History PhD alumna Catharine Anne Wilson has published a new book, Being Neighbours: Cooperative Work and Rural Culture, 1830-1960, with McGill-Queen's University Press.
From McGill-Queen's University Press:
Being Neighbours takes us into the heart of neighbourhood –the set of people near and surrounding the family - through an examination of work bees in southern Ontario from 1830 to 1960. The bee was a special event where people gathered to work on a neighbour’s farm like bees in a hive for a wide variety of purposes, including barn raising, logging, threshing, quilting, turkey plucking, and apple paring. Drawing on the diaries of over one hundred men and women, Catharine Wilson takes readers into families’ daily lives, the intricacies of their labour exchange, and their workways, feasts, and hospitality. Through the prism of the bee and a close reading of the diaries, she uncovers the subtle social politics of mutual dependency, the expectations neighbours had of each other, and their ways of managing conflict and crisis. This book adds to the literature on cooperative work that focuses on evaluating its economic efficiency and complicates histories of capitalism that place communal values at odds with market orientation.
Dr. Wilson is the Francis and Ruth Redelmeier Professor in Rural History at the University of Guelph and founder and director of the Rural Diary Archive website.