Cultural Histories of Fog

Sara Spike from University of New Brunswick, Canada, will present “Cultural Histories of Fog in Atlantic Canada and Beyond” in the Greenhouse speaker series on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 14:00-15:30 in Hulda Garborgs hus O-249.

Abstract: This paper explores cultural narratives of rural communities in Atlantic Canada connected through their shared experiences of fog. Fog is ubiquitous in the region, a perpetual drifting presence that has engendered narratives, representations, and affective responses, including vivid descriptions of sensation, which may be read to better understand the contours of life and culture on the coast. This paper centres on stories: the visceral reactions of early European visitors and settlers to banks of thick fog; Indigenous narratives about the significance of foggy weather; tales of dory fisherman astray on the offshore fishing banks; memoirs about the effect of fog on the daily lives of coastal communities. While major weather events such as hurricanes have influenced the social and political history of the western Atlantic, fog has just as dramatically, although with the greatest of subtlety, shaped the character of life, and often death, in Atlantic Canada as in other coastal regions. Careful attention to fog can refine and nuance our historical understanding of coastal communities around the world.

Dr. Sara Spike is a cultural historian of rural communities and coasts in Atlantic Canada. Her research frequently explores visual and sensory cultures and environmental histories. She is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada, where she is writing a cultural history of fog in Atlantic Canada. She is also the director of the Eastern Shore Islands Heritage Research Project, a community-led, government-funded project in her home region, the rural Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.

Poster for Spike talk

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