Dangerous Spirits now available

Dangerous Spirits, forthcoming from Heritage House.
Dangerous Spirits, forthcoming from Heritage House.

I’m happy to announce that Dangerous Spirits is now available for sale in print in Canada. You can find it on Amazon.ca here. The American launch is set for April 2015, so if you are in the States (or Britain) you will have to wait a little longer for a print version. But the book is already available in Kindle in the United States and Canada, as well as other formats such as Google Play BooksNookKobo and iBooks. I spent eight years working on this book, which studies narratives told in Algonquian culture about an evil spirit, the windigo. The book traces these narratives through time, from the rich traditions of Algonquian peoples to its modern incarnation in novels, films, and boardgames. How is it that a being from northern Algonquian tradition can be found in movies set in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, and board games created in Britain? I also look at how different outside groups understood the windigo through time, based on the records of Jesuits, explorers, fur traders, missionaries, and murder trials.

I want to thank Sara Loreno, who worked to create the maps for me (and thanks to David Banis who worked with her), Anne Lindsay who tracked down countless archival materials, Robert Brightman, who answered endless linguistic and cultural questions, and Heritage House, which did an outstanding job editing this book. Grace Dillon, a Professor of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State (and great colleague) wrote a preface that is both insightful and funny. 

It’s a strange feeling to finish a project that has taken so many years. While the book covered a topic with roots deep in the past, it also addresses the legacies of colonialism -the residential schools, land loss, and structural violence- that have impacted many aboriginal communities in Canada. So while the topic is specific, the book deals with issues relevant to First Nations today. My thanks to everyone who supported me on the long journey to this moment.

Now I’m looking forward to the launch of the second edition of our Introduction to International and Global Studies this January. Kim and I will be posting a new teacher’s manual this December.  We’ve made many changes to the work based on feedback from other faculty:

* The latest research on debates over privacy rights and surveillance since Edward Snowden’s disclosures

* Updates on significant political and economic developments throughout the world, including a new case study of European Union, Icelandic, and Greek responses to the 2008 fiscal crisis

* The newest information about the rise of fracking, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the decline of the Peak Oil movement, and climate change, including the latter’s effects on the Arctic and Antarctica

* A dedicated website with authors’ blog and a teaching tab with syllabi, class activities, and well-designed, classroom-tested resources

* An updated teacher’s manual available online, including sample examination questions, additional resources for each chapter, and special assistance for teaching ESL students

* Updated career advice for international studies majors

Want to learn more? You can look inside the book here.

Shawn Smallman, Portland State University

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