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Sara Spike

Sara Spike 2020-05.JPG
Dr. Sara Spike
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Marine Affairs Program, Dalhousie University

I am a cultural historian of rural communities and coastal environments in Atlantic Canada and a postdoctoral fellow in the Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University, working with BEcoME WP 1.1 to study community engagement with benthic and coastal environments in Nova Scotia.


My research uses a range of unconventional perspectives to explore the historical worlds of rural Canadians, illuminating and recuperating overlooked aspects of rural culture and knowledge. All of my work seeks to reimagine the possibilities of rural life: I tell new kinds of stories about the past to fuel vibrant rural futures. As a researcher, I have extensive experience in archival work, community engagement, and oral history documentation. I have worked as a researcher and consultant to museums and community groups in Nova Scotia.


My SSHRC-funded, award-winning doctoral dissertation from Carleton University, now under review for publication, is a cultural history of vision and modernity in rural Nova Scotia, 1880–1910. A SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship held at the University of New Brunswick supported research for a second book, in development, “Cultural Histories of Fog in Atlantic Canada.” A fellowship with the Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University allowed me to organize a workshop on “Canadian Coastal Histories,” papers from which are now being revised for publication as an edited collection.


I am an instructor in the Department of History at Dalhousie and I have taught courses here and elsewhere in Canadian environmental history, Atlantic Canadian history, issues in Atlantic Canadian ecology, and the early modern Atlantic World.


Areas of Expertise:

Environmental history

Coastal studies

Atlantic Canadian culture and communities

Community-Engaged research



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