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History Essays

The River of History

Trans-national and Trans-disciplinary Perspectives on the Immanence of the Past

edited by Peter Farrugia

contributions by Robert Wright, Leo Groarke, John McLaren, Nancy E. Wright, A.R. Buck, John S. Hill, Jeffrey Scott Brown, Carol B. Duncan, James Gerrie, M. Carleton Simpson & Stephen F. Haller

University of Calgary Press
Initial publish date
Jul 2005
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Does history matter any more? In an era when both the past and memory seem to be sources of considerable interest and, frequently, lively debate, has the academic discipline of history ceased to offer the connection between past and present experience that it was originally intended to provide? In short, has History become a bridge to nowhere, a structure over a river whose course has been permanently altered?

This is the overarching question that the contributors to The River of History : Trans-national and Trans-disciplinary Perspectives on the Immanence of the Past seek to answer. Drawn from a broad spectrum of scholarly disciplines, the authors tackle a wide range of more specific questions touching on this larger one. Does history, as it is practised in universities, provide any useful context for the average Canadian or has the task of historical consciousness-shaping passed to filmmakers and journalists? What can the history of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal conceptions of land and property tell us about contemporary relations between these cultures? Is there a way to own the past that fosters sincere stock-taking without proprietary interest or rigid notions of linearity? And, finally, what does the history of technological change suggest about humanity's ability to manage the process now and in the future?

The philosopher Heraclitus once likened history to a river and argued for its otherness by stating that "No man can cross the same river twice, because neither the man nor the river is the same." This collection reconsiders this conceptualization, taking the reader on a journey along the river in an effort to better comprehend the ways in which past, present, and future are interconnected.

With Contributions By: Jeffrey Scott Brown A.R. Buck Carol B. Duncan Peter Farrugia James Gerrie Leo Groarke Stephen F.Haller John S. Hill John McLaren M. Carleton Simpson Robert Wright Nancy E. Wright

About the authors

Peter Farrugia is an associate professor of History and Contemporary Studies at the Brantford campus of Wilfrid Laurier University.

Peter Farrugia's profile page

Robert Wright, Ph.D., is a professor of history at Trent University, specializing in foreign policy. He is the author of the national bestseller Three Nights In Havana, which won the 2008 Canadian Authors’ Association’s Lela Common Award for Canadian History and is currently being made into a feature documentary. He resides in Toronto with his wife and children. Visit him at

Robert Wright's profile page

Leo Groarke, Principal of the Brantford campus of Wilfrid Laurier University, has been the senior administrator of the campus since 2000. He has studied at the University of Calgary, Simon Fraser University, the University of Helsinki, and the University of Western Ontario, and received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Western in 1982. He has published many articles on the history of ideas, the theory of argument, social issues, peace and conflict, visual argument, and the role of higher education in contemporary society. His previous books include Greek Scepticism (McGill-Queen's), Good Reasoning Matters! (Oxford, with Christopher Tindale), and The Ethics of the New Economy (WLU Press).

Leo Groarke's profile page

John McLaren is a professor emeritus in the Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria.

John McLaren's profile page

Nancy E. Wright is the director of the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Property Rights at the University of Newcastle.

Nancy E. Wright's profile page

A.R. Buck's profile page

John S. Hill's profile page

Jeffrey Scott Brown's profile page

Carol B. Duncan is Chair of the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Her areas of research interest include Caribbean religion and culture in diasporic and transnational contexts. She has published on the Spiritual Baptists, the Black Church, black women and motherhood, and race, gender, and representation in film. Duncan is a co-author of the textbook Black Church Studies: An Introduction (Abingdon Press, 2007). In 2006—2007 she was a research associate in the Womens Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School and a visiting associate professor of Women’s Studies and Religion and Society.

Carol B. Duncan's profile page

James Gerrie's profile page

M. Carleton Simpson's profile page

Wilfrid Laurier University

Stephen F. Haller's profile page

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