Karelian Exodus: Finnish Communities in North America and Soviet Karelia during the Depression Era

Find out more about what made Aate Pitkanen go to Karelia and about what happened to thousands of people who went with him.
Karelian Exodus is a collection of articles on the exodus to Karelia of Finnish Canadians and Finnish Americans in the 1930s, the reasons behind it, and the experiences in Karelia of those who left. Edited by Ron Harpelle, Varpu Lindstrom and Alexis Pogerelskin, Karelian Exodus explains how someone like Aate Pitkanen came to find himself writing his letters from a Finnish prison in Karelia.
The 13 Karelia Exodus articles were originally papers presented in March 2004 at an international conference held in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The conference dealt with Finnish communities in North America and Soviet Karelia during the Depression and it featured speakers from Russia, Finland, Sweden, the United States, and Canada.



Banana Stories/Histoires de Bananes

What do you know about bananas? What do you really know about this tropical favourite that does not squeak, squirt or leak? What is the story behind the banana? Do you know where bananas come from? Do you know how many different kinds of bananas are out there? How do bananas get to market in Europe and North America? Did you know that the banana plays a significant role in the lives of millions of people all around the world? If you do not know the answers, read on and take a closer look at the historical, social, scientific and economic aspects of the most popular fruit in the world. Edited by Ron Harpelle, this short collection of articles is downloadable in English and in French for free on this site. Find out what bananas are all about.



The West Indians of Costa Rica: Race, Class, and the Integration of an Ethnic Minority

Want to know more about the history of the export banana industry and the people who created it? Ron Harpelle’s The West Indians of Costa Rica: Race, Class, and the Integration of an Ethnic Minority is a detailed social history of an ethnic minority’s adaptation to life in Central America during the first half of the twentieth century.
The Jamaicans, Barbadians, and other West Indians who migrated to Costa Rica at the turn of the twentieth century found themselves in a country that prides itself on its Spanish and “white settler” origins. In The West Indians of Costa Rica Ronald Harpelle examines the ways in which people of African descent reacted to key issues of community and cultural survival from 1900 to 1950. He shows that the men and women who ventured to Costa Rica in search of opportunities in the banana industry arrived as West Indian sojourners but became Afro-Costa Ricans. The West Indians of Costa Rica is a story about choices: who made them, when, how, and what the consequences were.




The Lady Lumberjack: An Annotated Collection of Dorothea Mitchell’s Writings

Edited by Michel Beaulieu and Ron Harpelle.

The Lady Lumberjack is a complete collection of Dorothea Mitchell’s work. It contains her book, Lady Lumberjack, and several short articles about her time in Northwestern Ontario during the 1910s and 20s. Dorothea Mitchell was a Canadian Pioneer of the first order. She did things that pioneering women have always done, but her pioneer experience was made more difficult by the fact that she was a single woman. Unlike other unsung heroines of the early twentieth century, we know of Dorothea’s accomplishments because she wrote about them.

“Historians often have identified Susanna Moodie or Catherine Parr Traill as advocates for women’s rights, but Beaulieu and Harpelle argue emphatically that Mitchell’s contributions are equally important. Taken as a whole, Lady Lumberjack is as entertaining as it is insightful. Dorothea Mitchell was a gifted writer, her prose at times resembling that of Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx. In all likelihood readers will find themselves missing Mitchell long after they have finished reading the book. This unassuming woman captivates one with her humorous shenanigans while, at the same time, astounding one with her no-nonsense approach to everyday matters typically considered the liberty of men. Lady Lumberjack is a serious contribution to women’s history, with huge potential to inform novice and seasoned academics alike. Mitchell’s writings are ripe with examples of emerging ethnic and racial tensions, national pride and shifting gender roles. Such broader themes need only be teased from the pages. Beaulieu and Harpelle have ably shown the numbers ways in which Dorothea Mitchell stood as a symbol for all that women could achieve.”
Cheryl Desroches, Queen’s University


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