David Massell joined the Department of History in 1997, having completed his doctorate in Canadian-American history at Duke University. Interested in the resource development of the Canadian North, his dissertation explored American dam-building projects in Canada in the early twentieth century and regulatory efforts by the Province of Quebec. Massell's Ph.D thesis won the 1997 Distinguished Dissertation Award, granted every two years by the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States to "honor outstanding doctoral research on Canada at American institutions." His book, Amassing Power: J.B. Duke and the Saguenay River, 1897-1927 was published in 2000 by McGill-Queen's University Press.
His second book, which appeared in 2011 with McGill-Queen's, advances the story of the Saguenay River's exploitation through the 1940s. It is entitled Quebec Hydropolitics: The Peribonka Concessions of the Second World War. As in the earlier period, northern resource development is driven by escalating American demand for both electrical energy and raw aluminum. Massell's research continues to speak to hydro policy in the province that produced Hydro-Québec, and to the integration of North American economies, vividly illustrating the process by which American capital and industry drew Canada's resource-rich North into the economic orbit of the United States. He is currently at work on the history of the hydroelectric development of Labrador's Churchill River in the post-WWII period.
Prior to undertaking graduate work. Massell taught history and social studies at the middle and high school levels and earned a Masters in Education. At UVM he teaches United States history, Canadian history, Canadian-American relations and seminars in environmental history, the history of Quebec, Canadian-American Relations and the Canadian North. Massell enjoys taking students to Canada, including on the Canadian Studies Program three-day trip to Ottawa each fall. He is the recipient of UVM's Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award. Massell is also an avid whitewater canoeist. He and his wife, Laura, are the parents of three fine girls.