The annual UVic Author Celebration is coming up as part of Ideafest. Join us as we celebrate authors from the UVic community who will read from their latest works.

When: March 7, 2019
Where: UVic Bookstore
Time: 2:00-4:00pm

The author panel includes: Jason M. Colby (History), Patrick Friesen (Writing), Bill Gaston (Writing), and Lynne Marks (History). Jim Forbes (Director of Campus Services) will host and Jonathan Bengtson (University Librarian) will moderate.

This week, we will highlight the books written by members of the author panel.

Infidels and the Damn Churches: Irreligion and Religion in Settler British Columbia by Lynne Marks was released by UBC Press in 2017 and won the 2018 CLIO Prize for British Columbia from the Canadian Historical Association.

About the Book

British Columbia is at the forefront of a secularizing movement in the English-speaking world. Nearly half its residents claim no religious affiliation, and the province has the highest rate of unbelief or religious indifference in Canada. Infidels and the Damn Churches explores the historical roots of this phenomenon from the 1880s to the First World War.

Drawing on archival records and oral histories, Lynne Marks reveals that class and racial tensions fuelled irreligion in a world populated by embattled ministers, militant atheists, turn-of-the-century New Agers, rough-living miners, Asian immigrants, and church-going settler women who tried to hang onto their faith in an alien land. White, working-class men often arrived in the province alone and identified the church with their exploitative employers. At the same time, BC’s anti-Asian and anti-Indigenous racism meant that their “whiteness” alone could define them as respectable, without the need for church affiliation. Consequently, although Christianity retained major social power elsewhere in Canada, in BC many people found the freedom to forgo church attendance or espouse atheist views without significant social repercussions.

This nuanced study of mobility, gender, masculinity, and family in settler BC offers new insights into BC’s distinctive culture and into the beginnings of what has become an increasingly dominant secular worldview across Canada.

This book will hold broad appeal for students and scholars of social history, cultural history, BC and Canadian history, religious studies, women’s studies, immigration and migration studies, Asian studies, and labour and the Left.

About the Author

Lynne Marks is an associate professor and past chair of the Department of History at the University of Victoria, where she teaches gender history, the social history of religion, and Canadian history. She won the Marion Dewar Prize in Women’s History in 2012. Her first book, Revivals and Roller Rinks: Religion, Leisure, and Identity in Late-Nineteenth-Century Small-Town Ontario, won the 1996 Floyd S. Chalmers Award for the best book on Ontario history.

Praise for the Book

“British Columbia is in the vanguard of a secularizing trend that is afoot across the Western world… As Lynne Marks demonstrates in her impeccably researched book, this phenomenon is deeply rooted in the province’s history.” — Denis McKim, Douglas College, Canadian Journal of History, 53-3

“This is an important book for anyone who wants to understand the secularizing trends in the Pacific Northwest, whether in Canada or the United States, and increasingly in the rest of their societies.” — Randi Jones Walker, Pacific School of Religion, Pacific Northwest Quartlery, Volume 109, Number 2

Infidels and the Damn Churches addresses a glaring omission in the history of Canada’s West – the role of religion and religiosity (and, in this case, irreligion and irreligiosity) in the formation of a settler society.” — Alison Marshall, author of Cultivating Connections: The Making of Chinese Prairie Canada

“This is the finest historical study yet done on the culture of atheism and non-religionism in the late modern Western world. It explores the origins of modern secularity in the most secular part of North America. Marks excels in moving from the micro study of individual families and small communities up to cities and the nation. This is a path-breaking work.” — Callum G. Brown, author of Religion and the Demographic Revolution: Women and Secularisation in Canada, Ireland, UK and USA since the 1960s