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Cold War seminar focuses on North


Nipissing University’s History Department and Master of Environmental Studies/Environmental Science program presents Boards and Bodies: Militarizing the Human Sciences in the Cold War North, for a joint seminar series on Friday, October 30 at 2:30 – 4 p.m. in A252.

The presentation is led by Dr.Matthew Farish, associate professor of Geography and Planning at the University of Toronto.

Here’s an abstract:

In the aftermath of World War II the militaries of Canada and the United States both created overarching agencies – the Defence Research Board and the Research and Development Board, respectively – to coordinate and provide advice on a wide variety of research activities. Both boards took a significant and immediate interest in the North American Arctic, which had already emerged during the War as a strategically significant region. While not an exhaustive history of these two institutions, this paper uses them, and their work, to consider the history of the north (both Arctic and sub-Arctic) as a sort of laboratory for the human sciences – those nominally scientific fields concerned with human behaviors and physical experiences. The significance of the Arctic, both generally and in specific northern locations, for the development of the human sciences during the Cold War is undeniable, but this paper is concerned with the more elusive question of consequences. These included an understanding that an appropriate northern body was a militarized one, concerned with survival in a ‘hostile environment’.​

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