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In the Province of History

The Making of the Public Past in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia

by (author) Ian McKay & Robin Bates

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
May 2010
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    Publish Date
    May 2010
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2010
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2010
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Using archival sources, novels, government reports, and works on tourism and heritage, Ian McKay and Robin Bates look at how state planners, key politicians, and cultural figures such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, long-time premier Angus L. Macdonald, and novelist Thomas Raddall were all instrumental in forming “tourism/history.” The authors argue that Longfellow’s 1847 poem Evangeline – on the brutal British expulsion of Acadians from Nova Scotia – became a template a new kind of profit-making history that exalted whiteness and excluded ethnic minorities, women, and working class movements. A remarkable look at the intersection of politics, leisure, and the presentation of public history, In the Province of History is a revealing account of how a region has both used and distorted its own past.

About the authors

IAN McKAY is a Halifax historian. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Warrick in England, and a PhD from Dalhousie University. He is the author of the seminal study The Quest of the Folk: Antimodernism and Cultural Selection in Twentienth-Century Nova Scotia (1994).

Ian McKay's profile page

Robin Bates' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"In the Province of History gives a highly provocative and sometimes startling insight into the evolution of Nova Scotia's tourism history. McKay and Bates demonstrate expert archival knowledge, while masterfully sustaining an intellectual narrative, from cover to cover. This highly anticipated book will inform, inspire, and advance alternative understanding of Nova Scotian history. The authors are to be congratulated." Gwendolyn Davies, Professor and Dean Emerita, University of New Brunswick
"[McKay] makes his case with passion, sarcasm, and irony." Christopher Moore, Canada's History

Other titles by Ian McKay