The journal BC Studies is a respected, peer-reviewed publication that focuses on, well, studies of BC, but particularly on historical topics it seems. It has long been an awkwardly circulated journal, in that it appears in few indexing databases and no PDFs were available, even via subscription or through paywalls such as university databases. These days, going to the library to photocopy is considered a hardship. It is therefore extremely welcome to see that BC Studies has put almost its entire series of back issues online, open access, free. Wow. You can download any article from inception in 1969 through the Summer of 2008. Interestingly, a number of the articles are also available as mp3 sound files, so you could listen to these on your daily commute. Naturally you can browse it yourself but you won’t, so let me point out some of the highlights, with an eye on archaeology, ethnohistory and historical geography.
The big three issues are the decadal roundups of B.C. Archaeology. I’ll link to the tables of contents, where you can see the whole issue as well and maybe stumble across something you like.
Autumn 1970: several classic, widely cited papers, including Knut Fladmark on Haida Gwaii, Roy Carlson on Helen Point, and Gay Calvert on St Mungo.
Winter 1980: Fragments from the past: BC archaeology in the 1970s. In timely fashion, this contains a good report by RG Matson on the Glenrose Cannery site, discussed yesterday. Note that these decadal roundups also contain comprehensive bibliographies of BC archaeology compiled by Knut Fladmark, which formed the basis for his 1997 publication Bibliography of BC Archaeology, which is still a very useful resource.
Autumn 1993: Changing Times: BC Archaeology in the 1980s. Every paper in this volume is solid and still widely referenced. The highlight is, I think, the paper by Arnoud Stryd and Morley Eldridge on Culturally Modified Trees. These were just penetrating the archaeological consciousness at this time (from both a fieldwork and a management perspective), and this paper outlines the prospects and possibilities of this line of research, which sadly is still falling far short of its potential. It’s still the best overview of the topic, in my view.
The decade roundups seem to have stopped after this point which is a shame. It’s coming up on 2011 so maybe that is a chance to review the noughties. Anyone up for proposing a special issue?
OK, so there are occasional archaeology papers scattered through the rest of the issues, as well as First Nations and historical geographic content, which I find interesting, at least. So following are some links you may or may not enjoy – again these go to the table of contents for the volume in question because the article links start an automatic PDF download, like it or not.
- 1968: Charles Borden on the Skagit River atlatl. I for one never knew this paper existed. Bad me.
- 1969: Wilson Duff on the Fort Victoria treaties.
- 1970: DH Mitchell on archaeology of Fort Defiance.
- 1973: issue on “Indians in British Columbia“
- 1975: Archaeology of the Alberni Valley by McMillan and St. Claire.
- 1976: annotated biblio of NW Coast aboriginal music, but also, Michael Ames’ appreciation of the recently deceased Wilson Duff.
- 1977: Charles Borden’s appreciation of Wilson Duff
- 1978: Phil Hobler: a cache of aboriginal fishing gear from Haida Gwaii
- 1978: Robin Ridington on Duff’s “World as Sharp as a Knife“
- 1979: R0y Carlson on Charles Borden’s archaeological legacy (I never knew of this paper either!!)
- 1980: Totem pole restoration on the Skeena, 1925-1930, an early case of in situ conservation.
- 1981: Michael Ames on Museums and Acculturation on the NWC
- 1982: Special issue on Photography in British Columbia 1858-1914
- 1982: Smallpox on the Northwest Coast 1835-1838, and Wayne Suttles reviews The World is as Sharp as a Knife, and anthology in honour of Wilson Duff.
- 1983: Special Issue on First Nations, with classic introduction by Thomas Berger.
- 1984: Michael Ames review essay on Bill Holm and Willie Seaweed.
- 1985: Knut Fladmark on fur trade forts of the Peace River
- 1985: Owen Beattie reviews cranial studies in the Gulf of Georgia.
- 1985: Steven Acheson: “Ninstints” Village – case of mistaken identity
- 1986: Notes on the Douglas Treaties.
- 1987: John Adams on bricks in pre-1871 Victoria (I know, I know, but uber-useful for historical archaeologists?)
- 1987: TF McIlwraith – at home with the “Bella Coola (Nuxalk) Indians”
- 1989: Nisga’a Chief George Kinzadah–Simoogit in His Times.
- 1990: Letters of a Victorian Naval Officer 1862-1865
- 1990: Dave Burley and Scott Hamilton on Archaeology of NW Company expansion
- 1991: In Celebration of Our Survival: First Nations in BC (the first, hmmm, “modern” insertion of First Nations voices into BC Studies?)
- 1991: Two reviews of Volume 7, Northwest Coast, of the Smithsonian Handbook. But also a prescient article by Wendy Wickwire on Archaeology and Ideology in BC: the Case of the Stein River. I know a lot of people don’t care for this article but I think it is very valuable as an analysis of the political economy of BC Archaeology, and her solution – at arm’s length, buffered relation between developers and consulting archaeologists – has merit. Also available as an mp3
- 1992: Three pioneering papers on new wave Historical Geography of BC.: Fraser, Skeena and Kitsegulka
- 1992: Anthropology and History in the Courts. Seminal articles, including Julie Cruikshank on the Invention of Anthropology in the context of title cases.
- 1992: RS Mackie on the Colonisation of Vancouver Island.
- 1993: Michael Kew on Anthropology and First Nations in BC
- 1994: First Nations in BC issue, including early historical contact in the Okanagan and Robert Boyd on epidemics.
- 1994: Robert Galois – new papers from the 1785 voyage of James Hanna to the NW Coast
- 1995: Douglas Harris on The Nlha7kapmx Meeting at Lytton, 1879, and the Rule of Law
- 1996: Robert Galois on the 1847-1850 Measles Epidemic
- 1996: First Nations blockades in British Columbia 1984-1995
- 1996: Bruce Miller on the US-Canada border and Salish communities. Also a cool map from 1862 of the upper Shuswap with trail from Sugar Lake to Arrow Lakes.
- 1997: Special Issue – Native People and Colonialism
- 1998: Special Issue – the Nisga’a Treaty
- 2000: Ethnographic Eyes issue, includes classic paper by Regna Darnell on role of NW Coast in Americanist anthropology.
- 2001: Hereditary Titles among the Tsimshian
- 2001: The Bushrat Inventory
- 2001: Forum on BC historiography and sense of place.
- 2002: Special Issue, Perspectives on Aboriginal Culture, includes Susan Marsden on Tsimshian Adawx
- 2003: Native Geographies. Some excellent articles including Martindale and Marsden on Tsimshian archaeology and Wickwire on temporality and ethnography.
- 2005: Photographic Essay, Dan Savard images of First Nations in the RBCM collection.
- 2005: Power Relationships on the early Plateau
- 2005: Cole Harris reviews Julie Cruikshank: Do Glaciers Really Listen?
- 2006: Indigenous Rights and Traditional Knowledge in the BC aquaculture industry.
- 2007: “The Past Emergent” issue, includes essay on Marpole Midden
- 2008: Dana Lepofsky, Deconstructing the McCallum Archaeological Site
- 2008: Henry Collison and the Haida Language
*phew* That’s it for the free stuff. It may be a “moving wall”, so as they add pay-only content at one end then issues become free at the other, I don’t know.
Well obviously the list above is a bit OCD, but the fact is, you’d have to click on every one of those links to find out if there was anything good, and an awful lot of the issues were focused on history of widgets and historical woowoo, and so forth. Go ahead and prove me wrong, though, find something else good and stick it in the comments. And oh, yeah: Canadian Journal of Archaeology – you have your back issues already digitized on that CD you sell (or don’t), why not release them into the wild. You’ll gain citations and prestige. Ditto: The Midden.
I am a huge fan of BC Studies. My first year students use the journal regularly for their essays and article reviews and I’ll make them aware of your useful index of the best of the journal. Thanks for compiling it.
I use some articles with students including Foster, Hamar. 1998-1999. Honouring the Queen: A Legal and Historical Perspective on the Nisga’a Treaty. BC Studies 120(4):11-36 in the Nisga’a Treaty issue. This article nicely refutes major public criticisms of the treaty including the concern that it rewrites the Canadian Constitution and that it is race-based.
I also use a forum with Cole Harris, Jo-Anne Fiske, and Gordon Gibson called Revisiting the Native Land Question (Summer/Autumn 2003). Harris’ piece in this forum is a summary of Harris’ much longer Making Native Space book.
I’ve also used and appreciated Wendy Wickwire’s 1991 Stein Valley article, although not for a few years. I find it useful for discussing the importance of both archaeological and ethnographic research in the context of development. You highlight this article, above.
Thanks for this, Q, and for your selection. Another pivotal issue was Anthropology and History in the Courts, No. 95 Autumn 1992
Gosh, thanks Q. This list will be of lasting use, although now I feel like such a dope for going to library to photocopy and pdf some of these classics for my own use last year.
Bravo to the BC studies folk especially their wisdom in making it for free which ultimately will do great things for their future readership (e.g., undergrads trawling for research topics).
I wish that ‘The Midden’ would do the same and then we wouldn’t have to go searching through a mismash of personal collections to find the article on the Kennedy Lake fish trap…
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Thanks for the additions, Tad and Mad Dog…
twoeyes – I’d like to know if the Midden maintains an organized digital record of the publication. At least since the early 1990s submission has been electronic. It would be a good project to get it on line, and not insurmountable in scope. The benefits of publicity and of fulfilling the mandate of the ASBC would surely outweigh any loss of revenue of selling backissues.
In the case of the CJA, as a publicly funded journal it falls under the general principle of, it should be open access. End of story.
Q, i am not sure what the situation with the midden back issues is currently. but might ask the Vancouver Branch representatives at the upcoming arch forum.
Two other critical local journals to put on a hypothetical wish list to digitize would be Northwest Anthropological Research Notes (now Journal of Northwest Anthropology) and Syesis (published by the Royal BC Museum).
I would add one more article to the list of ‘key read’, and that is Dorothy Kennedy’s Quantifying “Two Sides of a Coin”: A Statistical Examination of the Central Coast Salish Social Network (Spring 2007, 157)
I think it is one of the more important discussions of features of Coast Salish social systems (residence communities on one side of the coin, kin networks on the other). The article has significance for archaeological and ethnographic interpretations of historic (and beyond) social networks.
Thanks Brian, good call. For some reason her M.A. thesis hasn’t made it onto UVic dSpace yet.
another key and timely paper is:
Roy, Susan (2006) “Who Were These Mysterious People?”: ‘cesna:m, the Marpole Midden, and the Dispossession of Aboriginal Lands in British Columbia. BC Studies 152(Winter):67–95.