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UMaine Faculty Contribute to New Book Comparing Early Life in Canadian Maritimes and New England

Contact: Nancy Strayer, Canadian-American Center, (207) 581-4220

ORONO — Smuggling, fisheries, Paleo-Indians and folklore are only some of the topics covered in a new book, “New England and the Maritime Provinces,” which was co-edited by Stephen Hornsby, director of the Canadian-American Center at the University of Maine.

The book is a compilation of a variety of essays discussing many aspects of life in the Maritime Provinces of Canada and New England over the last 10,000 years. The essays, written by leading scholars from both sides of the border, including six from UMaine, reflect the historical cooperation between the two regions.

“We have set the standard for these regional comparisons across the continent,” says Hornsby, also an associate professor of geography and Canadian studies. Hornsby hopes to see more books like this in the future, examining the relationship between other United States border regions and their Canadian counterparts.

“The book is accessible to the general public,” Hornsby says. “It’s not jargon-filled.”

“New England and the Maritime Provinces” is available through the McGill-Queens University Press.

The Northeastern United States and Canadian Maritimes have held the interest of fishers, merchants, explorers, missionaries, settlers, soldiers, monarchs and farmers throughout history. An article by Elizabeth Mancke, associate professor of history at the University of Akron, explores what drew so many people to these regions.

Only in the last hundred years has the border between Canada and the United States been truly defined. How does an arbitrary border, drawn across a region with so much in common, affect both regions? What does the regional definition mean to groups like the Passamaquoddy, whose territory has traditionally straddled both sides of the border? An article by William Wicken, associate professor of history at York University in Toronto, discusses this and whether the Passamaquoddy can maintain a political and cultural identity that supersedes the identities created by the formation of Canada and the United States.

Another group that was affected strongly by the border dispute was the French of Madawaska. Though their customs and lifestyles were very different from the rest of the people of Maine, they became citizens of the United States and Maine and had to acclimatize themselves. In “Before Borderlands,” Beatrice Craig, an associate professor of history at the University of Ottawa, discusses this faction of Maine society.

“More Buck for the Bang,” by UMaine history professor Richard Judd and Bill Parenteau, associate history professor at the University of New Brunswick, discusses the beginnings of tensions between the locals and tourists, a topic that is still vital today as Maine changes from a manufacturing economy to one that leans towards tourism.

An article describing the area around the Bay of Fundy as “one of the great smuggling centers of the Atlantic world” in the first decades of the 19th Century explores who participated in illicit trade — from politicians to poor farmers.

“Variations on a Borderlands Theme: Nativism and Collective Violence in Northeastern North America in the Mid-Nineteenth Century” by UMaine history professor Scott See describes the tension in the region as Irish Catholic immigrated during the great famine. The article compares the reaction of the Protestants in the majority of the region, and the French Catholics in the Quebec region to the newcomers.

Other topics include: out-migration from the regions to find jobs, the relationship between Nova Scotia and the U.S.; the Shaw family’s contributions to the region; a case study between Portland, Maine, and St. John, New Brunswick; the interaction between Acadian settlers and English soldiers in the St. John Valley; and life in the region before the Europeans arrived.

Other contributors from the University of Maine include Robert Babcock, professor emeritus of history, Betsy Beattie, Canadian studies librarian at Fogler Library, Jacques Ferland, associate professor of history and David Sanger, professor emeritus of anthropology and climate studies. Deborah Trefts, a public policy consultant and independent scholar from Stillwater, also contributed to the book. John Reid of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia was co-editor with Hornsby.

“New England and the Maritime Provinces” was put together after a conference in 2000, which the Canadian-American Center held in conjunction with the Atlantic Canada Studies Program and Gorsebrook Research Center of St. Mary’s University.

The goals of the Canadian-American Center, since its establishment at UMaine in 1967, have been teaching Canadian Studies, conducting research on Canada, making Canadian information available to academic and business communities, and providing Canadian speakers and performers to the general public. In 1979, the U.S. Department of Education designated it a National Resource Center on Canada. The Canadian-American Center coordinates an extensive program of undergraduate and graduate courses, promotes cross-border research in many disciplines, provides outreach nation-wide to K-12 teachers, publishes Canadian-American Public Policy and occasional scholarly papers, and supports a major research library on Canada. The center also houses a cartography lab currently producing the Historical Atlas of Maine and the Ice Age Trail Map. For more information, visit the website at

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