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. For 2020-21, I am on sabbatical and am a Visiting Scholar in the Graham Sustainability Institute’s Water Center at the University of Michigan. Previously I was a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Canadian Studies at Michigan State University, a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at Michigan Tech University, and a Visiting Scholar in the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University. I received a Ph.D. in History from the University of Ottawa, and I also have training in Political Science and International Relations.

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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I am the author or co-editor of four books. My most recent book delves into the transnational history of landscape, engineering, and hydro-electricity at Niagara Falls, and is titled Fixing Niagara Falls: Environment, Energy, and Engineers at the World’s Most Famous Waterfall (September 2020).

My 2014 book 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 (UBC Press, 2014) won the Champlain Society’s Chalmers Prize for Ontario History (click here to order). I co-edited (with Lynne Heasley) and contributed to Border Flows: A Century of the Canadian-American Water Relationship (University of Calgary Press, 2016), which is available as an Open Access publication. I co-edited (with Murray Clamen) and contributed to an Open Access collection on the history of the Boundary Waters Treaty and the International Joint Commission, titled The First Century of the International Joint Commission, which was published in January 2020.

I have been working on the history of Great Lakes governance, studying the history of water levels in particular, which includes diversions and engineering works as well as scientific conceptions of natural causes (e.g., earth tilt, climate change, glacial rebound), and controlling ice formation.

My two current book projects are a survey history of Canadian-American environmental and energy relations, and a book about the transnational environmental history of Lake Ontario (with Colin Duncan). The first drafts of the full manuscripts of both of these book projects are almost done, and I’m hoping they will both be submitted for peer review in 2021. I’ve begun poking around a third book project which would look at three Canadian “environmental diplomats” – Maurice Strong, Jim MacNeill, and A.G.L. McNaughton – who became leading officials in international organizations such as the United Nations and IJC. In the long run I’d like 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, and The National Post. I have a photography and film background, some of which you can see on this site.

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

Recent Posts

Online interviews about Fixing Niagara Falls

I recently did two different online talks about my new book: -https://newbooksnetwork.com/daniel-macfarlane-fixing-niagara-falls-environment-energy-and-engineers-at-the-worlds-most-famous-waterfall-ubc-press-2020/ -http://newnatures.org/greenhouse/events/online-book-talk-daniel-macfarlane-fixing-niagara-falls/

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