Author Archives: Tom Peace

Indigenizing the Teaching of North American History: A Panel Discussion

In late-October, Active History editor Thomas Peace met with Marie Battiste, Alan Corbiere, and Sarah Nickel to discuss decolonization and Indigenization in the teaching of North American history. Over the course of an hour, the conversation explored the meaning of decolonization, Indigenizing the academy, Indigenous resurgence in the Indigenizing of history, assessed specific anticolonial strategies for affecting change in the discipline, and provided… Read more »

Monumental Questions: Practical Experiences of the Politics of Commemoration

As cities and communities across Canada confront the legacies of colonialism and racism, monuments and memorials have become a hot topic of public debate. On November 14th, London, Ontario’s Words Festival, brought together Lisa Helps, Mayor of Victoria, Monica MacDonald, co-chair of Halifax’s Cornwallis Taskforce, and University of Toronto History Professor Melanie Newton, for a discussion on the deliberative processes… Read more »

Blacked Out History: An Open Letter to Premier Ford

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The letter below was sent to Premier Doug Ford’s office earlier this week by Natasha Henry, President of the Ontario Black History Society, on behalf of the OBHS board. Dear Premier Ford, The Ontario Black History Society is writing to demand the Ministry of Education of Ontario take immediate action to improve and update the current Ontario Social Studies, History,… Read more »

Lay-offs at the Sulpician Archives – An Open Letter

For researchers, but especially for the broader public, how could we allow “a kilometre of textual documents, 75,000 iconographic items, more than 8,000 geographical maps and technical specifications, as well as sound and film recordings” to be put at risk?

K’jipuktuk to Halifax and back: Decolonization in the Council Chamber

What the committee’s work does, the report suggests, is carefully and responsibly “harmonize commemoration with publicly-held values, and in particular to resolve situations in which sites of commemoration may have become actively offensive to those values.”

So long Dundas: From Colonization to Decolonization Road?

These are just two stories of many. With a roadway that stretches across all of eastern Canada, an opportunity presents itself not just to commemorate one life or history, but rather to use the road – Highway Two, which started out in Ontario as Dundas Street – as a heritage tool to substantially change how our national, region, and local histories are remembered. Renaming Dundas Street presents a positive opportunity to make a change.

History’s Reputation Problem: The Sequel, History isn’t Humourless, is it?!?

By Thomas Peace We’ve all heard it: History is boring. Historians may rebut: We’re not boring! We’re serious! A quick Google Image search suggests that both perspectives may be correct! Not only does history look boring and serious, it also looks White, Wealthy, Masculine, and Antiquated (okay: White, Male, and Stale). No wonder history has a reputation problem! Good news… Read more »

Bringing the Flu into the Classroom

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By Thomas Peace Who would have thought that almost exactly one hundred years after the Spanish Flu closed schools, churches, and other public gatherings around the world, that we would once again find ourselves in similar circumstances? The Spanish Flu hit Canada in the fall of 1918 and, after an initial scare, persisted for nearly two years. Unlike the current… Read more »

If we had only known… whistle blowers, Florence Nightingale, and residential schools

We like to think that the abuses of the past might have been avoided if only decision makers and the public had known about them. In these cases, the information was available, and change did not come.

History’s Reputation Problem

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When placed beside the sharp decline in undergraduate student enrollments, we must consider – given that interest in the past does not seem to have declined – perhaps, it is the public value of academic history, and – more specifically – the history professor, that has eroded.