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SCC Professor Takach's Book Transcends the Academy

March 1, 2018
Dr. Geo Takach

In keeping with the ethics and practical focus of our School of Communication and Culture, and Royal Roads University as a whole, Associate Professor Geo Takach’s latest book, Tar Wars (University of Alberta Press, 2017), has attracted interest and approval from sources beyond the scholarly community.

The work takes a critical, inside look at the international PR war over Alberta’s stewardship of its bituminous (‘tar’/’oil’/‘bit’) sands, on the video front.

Geo Takach, Tar Wars - Oil, Environment and Alberta's Image

Through interviews with documentary filmmakers and PR specialists, and analysis of their communication strategies and the political and economic contexts, this book reveals what ‘Canada’s energy province’ teaches us about priorities and power in the world today.

The first three reviews of Tar Wars come from a national online newspaper, a former Saskatchewan cabinet minister-turned-university strategist, and a postdoctoral scholar writing for a group devoted to BC authors and books.

Here are extracts from what the diverse reviewers said, with links to the full reviews:

"Alberta for generations was famous for mountains, rodeos, Mormonism, football, Ukrainian culture, meatpacking and Social Credit. Say 'Alberta' today and any focus group replies, 'oil'. That's no accident, writes Prof. Geo Takach of Royal Roads University. From the 1947 oil strike at Leduc Number One, 'resource extraction became heroic'. Alberta’s very identity was intertwined with oil sands production, for better and worse. Tar Wars documents this modern cultural phenomenon... [and] ... covers all angles...The search is compelling and clever."
-- Holly Doan, Blacklock's Reporter

"In his extensively researched and politically provocative new book, Tar Wars, award-winning author Geo Takach...offers attentive citizens, policy wonks and communications pros a solid 'case study in environmental communication."
-- Rob Norris, Alberta Views

"...[Takach's] purpose: to depolarize and ultimately enable debate of the bit-sands and their role in defining Alberta... Tar Wars highlights two points that are seldom part of the discussion. The first is that while the antagonistic 'Alberta is energy' approach originated with industry and political leaders, the polarizing rhetoric does not represent the views of all or even the majority of Alberta residents. The second is that polarized debate limits meaningful dialogue and political engagement... Underlying is Takach's message that we must refuse to fall into easy stereotypes of any region, including the one we live in."
-- Nichole Dusyk, BC BookLook