Colonial Extractions: Race and Canadian Mining in Contemporary Africa

Colonial Extractions: Race and Canadian Mining in Contemporary Africa

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By Paula Butler
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2015
World Rights
400 Pages
ISBN 9781442649323
Published May 2015
Online discount: 25%
 $70.00    $52.50
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442619968
Published May 2015
Online discount: 24%
Full purchase $70.00

Challenging Canada’s image as a humane, enlightened global actor, Colonial Extractions examines the troubling racial logic that underpins Canadian mining operations in several African countries. Drawing on colonial, postcolonial, and critical race theory, Paula Butler investigates Canadian mining activities and the discourses which serve to legitimate this work.

Through a series of interviews with senior personnel of businesses with mining operations in Africa, Butler identifies a continuation of the same colonialist mindset that saw resource ownership and racial dominance over Indigenous peoples in Canada as part of Canada’s nation-building project. Financially, culturally, and psychologically, Canadians are invested in extracting resource-based wealth in the Global South, and – as Butler’s analysis of Canada’s influence over South Africa’s first post-apartheid mining legislation shows – they look to legitimize that extraction through neoliberal legal frameworks and a powerful national myth of benevolence.

Complementing analyses of the industry through political economy or critical development studies, Colonial Extractions is a powerful and unsettling critique of the cultural dimension of Canada’s mining industry overseas.

Paula Butler teaches in the Department of Canadian Studies at Trent University.

1. Contemporary Canadian Mining in African States: Colonial Continuities

2. Theorizing the 21st Century Racial-Colonialist Project

3. “I Hear the Rustling of Gold Under My Feet”: Mining, Race and the Making of Canada

4. “Something from Nothing”: Generating Wealth in the Racialized Mining Economy

5. Racial Rule: Resource Appropriation and the Rule of Law

6. Who Do We Say We Are: Narratives of Canadian Mining Professionals in African States

7. “I Wouldn’t Glorify Them as Prospectors”: Colonial Contact Zones and the Eradication of African “Artisanal” Miners

8. Refusing the “White Man’s Burden”: Colourblind Mining in Post-Apartheid South Africa

9. Conclusions: Toward Decolonized Relations

Colonial Extractions tells the story of Canadian mining as a racial regime on a global scale. A thoughtful and well-developed reading of the Canadian mining industry in its historical and contemporary contexts, this book documents and analyses Canadian colonizers’ attitudes towards Africa, its people, and its resources.”

Grace-Edward Galabuzi, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University

“This book asks hard and unpleasant questions: Is Canada engaged today in a colonialist process of resource appropriation? If so, what makes this possible? How is it that racialized structural violence, manifested as resource appropriation, becomes routinized and legitimized? Not all will welcome the analysis presented. Informed mainly by post-colonial and critical race theory, it represents nonetheless a long overdue and extremely rigorous deconstruction of the Canadian mining industry, its domestic history – including its relationship with the Canadian state – and its contemporary operations in African countries. Colonial Extractions is a ground-breaking contribution that will serve as a landmark for years to come.”

Bonnie Campbell, Faculte de science politique et de droit, Universite du Quebec a Montreal

‘A stunning critique of modern mining under neo-liberalism… Colonial Extractions has something to offer on the chronic modern disconnect between Canadian ideals and actions in the realm of race politics and international relations.’

Mica Jorgenson, Canadian Historical Review vol 98:01:2017

‘This brave book’s ideas should be widely considered.’

Kate B. Showers, Canadian Journal of History vol 52:01:2017

“Colonial Extractions is fresh, provocative and unsettling.”

Holly Doan, Blacklocks Reporter, November 7, 2015