Major Publications 


Labouring Finns: Transnational Politics in Finland, Canada, and the United States (co-edited with Michel S. Beaulieu, et al.) Turku: Siirtolaisuusinstituutti,  2011. 200pp.

At the heart of every Finnish community, no matter where in the world it is found, are its workers. This book celebrates Finnish workers as actors in a drama that has shaped working class politics in Finland, Canada and the United States. The chapters in this book tap into recent scholarship that suggests any study of immigration, and the exploration of power struggles inherent in migration studies, must examine the role played by workers from a variety of perspectives.

Long-Term Solutions for a Short Term World: Canada and Research Development (co-edited with Bruce Muirhead). Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2011. 200pp.

Long-Term Solutions for a Short-Term World demonstrates the complexity of the challenges that poor countries face and introduces the readers to the concept and impact of participatory research for development. Participatory research requires researchers to work with communities, governments, and other relevant actors to deal with common problems. Finding solutions requires participants to reflect critically on the cultural, economic, historical, political, and social contexts within which the issue under investigation exists. The book contains a collection of essays from development researchers and professionals, each of whom is an activist who has made significant contributions to the struggles of the poor in their own societies. Essays are presented as case studies and, in each, the contributor explains the specific development problem, the paths followed to solve the problem, lessons learned as a result of the research, and the development challenges on the horizon in his field of research. Together, these essays present a fascinating picture of how some of today’s most pressing development issues are being dealt with through research, demonstrating how interdisciplinary and alternative approaches can be implemented in new and innovative ways.


CRDI: 40 ans d'idées, d'innovations et d'impacts (co-authored with Bruce Muirhead). Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 2011. 346pp.

Ce livre décrit un organisme canadien mal connu et appartenant au secteur le moins valorisé de l’aide publique au développement, le Centre de recherches pour le développement international. Il s’agit d’une histoire institutionnelle et intellectuelle qui s’attache aux idées, aux concepts et aux attitudes qui ont inspiré les décisions et les activités du Centre. C’est aussi l’histoire d’un volet passionnant et novateur de l’aide publique au développement.



The International Development Research Centre: 40 Years of Ideas, Innovation and Impact (co-authored with Bruce Muirhead). Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010. 346pp.

The book focuses on the International Development Research Centre as a unique institution that has funded research in the developing South—research proposed and undertaken by Southern researchers—and how, as a result, it has had tremendous impact despite a relatively small budget. The IDRC is much better known in the developing South than in Canada; in many of the roughly 150 countries in which it has provided research funding it has contributed to creating a very positive image of Canada. The centre’s arms-length relationship with Canadian government assistance provides it with enormous freedom and flexibility—it was established in 1970 with its own act under the Trudeau government. The IDRC board is one-half international and one-half Canadian and is the only governmental agency in the world that has this structure, giving them unique insight into Southern development issues. One of the IDRC’s founding principles was its insistence on having Southern researchers decide which projects would be put forward for possible funding, and much care has been taken to avoid “research imperialism” or “colonialism.” An analysis of the path less travelled, but which IDRC found amenable, is fundamental to this history of the centre, and the book highlights the decisions, ideas, and practices that flow from this basic premise.


Developments, Definitions, and Directions in Finnish Language, Literature, and Culture (co-edited with Michel S. Beaulieu). Hancock, MI: Finnish North American Literature Association (special issue 14:2 of the Journal of Finnish Studies), 2010.
A collection of essays on recent academic works on Finnish film, language, and literature developed from papers presented at FinnForum IX held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, May 2010. The papers in this volume were selected because they reflect the diversity of the conference in the area of Finnish language and literature.


The Lady Lumberjack: An Annotated Collection of Dorothea Mitchell's Writings (co-edited with Michel S. Beaulieu). Lakehead University Centre for Northern Studies, 2005. 145pp.

Dorothea Mitchell was a Canadian pioneer of the first order.  She did the things that pioneering women have always done, but her pioneer experience was made more difficult by the fact that she was a single woman.  She describes life as a British immigrant woman on the Canadian frontier during the first decades of the twentieth century. For information about the documentary film about Dorothea Mitchell and how to use this book and associated videos in the classroom click here.


Karelian Exodus: Finnish Communities in North America and Soviet Karelia during the Depression Era (co-edited with Varpu Lindstrom, et al.) Aspasia Books/Journal of Finnish Studies, 2004. 235pp.
This collection of articles is drawn from papers presented at a conference held at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The conference theme was "Finnish Communities in North America and the Soviet Union during the Depression Years 1929-1939." The mass exodus of some 6500-7000 Finnish Canadians and Finnish Americans to Soviet Karelia in the early 1930s is explored from a variety of    perspectives and attempts to explain the causes of this so-called "Karelia Fever" are offered. To view a related film on the subject click here.

A detailed social history of an ethnic minority's adaptation to life in Central America during the first half of the twentieth century.  The Jamaicans, Barbadians, and other West Indians who migrated to Costa Rica at the turn of the twentieth century found themselves in a country that prides itself on its Spanish and "white settler" origins. In The West Indians of Costa Rica Ronald Harpelle examines the ways in which people of African descent reacted to key issues of community and cultural survival from 1900 to 1950. He shows that the men and women who ventured to Costa Rica in search of opportunities in the banana industry arrived as West Indian sojourners but became Afro-Costa Ricans. The West Indians of Costa Rica is a story about choices: who made them, when, how, and what the consequences were. For information about a film that touches on some of the themes in this book click here.


Selected Articles

“West Indian Sojourners in Guatemala and Honduras” Review essay, New West Indian Guide, Vol. 86, No. 3 & 4, (2011).

 “White Women on the Frontier: American Enclave Communities on the Caribbean Coast of Central America.” Wadabagei: A Journal of the Caribbean and its Diaspora 8:2 (Spring/Summer 2005): 6-34.
“Cathode Ray Cages” Review essay on “L’Écran et le Zoo: Spectacle et domestication, des expositions coloniales _ Loft Story,” Oliver Razac, Paris: Denoël, 2002." The Semiotic Review of Books 13:3 (2003).

“Cross Currents in the Western Caribbean: Marcus Garvey and Garveyism in Central America.” Caribbean Studies (Special Issue: Garveyism in the Hispanic Caribbean) 31:1 (January-June 2003): 35-74.

“West Indians, Environmental Disaster and the Costa Rican Banana Industry." In  The Socio-economic and Cultural Impact of West Indian Migration to Costa Rica (1870-1940). The Latin American-Caribbean Centre of the University of the West Indies (July 2003).


Selected Chapters in Books

“‘White Zones:’ American Enclave Communities in Central America.” In Blacks and Blackness in Central America and the Mainland Caribbean: Between Race and Place, edited by Justin Wolfe and Lowell Gudmunson, Duke University Press, 2010. pp. 307-334.

Bruce Muirhead and Ronald Harpelle. “The IDRC and Middle East: An Innovative Development Model.” In Canada and the Middle East, edited by Bessma Momani and Paul Heinbecker. Waterloo: Laurier University Press, 2007.

"Cooking Class: Order and the Other in the Corporate Kitchens of Latin America.” In Negotiating Identities in Modern Latin America, edited by Hendrik Kraay. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2007.