Great new reads by U of R scholars
Did you know that the Claybank Brick Plant near Avonlea produced high-quality clay-based products for more than 70 years? Or that the Beth Israel Synagogue, built in 1908 in Edenbridge, is the oldest synagogue in Saskatchewan? Or that Regina’s Milky Way has been around since 1956?
In her book If These Places Could Talk (Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, 2020), University of Regina archivist Crista Bradley takes readers on a journey to some of Saskatchewan’s gems through poetry, colourful illustrations, short descriptors, and photographs from archives, museums, and libraries around the province.
Throughout the book, Bradley shares stories of the province’s rich and diverse history, providing tidbits of information to help readers engage with the past and the repositories that help to preserve it.
Dr. James Gacek, assistant professor in the Department of Justice Studies, argues that electronic monitoring extends prisons beyond the spaces of jails and into people’s homes and everyday lives.
Based on an ethnographic case study from Scotland, in Portable Prisons: Electronic Monitoring and the Creation of Carceral Territory (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022), he delves into what it’s like for people experiencing electronic monitoring—a punishment that restricts mobility, time, and space in ways that strongly resemble prison life.
Throughout Portable Prisons, Gacek also explores the impact of neoliberal states outsourcing punishment to private companies and to the people being punished, and ultimately rejects the idea that “soft” punishment is in any way related to the movement for decarceration.
In her debut book of poetry, Little Housewolf (Signal Editions, 2021), associate professor of English Dr. Medrie Purdham plays with notions of size and scale to explore how small things like baby teeth, portrait miniatures, insects, an old gate, a bathtub, or a piece of fruit can condense our larger ideas and emotions about the world and our human relationships (like motherhood, a particularly sustained theme).
Objects that are miniature to us can point us to those things to which we ourselves are miniature: nature, time, space, the world, the human.
Though the collection was long in the making, certain poems are as recent as the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the poem “For It is Not the Same River and We Are Not the Same,” Purdham focuses on a bathtub to portray her son growing through the years, but also to show how we understand the repetition, novelty, and “invent-ability” of time differently under pandemic conditions.
In the edited collection Divided: Populism, Polarization and Power in the New Saskatchewan (Fernwood Publishing, 2021), sociologist Dr. JoAnn Jaffe, journalist Dr. Patricia W. Elliott, and community development advocate Cora Sellers gather 31 contributors to explore Saskatchewan’s political, social, and economic climate over the last 15 years that the Saskatchewan Party government has been at the helm.
Throughout the 25 chapters, the diverse voices consider the impact of the government’s leadership on the province as a whole, and on people’s lives and communities, making the case that the Saskatchewan Party’s actions have ushered in a climate of polarization and hyper-partisanship, creating deep social divides in what they term the “New Saskatchewan.”