Category Archives: Academic Culture

Addressing Precarity at ActiveHistory.ca

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The Active History collective is thinking about how to address precarious employment, both in the way we operate and in the wider history profession. We want your help to do it. In February, Active History was asked to support and publish the Precarious Historical Instructors’ Manifesto. Written by a group of historians who have experienced, or continue to experience, the… Read more »

Western’s History Department and the Hilborn Student Awards

By Francine McKenzie This letter is a response to Will Langford’s essay Congress 2020, Interrupted. Ken Hilborn was a member of the History Department at Western from 1961-1997.  He died in 2013.  In his will, he left a bequest to the University of Western Ontario to reward academic achievement amongst history students. While Hilborn was a faculty member, his controversial… Read more »

Congress 2020, Interrupted: Racism, Academic Freedom, and the Far Right, 1970s-1990s

Will Langford In 1989, psychology professor Philippe Rushton inflamed debates over discrimination at Western University (then known as the University of Western Ontario (UWO)) by outlining his racist theories at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For some, Rushton’s academic racism made him unfit to teach at UWO. For others, protecting academic freedom was… Read more »

A Time for Research Distancing

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Alan MacEachern & William J. Turkel Imagine being suddenly told that you cannot research online when writing history. No electronic journals, no ebooks, no Internet Archive, no Wikipedia, no search engines. You will instead be forced to rely exclusively on available print copies of books and journals, on microfilm, and, most important of all, on archives scattered across the country… Read more »

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 »

An open letter to the Canadian Historical Association

From Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty Precarity in History is our discipline’s great challenge today. As the Precarious Historical Instructors’ Manifesto puts it: “There is a crisis in working conditions for precariously employed history professors in Canadian universities. It is a crisis decades in the making; it has taken a profound personal and collective toll on generations of historians.” All too… Read more »

Teaching Canadian History After the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

By Allyson Stevenson[1] When I began this blog on January 29th, I had just returned to my office at the University of Regina after speaking about my research on an inspiring panel of powerful First Nations women leaders in Treaty 4 territory that included Chief Lynn Acoose, Chief Roberta Soo-Oye Waste, Dr. Priscilla Settee, and Dakota Elder Diane McKay. “The… Read more »

Precarious Historical Instructors’ Manifesto

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We are caught in a cycle where a large chunk of historians in the field are precariously employed. Tenured faculty and university administrators often ask about solutions to precarity from the people who are facing it during faculty meetings or when our professional associations meet, but they rarely act on suggestions. Precarity and those who face it are ignored as… Read more »

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.