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Business & Economics General

Colonial Extractions

Race and Canadian Mining in Contemporary Africa

by (author) Paula Butler

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
May 2015
General, Developing Countries, Discrimination & Race Relations, General, African, General, General
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    May 2015
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Challenging Canada’s image as a humane, enlightened global actor, Colonial Extractions examines the troubling racial logic that underpins Canadian mining operations in several African countries. Drawing on colonial, postcolonial, and critical race theory, Paula Butler investigates Canadian mining activities and the discourses which serve to legitimate this work.

Through a series of interviews with senior personnel of businesses with mining operations in Africa, Butler identifies a continuation of the same colonialist mindset that saw resource ownership and racial dominance over Indigenous peoples in Canada as part of Canada’s nation-building project. Financially, culturally, and psychologically, Canadians are invested in extracting resource-based wealth in the Global South, and – as Butler’s analysis of Canada’s influence over South Africa’s first post-apartheid mining legislation shows – they look to legitimize that extraction through neoliberal legal frameworks and a powerful national myth of benevolence.

Complementing analyses of the industry through political economy or critical development studies, Colonial Extractions is a powerful and unsettling critique of the cultural dimension of Canada’s mining industry overseas.

About the author

Paula Butler teaches in the Department of Canadian Studies at Trent University.

Paula Butler's profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘This brave book’s ideas should be widely considered.’

Canadian Journal of History vol 52:01:2017

Colonial Extractions tells the story of Canadian mining as a racial regime on a global scale. A thoughtful and well-developed reading of the Canadian mining industry in its historical and contemporary contexts, this book documents and analyses Canadian colonizers’ attitudes towards Africa, its people, and its resources.”

Canadian Historical Review vol 98:01:2017

‘A stunning critique of modern mining under neo-liberalism… Colonial Extractions has something to offer on the chronic modern disconnect between Canadian ideals and actions in the realm of race politics and international relations.’

Canadian Historical Review vol 98:01:2017

“Colonial Extractions is fresh, provocative and unsettling.”

Blacklocks Reporter, November 7, 2015