Category Archives: Doing History

If you’re not doing history to make change, what the f— are you doing it for?

By Samantha Cutrara How to you teach racism in your Canadian history classroom? Do you teach racism in your Canadian history classroom? Do you mention racist actions or events and then move on to the next part of the chronology? Do you acknowledge that there were ethnically and culturally diverse peoples in the Canadian past but fail to introduce any… Read more »

Research stories: The Mystery of the Missing Camera

Ronald Rudin Once upon a time, I did my research in the archives, a controlled environment where weird things rarely happened. Then, I became a public historian, venturing out into the real world, and things were not always so straightforward, particularly when I was on the road with a film crew. For instance, there was the time when the director… Read more »

Who Speaks? Who Tells? Who Listens? – Part 3

Excerpt of A World Without Martha: A Memoir of Sisters, Disability, and Difference By Victoria Freeman For so many years, my knowledge of my sister had been defined more through her absence than her presence, through the shape of the void she left in my life. I had been able to approach who she was only through echoes and shadows,… Read more »

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 »

Who speaks? Who Tells? Who Listens? – Part 2

By Victoria Freeman Birds make me think about freedom. They can go where they want and don’t have to talk about it. It’s a gift in itself because it’s something that doesn’t come overnight. You have to work on it. If you have it, it’s just there, like a light. These words, from a person who lived for 20 years… Read more »

How do we teach history after this? Thoughts from the “Pandemic Pedagogy” series

By Samantha Cutrara I went into self-isolation about a week before many others. Because I had come into contact with family traveling abroad, I worked from home while the university and college I work for continued to prepare for what felt like an inevitability after the WHO’s declaration. Being by myself that first week exacerbated the sense of shock that… Read more »

Annual Year in Review (100 Years Later): Physical Distancing/Bored At Home Edition

By Aaron Boyes and Sean Graham Remember December? It was only 4 months ago, despite how long ago it feels. When we convened for our Annual(?) Year in Review (100 Years Later)™ we wrote that 2019 had been “a slog” and that “consuming news this year has rarely left us with an overwhelming feeling of optimism.” Then 2020 came along… 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 »

Art, Taxidermy and Notebooks: The University Art Gallery As Site Of Cross-Disciplinary Exploration

Laurie Dalton As as the Director/Curator of a university art gallery that holds a permanent collection of art, I often think of ways in which objects can be displayed and understood in new contexts. Typically, museum collections are siloed, as are the displays. For example, at a natural history museum you rarely see visual art being used as a counterpoint… Read more »

Giving Deaccessioned Museum Objects A New Home And Purpose

Cara Tremain In 2018, the Kelowna Museums Society (KMS) announced their decision to deaccession various ethnographic objects from Oceania via the BC Museums Association listserv. The KMS consists of three museums that together aim to reflect the culture and community of the Okanagan region. Thus, the deaccessioned objects were not relevant to their mandate of focusing on objects of local… Read more »