William C. Gale

William C. Gale

Contact

Instructor

  • MA, West Virginia University, 1994
  • BGS, University of Michigan, 1989

Research Description

I am currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario working on a dissertation titled, Remains of the Working Day: Shaping Cultural Memory and Landscape at Industrial Heritage Sites in the Keweenaw.

My research addresses a reorganization of cultural landscape in the wake of deindustrialization in Michigan's Keweenaw. An emergence of industrial heritage sites marks a response to the loss of copper mining activity that looks back to a "golden age" of industrialization. The practices of industrial heritage principally rely on regulating the display of artifacts to transform a fragmented sense of place into a coherent correspondence between past and present images of everyday life and place. Landscape organizes our view of place even as we produce a sense of place through our everyday practices, including our readings of historical references. Pursuing coherence in landscape form inevitably produces a discursive landscape that conveys multiple readings of connections between past and present. What appears to be a representation of collective memory is increasingly revealed as the shaping of memory and landscape, a process rooted in our conflicted responses to deindustrialization. Nostalgia often emerges as a way of living in a fragmented present by marking the landscape with references to a "golden age." What remains is to explore possibilities for intervening in the processes of shaping landscape and memory that will open possibilities for reimagining and reconfiguring the meaning of the past in a present sense of place.

Recent Publications

  • Gale, B. 1996. Staging the Practices of Heritage. Review essay of Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory. Labour/Le Travail 37, p 289-99.
  • Gale, B and Jones, C. 1993. Industrial Fairmont: An Industrial Guide. Morgantown, WV: Institute for History of Technology and Industrial Archaeology.”