the City Limits expand our understanding of what "rural" was and what it meant in the history of British Columbia.


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About the author (2011)

R.W. Sandwell has taught history at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.

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