New Directions in Active History: Update #2

Conference planning for October’s event is going well and we have a handful of updates for you.

First and most importantly, if you have not yet registered, the rate is going up on 1 September (Tuesday).  You can access the registration form here:  http://activehistory.ca/conf/registration/

Also, our preferred rate at the Delta ends on 4 September. The Delta is in downtown London, just blocks from major London Transit hubs and the VIA rail station. The college can be easily accessed on London Transit.  To book one of these rooms call 519-640-5004 or 1-800-236-2427 and quote “New Directions in Active History – Public.” Grad student accommodation will remain available until full.

If you are presenting at the conference, we have posted abstracts here: www.activehistory.ca/conf/abstracts. Please review them for accuracy and let Daniel Ross <dgrdgr@yorku.ca> know ASAP if there needs to be any modifications.

If you are on Twitter, we will be using the hashtag: #ActiveHist2015 for all conference events. Feel free to use it to promote the conference, your session or poster.

Finally, for those of you coming from out of town (and of course locals who want a night out!), we have been able to arrange history-based walking tours of downtown London. Both tours will begin at 7:30 p.m. downtown (about 10 minutes on the bus from Huron). One tour will be led by Kym Wolfe, author of Barhopping into History and Hopping into History, and will focus on London’s oldest surviving taverns and bars in heritage buildings (as well as local brewing etc…). The other tour will be led by the London branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and will focus on the history and architecture of downtown London. Both tours will cost $15 and include a complementary drink at the end. If you have already registered, please contact me in order to be added to the list.  You can pay when you arrive at the conference. If you have not registered, we have modified the registration form in order for you to pay for the tours with your registration fee. Spaces are limited.

Disappearing into White Space: Indigenous Toronto, 1900-1914

ActiveHistory.ca is pleased to announce the publication of Jasmine Chorley’s new paper: “Disappearing into White Space: Indigenous Toronto, 1900-1914″


 

There is an empty space in the written history of Canada. In monographs, textbooks, and articles alike, narratives of Indigenous peoples fade out following the Indian Act (1876) and the Numbered Treaties (1871-1921). Coll Thrush expressed this as a phenomenon where Indigenous peoples “exit stage left after treaty or battle.” [1] With the exception of residential schools and the decades of the World Wars, Indigenous peoples do not re-enter the Canadian historical narrative until the 1960s civil rights era.

This empty space is especially stark in histories of urban spaces, despite their rich Indigenous histories. With a few recent exceptions, greater historical memories of urban spaces across Canada remain largely confined by colonial ideologies.

European settlers in the growing towns of 18th and 19th century British North America believed their use of space to be superior. They thought that European-style cities would inevitably replace Indigenous land use. The “conceptual and physical removal of Indigenous people from urban spaces that accompanied colonial urbanization,” Peters and Andersen argue, “reinforced perceptions about the incompatibility of urban and Indigenous identities.” [2] This is reflected in Canadian historiography by the outright omission of Indigenous lives from histories of cities, assuming that ‘real Indians’ and urban life are irreconcilable.

This paper challenges this colonial silence by probing the history of Indigenous life in Toronto between 1900 and 1914. [READ MORE]


Editors Note: In addition to our group blog, ActiveHistory.ca strives to provide timely, well-written and thoroughly researched papers on a variety of history-related topics.  Expanded conference papers or short essays that introduce an upcoming book project are great starting points for the type of paper we publish. With a current readership of more than 20,000 visits per month we can assure that you will find an interested audience through our site. For more information visit our Papers Section or contact papers@activehistory.ca. All of our papers are peer reviewed to ensure that they are accurate and up-to-date. 

The Second Battle of Ypres and the Creation of a YMCA Hero

ActiveHistory.ca is on a three-week hiatus, but we’ll be back with new content in next week. This week, we’ve asked the editors of Canada’s First World War to select some of their most popular and favourite posts. 

This essay was originally posted on 12 May 2015

 By Jonathan Weier

Weier, Second Ypres and YMCA Hero - image 1Among the approximately 2000 members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force killed at the Second Battle of Ypres in late April and early May 1915 was the only Canadian YMCA worker killed in combat during the First World War. YMCA Honourary Captain Oscar Irwin, attached to the 10th Battalion of the CEF, was killed when he joined the battalion as it set out to retake St. Julien from the Germans in the early morning of April 23rd.[1] Irwin appears frequently in the YMCA’s commemoration of its First World War service, as the heroic embodiment of the YMCA’s masculine ideals, its message of service, and as a symbol of Christian sacrifice. Irwin’s example, both in life and in death, provided a venue by which the YMCA and its workers could address the tensions and challenges faced by many men involved in non-combatant service during the First World War. Continue reading

Sexing Up Canada’s First World War

ActiveHistory.ca is on a three-week hiatus, but we’ll be back with new content in next week. This week, we’ve asked the editors of Canada’s First World War to select some of their most popular and favourite posts. 

This essay was originally posted on 3 March 2015

By Zachary Abram

VD Poster 1Canadian cultural memory of the First World War is conspicuously asexual considering Canadians had among the highest rates for venereal disease in the British Expeditionary Force, with an infection rate that reached as high as 28.7%. [1] Anyone with a passing interest in the First World War is familiar with Trench Foot and its symptoms are synonymous with the squalor of trench warfare. Yet, only 74,711 cases of Trench Foot were treated during the entire war.[2] Venereal Disease accounted for 416,891 hospital admissions in the British Army.[3] A soldier was five times more likely to be admitted to hospital for syphilis and gonorrhea but in the popular imagination it is Trench Foot that persists. There is a reticence, perhaps the result of inherited Victorian prudery or the unwillingness to “sully the reputations” of the war dead, to discuss soldiers’ sex lives. As a result, discussions of the First World War tend to elide the bedroom in favour of the trench. Continue reading

Promises Broken, or Politics as Usual?

ActiveHistory.ca is on a three-week hiatus, but we’ll be back with new content in next week. This week, we’ve asked the editors of Canada’s First World War to select some of their most popular and favourite posts. 

This essay was originally posted on 27 January 2015

By Jonathan Scotland

Despite the Conservative Party of Canada’s fondness for promoting its support for Canada’s military, since assuming government in 2006 the federal government’s relationship with veterans has been rocky at best. By the close of last year’s parliament it seemed that new criticisms were being leveled at Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, on a daily basis. His department’s handling of the New Veterans Charter (NVC) and treatment of soldiers’ mental health came in for special criticism. Critics also added neglected war graves, unspent funds, cuts to the Veterans’ Affairs’ disability awards branch, and inadequate access to a growing list of complaints. Fantino, at least, was struck off that list early in the new year when he was replaced as Minister by Erin O’Toole, a sign the government is trying to repair its reputation with veterans.

In British Columbia wounded veterans have taken Ottawa to court over the change from life-long pensions to one-time, lump-sum payments. This shift, the veterans argue, amounts to a breach of trust between soldiers and the crown, a social contract that dates to at least the First World War.

Their suit builds on Aboriginal case law by invoking the honour of the crown. If it succeeds, it will be precedent setting. Veterans’ benefits will henceforth be enshrined as a permanent fiduciary responsibility.

With parliamentary sovereignty at stake, government lawyers are vigorously seeking to have the suit thrown out.

At the heart of the case are Prime Minister Robert Borden’s wartime commitments to Canada’s troops. Continue reading

1864 vs. 1914: A Commemorative Showdown

ActiveHistory.ca is on a three-week hiatus, but we’ll be back with new content in next week. This week, we’ve asked the editors of Canada’s First World War to select some of their most popular and favourite posts. 

This essay was originally posted on 11 November 2014

By Sarah Glassford

1864

As I sat by the window of a popular coffee shop in downtown Charlottetown on a warm afternoon in September 2014, two student actors from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) appeared on the street corner opposite, heading toward nearby Province House, seat of the provincial legislature.  He wore a three-piece suit and top hat; she sported a shirtwaist, hoop skirt, elaborate hat, and shawl.  This is a common sight near Province House during the summer tourist season,[i] but it struck me as noteworthy because I happened to be brainstorming thoughts for a post on Prince Edward Island (PEI) and the First World War centenary.  The sight of 1860s-style citizens promenading down the street in 2014 reminded me that all commemoration takes place in a crowded landscape of competing commemorations, even when the subject is as globally game-changing as the First World War.

PEI, Canada’s smallest province, has been celebrating 2014 in grand style all year long, but not because of anything to do with the First World War centenary.  Instead, the island is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, when the then-colony of PEI hosted the first serious discussions of a confederation of British North American colonies – a union that eventually became the Dominion of Canada.  Continue reading

Series @ ActiveHistory.ca: 2014-2015

As part of our summer hiatus, ActiveHistory.ca is featuring summaries of the papers and series we’ve run over the past year. Today, we provide a list of the series we’ve published since September 2014:

The Home Archivist (by Jess Dunkin) – Ongoing

Anishinaabeg in the War of 1812 (by Alan Corbiere)

200 Years of the Old Chieftain – January 2015

Infectious Disease, Contagion and the History of Vaccines – March/April 2015

Commemorating 35 years of the Marathon of Hope (Jenny Ellison) – April 2015

Thirty Five Years after the Abortion Caravan – May 2015

Papers @ ActiveHistory.ca: 2014-2015

As part of our summer hiatus, ActiveHistory.ca is featuring summaries of the papers and series we’ve run over the past year. Today, we provide a list of the papers we’ve published since September 2014:

Kenneth C. Dewar, The Social Democracy Question [Politics] (June 2015)

Myra Rutherdale, Bodies of Water, Not Bodies of Women: Canadian Media Images of the Idle No More Movement [EnvironmentalIndigenous HistoriesPolitics] (May 2015)

Crystal Fraser and Ian Mosby, Setting Canadian History Right?: A Response to Ken Coates’ ‘Second Thoughts about Residential Schools’ [EducationIndigenous Histories] (April 2015)

Gregor Kranjc, Memory Politics: Ottawa’s Monument to the Victims of Communism, [PoliticsEthnicity and Identity] (Mar 2015)

Carol Williams, Campus Campaigns against Reproductive Autonomy: The Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform Campus Genocide Awareness Project as Propaganda for Fetal Rights, [Medicine, health care and public health] (Dec 2014)

Beverly Soloway, Victory in the Kitchen: Food Control in the Lakehead during the Great War, [Consumers, buying and retailing] (Nov 2014)

Aaron Boyes, Debating Canada’s Future: A Night at Montreal’s Sohmer Park, 1892, [Language, Ethnicity and IdentityNationalism and RegionalismPolitics and Parties] (Sept 2014)

ActiveHistory.ca accepts submissions of original research-based essays on an ongoing basis. For more information, on our policies and procedures, please visit our papers section or e-mail papers@activehistory.ca.

New Paper: The Social Democracy Question

ActiveHistory.ca is pleased to announce the publication of Kenneth Dewar’s new paper: “The Social Democracy Question”


 

Over the past twenty years, the fate of social democracy has been the subject of numerous inquiries by intellectuals, academics, journalists, and politicians. These have frequently taken the form of questioning whether there is any life left in the movement at all, or alternatively, of asking what needs to be done to revive it. “What happened to the European left?” asked American political scientist Sheri Berman in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, when (counter-intuitively) support for the left declined rather than rose. At the same time, in the same magazine (Dissent) a journalist asked whether European social democracy had a future, while two years earlier in another venue two other writers had asked, like relatives at a bedside, “Is the left alright?” More recently, in 2013, former NDP leader Ed Broadbent delivered the Jack Layton Memorial Lecture at Ryerson University, choosing as his title, “Social democracy: dead as the dodo, or the only option?” It’s not giving too much away to say that he inclined toward the latter.1

Almost all of these discussions assume an identification of social democracy and particular political parties; they are really asking, in other words, why support for social democratic parties has declined in the states in which they operate. Broadbent’s lecture was an interesting exception to this, not because his party had made unprecedented gains in the federal election two years earlier, but because his view of social democracy was more expansive. [see more]


Editors Note: In addition to our group blog, ActiveHistory.ca strives to provide timely, well-written and thoroughly researched papers on a variety of history-related topics.  Expanded conference papers or short essays that introduce an upcoming book project are great starting points for the type of paper we publish. With a current readership of more than 20,000 visits per month we can assure that you will find an interested audience through our site. For more information visit our Papers Section or contact papers@activehistory.ca. All of our papers are peer reviewed to ensure that they are accurate and up-to-date. 

 

“Setting Canadian History Right?: A Response to Ken Coates’ ‘Second Thoughts about Residential Schools’”

By Crystal Fraser and Ian Mosby

As two young historians of Canada’s notorious Indian Residential School System – one finishing her PhD, the other currently in his second postdoctoral fellowship – we were wary when we saw Ken Coates’ recent opinion piece in the Dorchester Review.[1] At a first glance, the title, in particular, had us worried: “Second Thoughts about Residential Schools” brought to mind Thomas Flanagan’s misguided monograph First Nations? Second ThoughtsThough deeply concerned at what lay ahead, Coates is an historian we both respect a great deal, so, from our computers in Alberta and Ontario, we read on.

The commentary itself was clearly written to spark a debate. Like many of the editorials that fill Canadian newspapers, it is written in a conversational style without footnotes or references and – more importantly – it attempts to challenge what Coates’ sees as hegemonic narratives characterizing the study of Indian residential schools. And given that the online version of the article (like every page on the Dorchester Review website) is flanked by quotes from David Frum proclaiming that the journal is “Setting Canadian history right,” the essay’s ambition to upend the sacred cows of the Canadian historical profession, itself, are immediately apparent.

Coates stresses that he has “struggled over the last thirty years to make sense of the impact of residential schools on Aboriginal people” and the essay is presented as a culmination of that “struggle.” To be sure, his is a piece about how academics might struggle with their own politics under the veil of objectivity and how that relates to the kinds of historical research we undertake. Another historian, one specializing in Indian residential schooling, might have more deeply probed, for instance, how Indigenous people have struggled with the long legacy and effects of Indian residential schools. Coates, though, begins in a decidedly personal place located well outside of Indigenous experiences: namely, memories of attending an Anglican summer camp located near the Carcross Residential School and spending a week in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, as “the guest of a Catholic research school” where “the rules and regulations almost turned [him] into a twelve-year-old Che Guevera by the time [he] left.”

This leads us to the two most problematic elements of Coates’ essay that, together, constitute the crux of his argument. [Read More]


 

ActiveHistory.ca is pleased to publish Crystal Fraser and Ian Mosby’s response to Ken Coates’s ‘Second Thoughts about Residential Schools’ as part of our Papers Section. ActiveHistory.ca strives to provide timely, well-written and thoroughly researched papers on a variety of history-related topics.  Expanded conference papers or short essays that introduce an upcoming book project or respond to current affairs are great starting points for the type of paper we publish. For more information visit our Papers Section or contact papers@activehistory.ca