Michigan’s Venice St. Clair Book

Join Detroit Historical Society at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum for a book talk about Michigan’s Venice, a new Wayne State University Press book by Daniel F. Harrision, PhD.

Few maritime landscapes in the Great Lakes remain so deeply and clearly inscribed by successive cultures as the St. Clair system—a river, delta, and lake found between Lake Huron and the Detroit River. The St. Clair River and its environs are an age-old transportation nexus of land and water routes, a strategic point of access to maritime resources, and, in many ways, a natural impediment to the navigation of the Great Lakes. From Indigenous peoples and European colonizers to the modern nations of Canada and the United States, this work traces the region’s transformation through culturally driven practices and artifacts of shipbuilding, navigation, place naming, and mapmaking. In this novel approach to maritime landscape archaeology, author Daniel F. Harrison unifies historiography, linguistics, ethnohistory, geography, and literature through the analysis of primary sources, material culture, and ecological and geographic data in a technique he calls “evidence-based storytelling.” Viewed over time, the region forms a microcosm of the interplay of environment, culture, and technology that characterized the gradual shift from nature to an industrial society and a built environment optimized for global waterborne transport.

Lake St. Clair is the birthplace of American recreational boating,” Harrison said. “Chris-Craft is like the Henry Ford of recreational boating. The equivalence of Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac and so on.”

Daniel F. Harrison, PhD, is a maritime archaeologist, sailor, and diver specializing in the Great Lakes region. Recently retired from a forty-year career as an academic librarian, he has had his research in maritime archaeology published in peer-reviewed journals including Historical ArchaeologyEthnohistory, and Michigan Historical Review. Harrison’s research and theoretical motivations are focused on community-centered preservation and interpretation of maritime heritage and submerged cultural resources.

Michigan’s Venice St. Clair Book by Daniel Harrison

What:          Michigan’s Venice: The St. Clair System: new book talk w/ author Daniel Harrison

When:         Thursday, May 16, 2024

Where:        Dossin Great Lakes Museum (100 The Strand, Detroit, MI)

Time:          6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Cost:           Free

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Michigan’s Venice St. Clair Book by Daniel Harrison

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