Deindustrializing Montreal: Entangled Histories of Race, Residence, and Class (Studies on the History of Quebec) (Hardcover)

Deindustrializing Montreal: Entangled Histories of Race, Residence, and Class (Studies on the History of Quebec) By Steven High Cover Image

Deindustrializing Montreal: Entangled Histories of Race, Residence, and Class (Studies on the History of Quebec) (Hardcover)

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Point Saint-Charles, a historically white working-class neighbourhood with a strong Irish and French presence, and Little Burgundy, a multiracial neighbourhood that is home to the city’s English-speaking Black community, face each other across Montreal’s Lachine Canal, once an artery around which work and industry in Montreal were clustered and by which these two communities were formed and divided. Deindustrializing Montreal challenges the deepening divergence of class and race analysis by recognizing the intimate relationship between capitalism, class struggles, and racial inequality. Fundamentally, deindustrialization is a process of physical and social ruination as well as part of a wider political project that leaves working-class communities impoverished and demoralized. The structural violence of capitalism occurs gradually and out of sight, but it doesn’t play out the same for everyone. Point Saint-Charles was left to rot until it was revalorized by gentrification, whereas Little Burgundy was torn apart by urban renewal and highway construction. This historical divergence had profound consequences in how urban change has been experienced, understood, and remembered. Drawing extensive interviews, a massive and varied archive of imagery, and original photography by David Lewis into a complex chorus, Steven High brings these communities to life, tracing their history from their earliest years to their decline and their current reality. He extends the analysis of deindustrialization, often focused on single-industry towns, to cities that have seemingly made the post-industrial transition. The urban neighbourhood has never been a settled concept, and its apparent innocence masks considerable contestation, divergence, and change over time. Deindustrializing Montreal thinks critically about locality, revealing how heritage becomes an agent of gentrification, investigating how places like Little Burgundy and the Point acquire race and class identities, and questioning what is preserved and for whom.
Steven High is professor of history at Concordia University’s Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling and the editor of Occupied St John’s: A Social History of a City at War, 1939–1945.
Product Details ISBN: 9780228010753
ISBN-10: 0228010756
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Publication Date: June 13th, 2022
Pages: 440
Language: English
Series: Studies on the History of Quebec
“Deindustrializing Montreal is an excellent book animated by a rich and rigorous use of oral history and careful attention to race and language. High combines a mastery of international literature with a serious engagement with place. The result is a fascinating study of neighbourhood in the context of capitalism, community, politics, and economic change.” Steve Penfold, University of Toronto

“Steven High offers an original and innovative analysis of deindustrialization and gentrification in two neighbourhoods that have been at the heart of the expansion of industrial capitalism in Canada since the nineteenth century. The book’s rich illustrations and its insistence on including and engaging the voices of citizens of Pointe Saint-Charles and Little Burgundy make it directly relevant to residents and community groups in those neighbourhoods but also to anyone in the myriad urban communities living with deindustrialization. High has a special gift for connecting the issues of the past with the challenges of the present and for reminding us that the creation of historical knowledge is a communal endeavour.” Martin Petitclerc, Université du Québec à Montréal

“Steven High offers an original and innovative analysis of deindustrialization and gentrification in two neighbourhoods that have been at the heart of the expansion of industrial capitalism in Canada since the nineteenth century. The book’s rich illustrations and its insistence on including and engaging the voices of citizens of Pointe Saint-Charles and Little Burgundy make it directly relevant to residents and community groups in those neighbourhoods but also to anyone in the myriad urban communities living with deindustrialization. High has a special gift for connecting the issues of the past with the challenges of the present and for reminding us that the creation of historical knowledge is a communal endeavour.” Martin Petitclerc, Université du Québec à Montréal