History Slam Episode Sixteen: Inclusive Histories and Katrina Srigley

By Sean Graham

During the CHA Annual Meeting last year in Waterloo, I went to the book launch for Finding a Way to the Heart: Feminist Writings on Aboriginal and Women’s History in Canada, during which Sylvia Van Kirk addressed the crowd. The one thing that really stuck me was how passionately she spoke of an inclusive history, one that featured the contributions of everyone. This was interesting to me because there is a perception – at least among many of the men who I knew in undergrad (my experience in a women’s history course didn’t exactly challenge that perception) – that women’s history isn’t a welcoming place to men. Unfair as it was, that mindset was common.

In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Katrina Srigley of Nipissing University about the state of women’s history, the legacy of Sylvia Van Kirk, and her own work on women during the Depression. Given my limited background in women’s and gender history, it was really interesting to sit down and discuss the issues and learn about growth of the discipline. We also touch on the perception of women’s history being hostile to men and discuss the pedagogical challenge it presents in a classroom setting.

The interview took place in North Bay on March 22 when I was lucky enough to be back in the city as part of the History Department Lecture Series at Nipissing. It was a thrill to be there and I want to thank Professors Katrina Srigley, Derek Neal, Anne Clendinning, and Robin Gendron for making the trip possible.

Sean Graham is a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa where he is currently working on a project that examines the early years of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has previously studied at Nipissing University, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Regina and like any red-blooded Canadian his ultimate dream is to be a curling champion while living on a diet of beer and poutine.

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