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.