Daniel Macfarlane, PhD


To download publications or view my CV visit my page on academia.edu.

I am an Associate Professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI) and a Senior Fellow in the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History at the University of Toronto.

My research looks at Canadian and American environmental, transnational/borderlands, environmental diplomacy, energy, and technology issues, focusing in particular on the history of US-Canada border waters in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin. I am an environmental historian,  but my work tends to cross both interdisciplinary and political boundaries (e.g., political science, political ecology, IR, historical geography, sustainability studies, etc.). I engage current policy issues with some of my publications and teaching, and I have also served as an expert witness, researcher, and consultant for different departments in the Canadian federal government.

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My first book, published in 2014, was on the binational creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, titled Negotiating a River: Canada, the U.S., and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway. I co-edited (with Lynne Heasley) and contributed to Border Flows: A Century of the Canadian-American Water Relationship which is available as an Open Access publication. I co-edited (with Murray Clamen) and contributed to a book on the history of the Boundary Waters Treaty and the International Joint Commission, titled The First Century of the International Joint Commission. My 2020 book Fixing Niagara Falls: Environment, Energy, and Engineers at the World’s Most Famous Waterfall delves into the transnational history of landscape, engineering, and hydro-electricity at Niagara Falls.

I recently finished two book projects which are slated for 2023/24 release. The first is on the role of environment and energy in the history of Canadian-American relations. The second book is a transnational environmental history of Lake Ontario. I’ve tentatively started working on another research project on the history of Canadian climate diplomacy. In the long run I plan to write an environmental history of the Great Lakes.

I utilize digital humanities, such as GIS mapping. and have co-authored several different print and online efforts showing how historians and other scholars can make use of digital techniques, including an online textbook (co-authored with Josh MacFadyen and Jim Clifford) The Geospatial Historian.  I am an editor of The Otter, the NiCHE (Network in Canadian History and Environment) group blog, and am a member of the NiCHE Executive. I am currently President of the International Water History Association (IWHA). My writing and research has appeared in, or been featured in, publications such as The Washington Post, Slate, The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, The Conversation, Maclean’s, Toronto StarOttawa Citizen, Buffalo News, The National Post, etc. I have a photography and film background, some of which you can see on this site.

I can be reached at: danielwdmacfarlane at gmail.com or daniel.macfarlane at wmich.edu

Recent Posts

Recent public and media contributions

I’ve been forgetting to update my public and media contributors here, so here is a compiled list of what I’ve done in the last year or so: ·Daniel Macfarlane, “The Great Lakes are in Trouble,” August 26, 2022, Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/audio/2022/08/25/great-lakes-are-trouble ·Daniel Macfarlane, “Half a Century after the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the Lakes are … Continue reading Recent public and media contributions

Co-written article wins CHA’s Indigenous History Group’s 2022 Best Article Prize

The article I co-wrote with Andrea Olive, published in the Canadian Historical Review, won the Canadian Historical Association’s Indigenous History Group’s Best Article Prize for 2022: ·“Whither Wintego:  Environmental Impact Assessment and Indigenous Opposition in Saskatchewan’s Churchill River Hydropower Project in the 1970s,” with Andrea Olive, Canadian Historical Review 102, 3 (December 2021).

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