Jane Komori

Postdoctoral Fellow


My postdoctoral research project, Moved to Work: Mobilizing Asian and Indigenous Labour in British Columbia’s Extractive Industries, 1858-1942, investigates the labour history and self-organization of Japanese Canadian, Chinese Canadian, South Asian Canadian, and Indigenous workers in logging and mining industries. During this period, logging and mining projects required large numbers of seasonal workers who would endure dangerous conditions, low wages, and remote work locations. In spite of routine representations of non-white workers as a threat to settler society, the employment of Asian workers in logging and mining was often narrated by capitalists as a necessary evil to maintain BC’s industries, while Indian Agents sometimes casted the employment of Indigenous labour as a civilizing project that would move Indigenous peoples off reserves and into the settler economy. Logging and mining companies filled their work camps with Asian and Indigenous workers, and their racialized employment practices exerted pressure on provincial policy and commonsense ideas about race and labour. In response, Asian and Indigenous workers sought to transform the conditions of their lives through self-organization and labour action. Through archival research and analysis of existing oral histories, my project will pursue questions about how capitalists recruited Asian and Indigenous workers to deal with the environmental idiosyncrasies of extractive projects; how Asian and Indigenous workers mobilized themselves to contest their working conditions; and whether worker self-organization sought to disrupt the racist and environmentally destructive nature of resource extraction industries.


Research Classification

Research Interests

Asian Canadian history
Indigenous history
settler colonial studies
labor history
Environmental History
critical race and ethnic studies
race and capitalism
resource extraction

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.

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