Research Chair, Department of History
PhD, Queen’s University, 1997
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 84993
Office: Lawson Hall 2268
Office Hours: Wednesdays 12:30-2:30pm or by appointment
Professor MacEachern teaches & researches Canadian history, with an emphasis on environmental & climate history.
A healthy society spends most of its energies trained on the present & the future. But a healthy society also devotes some of its energies to remembering & understanding the past. The historian's job is to tell or remind people today about the lives of others in the past. That's it. Doing so goes a small way to fulfilling the obligation that people of the past are not forgotten. And it holds a promise & a threat to people of today, that they won't be forgotten either.
I am available at the coordinates above, and welcome hearing from you.
Major Research Projects
I am currently completely a history of the 1825 Miramichi Fire, as well as working on a history of tourism on Prince Edward Island, and a study of phenology in turn-of-the-20th century Canada, using the Environment Canada meteorological history collection at Western. I was the founding director of NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment (2004-15) and author of "The Associate" column in University Affairs (2013-15). I am the editor of the Canadian History & Environment series at University of Calgary Press.
(with William J Turkel) Method and Meaning in Canadian Environmental History. Nelson, 2009. Includes "An Introduction, in Theory and Practice" and "Lost in Shipping: Canadian National Parks and the International Donation of Wildlife."
The Institute of Man and Resources: An Environmental Fable. Island Studies Press, 2003.
Natural Selections: National Parks in Atlantic Canada, 1935-1970. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2001.
Selected Chapters & Journal Articles
- “J.E. Bernier and the Historical Record,” Polar Record 53 no.1 (Jan 2017), 102-4.
- “Banff is …Hell? The Struggle of Being Canada’s First, Most Famous, and Most Visited National Park,” Arcadia: Explorations in Environmental History no.10 (Summer 2016).
- Edward MacDonald and Alan MacEachern, “Rites of Passage: Tourism and the Crossing to Prince Edward Island,” Histoire sociale/Social History, vol.49 no.99 (Juin/June 2016), 291-308.
- “Canada’s Best Idea? The Canadian and American National Park Services in the 1910s,” National Parks Beyond the Nation: Global Perspectives on ‘America’s Best Idea,’ eds. Adrian Howkins, Jared Orsi, Mark Fiege (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016), 51-67.
- “The Landscapes of Tourism: Scenic Images in Prince Edward Island Tourism Literature,” Time and a Place: The Environmental History of Prince Edward Island, eds. Edward MacDonald, Josh MacFadyen, and Irene Novaczek (Kingston-Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016), 246-63.
- “Children of the Hummus: Growing up Back-to-the-Land on Prince Edward Island,” Canadian Countercultures and the Environment, ed. Colin Coates (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2016), 259-85.
- Editor, "The Landscape of Canadian Environmental History" forum, and author of its introductory essay, "The Text That Nature Renders?" Canadian Historical Review, 95 no.4 (Dec 2014).
- "The Large and Lovelier Canada / Le grand et somptueux Canada," in (Re)Making Confederation: (Re)Imagining Canadian History special issue of Canadian Themes/Thèmes Canadiens (Autumn 2014).
- "The International Nature of the 1825 Miramichi Fire," Forestry Chronicle, 90 no.3 (May/Jun 2014), 43-6.
- "The Sentimentalist: Science and Nature in the Writing of HU Green, aka Tony Lascelles," Journal of Canadian Studies, 47 no.3 (2014).
- "Popular by our Misery: The International Response to the 1825 Miramichi Fire," in Claire E. Campbell & Robert Summerby-Murray, eds, Land and Sea: Environmental Histories of Atlantic Canada, Acadiensis Press, 2012.
- "A Little Essay on Big: Towards a History of Canada's Size," in Big Country,Big Issues: Canada's Environment, Culture, and History, a special issue of Perspectives, Rachel Carson Center, 2011.
- "MB Williams and the Early Years of Parks Canada," in Claire E. Campbell, ed. A Century of Parks Canada, 1911-2011, University of Calgary Press, 2011.
Public & Digital History Projects
- (with Edward MacDonald), “Collecting Memories,” Canada’s History (Dec 2017 - Jan 2018), 42-6.
- “The Big Chill: The ‘Year Without a Summer’ in Canada,” Canada’s History, Aug-Sept 2016, 52-5.
- With Michael O’Hagan, “Canada’s Year Without a Summer” online exhibit and teaching resource, Jan 2016.
- “The Associate” column, University Affairs, 2013-15.
- (with William J Turkel, Adam Crymble) The Programming Historian 2, open-source, open-access textbook, 2012-.
- (with Josh MacFadyen) "Aerial Photography, Landscape Change, and PEI National Park," Confederation Centre of the Arts, Charlottetown, PE, 2012.
- “Open Season,” Canada’s History, Aug - Sep 2012.
- "MB: Living and Writing the Early Years of Parks Canada," online exhibit, 2012-.
- "Conservation," The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2011.
- "The Academic Alphabet" column, University Affairs, 2006-08.
- The Dominion of Nature: Environmental Histories of the Confederation Era, Charlottetown, PE, Jul 2014.
- The Climate is History: Documents as Evidence of Climate Change, London, ON, May 2014.
- Canadian History & Environment Summer Schools (CHESS), annual event, 2006-.
- Does the World Need More Canada? Connecting Canadian Environmental History to the World, Toronto, ON, 2013.
- EH+ Writing the Next Chapter of Canadian Environmental History, Hamilton, ON, 2011.
- Time and a Place: Environmental Histories, Environmental Futures, and Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, 2010.
In the News
- "A Theory, in Practice: Back to the Bering Land Bridge," ActiveHistory blog, 13 Jul 2017.
- "希望: A Postcard from China," The Otter blog, Jul 2017.
- "Anticipating the Anthropocene," The Otter blog, May 2017.
- “The Bering Land Bridge Theory: Not Dead Yet,” ActiveHistory blog, Sep 2016.
- "Clio and Climate", historicalclimatology.com, May 2016.
- "The Phoenix Response," The Otter blog, May 2016.
- "Ian McTaggart-Cowan in Banff & Jasper: Bringing Wildlife Science to the National Parks," The Otter blog, Apr 2016.
- "Historian Saves Thousands of Environment Canada Files...," The Globe and Mail, 18 Mar 2014.
- "Western University Receives Vast Collection of Weather Observations," London Free Press, 30 January 2014.
- "Goin’ Down the Road: The Story of the First Cross-Canada Car Trip," The Globe and Mail, 18 Aug 2012.
- "A Polyphony of Synthesizers: Why Every Historian of Canada Should Write a History of Canada," ActiveHistory blog, Jan 2012.
- "Nature within Reach of Canadians," The Globe and Mail, 12 May 2011.
- "Do You Remember Where You Were?" The Globe and Mail, 4 Mar 2010.
Awards and Distinctions
- Visiting Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, 2017.
- Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich, 2016.
- SSHRC Strategic Knowledge Clusters grant, principal investigator, 2007-15.
- Visiting Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich, 2011.