Cape Breton’s fighting spirit
Roots of island’s pugnacious nature topic of talk at Old Sydney Society tonight
The Old Sydney Society will host Dr. Edward Michalik in a talk tonight that might raise the hackles of a true Cape Bretoner.
The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Lyceum in Sydney. Michalik’s speech is titled “Rather Fight than Eat: A History of Cape Breton Feistiness.”
In his talk, Michalik, originally from Glace Bay, will search for the roots of Cape Breton pugnacity.
He will make the case that the fierceness of island culture bears a strong resemblance to honour-based societies in Appalachia and the Mediterranean.
Aside from that, he will also unpack some of the homegrown class conflicts that simmer beneath the surface of a seemingly united workingclass people.
Michalik holds a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of New Brunswick.
He is descended from Polish coal miners on his father’s side and from Newfoundland labourers and Irish merchants on his mother’s side.
His dissertation is titled “Cape Breton Gothic: A Cultural History of the Coalfields.”
In the above photo, men are shown raiding a company coal truck in 1941.