Talk:Harold Innis

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Featured article Harold Innis is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on June 2, 2008.

Addition of Critical Reception[edit]

While the quality of this particular article seems to be very high already, i wonder if it could be improved further by adding some comments regarding the critical reception of Innis' late works on communication. I feel it's important to mention the unique and fragmentary writing STYLE seen in Innis' later work alongside the information on CONTENT. His writing style contributes largely to the critical reception of his work and because of this, is worthy of mention. Benner7321 (talk) 19:36, 26 October 2011 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

Hi, I've chosen Harold Innis to GA review. I haven't actually read the article yet so don't expect a review for another day or two. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 00:53, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, I have read the article and am suitably impressed. Some very small things:
  • " one of Ontario's teachers colleges." Is teachers colleges correct, or should it be teachers' colleges?
  • "He delivered several introductory economics courses and later married Mary Quayle who had been one of his students." Perhaps separate into two senteces unless the two are related.
  • What year did they marry in? Also, it is convenient for the reader it the article explicitly gives an actual age of the subject at certain benchmarks: saves the reader from useing his fingers and toes to do the calculation. For example, "Now a 28 year old, in 1942, John Smith married Jane Doe." Inelegant but gives the idea.
  • "Together they produced four children,..." I don't like 'produced'.
  • "He tried to show that media 'biases' toward time or space affected the complex inter-relationships needed to sustain an empire -- especially the partnership between the knowledge and ideas necessary to create and maintain it on the one hand, and the power (or force) required to expand and defend it, on the other." Overly complex sentence.
  • "For Innis, the interplay between knowledge and power was always a crucial factor in understanding empire:[47]

Innis argued that a balance between the spoken word and writing contributed to the flourishing of ancient Greece in the time of Plato.[48] This balance between the time-biased medium of speech and the space-biased medium of writing was eventually upset, Innis argued, as the oral tradition gave way to the dominance of writing and the torch of empire eventually passed to Rome.[49]

" Is the part after the colon a quote? It is separated from the colon by more than a space.

Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 03:58, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Response to GA Review[edit]

Thanks for these constructive and extremely helpful suggestions. I have made the necessary changes. Bwark (talk) 21:18, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

GA Pass[edit]

This article as far as I understand Wikipedia:Good article criteria, Wikipedia:Manual of Style, and Wikipedia:Writing better articles passes GA. I suggest trying to take it to Wikipedia:Featured articles as I think it would stand a chance; of course, I could be wrong on that. Really good job. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 03:58, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Staples Thesis[edit]

I wonder if the Staples thesis is really what makes Mr. Innis stand out as "one of Canada's most original thinkers"? The extremely close juxtaposition of these two points makes it look like this is what was intended by the author of this article. To be explicit, I didn't have a clue what makes Canada what it is, but the export of basic commodities might be a prime factor all right; what's so revolutionary about that, and why would "dense and difficult prose" about it indicate a superior train of thought?Friendly Person (talk) 15:30, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

You are quoting from the lead to the article on Innis. The lead summarizes Innis's intellectual contributions to economic and communications theory after pointing out that he was an original thinker. Bwark (talk) 18:39, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Article Vandalism[edit]

Lock this page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:37, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, but it is today's Featured Article. These types of articles are rarely protected, except under extreme circumstances. Johnny Au (talk) 16:29, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it is semi-protected, since it is an extreme circumstance. Johnny Au (talk) 16:30, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
No it isn't. I'm not logged in and I just reverted vandalism. (talk) 18:10, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
When I posted my message, it was semi-protected. Johnny Au (talk) 18:20, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Now it is semi-protected again. Johnny Au (talk) 21:20, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Two criticisms[edit]

I have a couple of problems with the article. Firstly, it seems to tie him too much into Marshall McLuhan, whereas he obviously held his own views. Secondly, I am not convinced that Social Credit can be called right wing. After all Stalinism was a left wing movement, but with some reactionary tendencies. The central tenet of Social Credit is left wing IMHO.--MacRusgail (talk) 15:05, 4 June 2008 (UTC) p.s. Excellent choice for a featured article, by the way. Very interesting.

I tried to make clear in both the lead to the article and the section on Innis and McLuhan that the two men were colleagues at the University of Toronto. The lead says explicitly that McLuhan was a disciple of Innis's and expressed a debt to him. The section on Innis and McLuhan tries to explain the similarities and differences between them. On the second point, I've eliminated those simplistic "right" and "left" designations you so rightly criticize. Thanks. Bwark (talk) 20:27, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
Left and right are better than most alternatives, but I felt it might be misleading here. Thanks for your response.--MacRusgail (talk) 20:39, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Misconceptions about Innis's view of First Nations peoples[edit]

An editor has added comments about Innis's "Eurocentric" views in the article's section on the Fur Trade in Canada. The concluding sentence reads: "Although, this is an important text regarding the fur trade it is clearly Eurocentric in it's portrayal of Canada's First Nations as less developed and complex societies." It is quite true that in his book on the fur trade, Innis writes that "[T]he fur trade was the line of contract between a relatively complex civilization and a much more simple civilization." (Innis, Fur Trade p.15) As he then makes clear, Innis is writing as an economic historian about technological, not cultural development. "Ships capable of undertaking long ocean voyages, a manufacturing system which demanded large quantities of raw material, and a distributing organization which absorbed the finished product without difficulty were typical products of European civilization." (Innis, Fur Trade pp. 15-16.) When interpreting Innis, it is important to keep in mind that for him, technological complexity does not, in any way, connote cultural superiority. Nor is the "metropolitan" European civilization superior to the "marginal" North American societies. His centre-margin analysis is part of his conceptual framework as an economist. Innis's biographer, John Watson, writes that in The Fur Trade in Canada, Innis undertakes "a complex analysis of three different peoples -- the metropolitan people, the settlers, the indigenous people -- with three different cultural models and three different sets of demands." (Watson, p.152). I feel that applying the label "Eurocentric" here is not justified unless it is supported by a credible source. I will undertake further research with Olive Dickason's work as my guide. Bwark (talk) 18:56, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

On second thought, I have eliminated the unsourced criticism of Innis. Who says his view is Eurocentric? I have included academic assessments of Innis's book on the subpage Harold Innis and the fur trade in the section called "Assessment". I will consult Olive Dickason as well. Bwark (talk) 01:46, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I have added additional information including a citation from Dickason, another one from Berger and one from Innis himself making it clear that unlike other historians, Innis saw First Nations peoples as central to the later history of Canada. Bwark (talk) 16:30, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Praise of article in media[edit]


A good note to congrulate editors on this article, Tyler Cowen, a leading blogger and thinker, this article as "very good". Best, --Ktlynch (talk) 12:26, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

File:Harold Innis public-domain library archives-canada.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Citation consistency[edit]

Hi, Bwark; there is some (trivial) citation inconsistency here with page numbers. See samples:

  1. Innis (Fur Trade), p.392. (has no space between p. and 392)
  2. Watson, p. 248. (has space between p. and 248)
  3. Creighton, p,84. (has comma instead of p.)
  4. Heyer, Paul. (1988) Communications and History: Theories of Media, Knowledge and Civilization. Westport: Greenwood Press, p114 (has neither comma nor period nor space afer p)

If you could pick one style and standardize, that would be good :) Bst, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:54, 12 May 2015 (UTC)