Category Archives: Doing History

History: Contemporary Poland’s Battlefield

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By Marie-Dominique Asselin Translated from HistoireEngagée.ca by Thomas Peace Last April, when speaking about the war in Syria, White House Communications Director Sean Spicer made a poorly framed comparison between the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler. For Spicer, Assad’s use of chemical weapons was far worse than that conducted by the German leader because – according to the White… Read more »

“In Defense of … “: Historical Thinking and Cultural Appropriation

By Andrew Nurse This is the second essay in a three part series on historical thinking and cultural appropriation. For the first part in the series, click here. One of the key characteristics of the commentaries that defend cultural appropriation is that they come in the guise of history. A friend sent me one today that referred back to Elvis… Read more »

Active History in Solitude

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Sean Kheraj Next month, I will start my first sabbatical. To prepare, I just finished reading Michael Harris’s new book, Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World. The book came out in late April just as my teaching semester wrapped up. The timing couldn’t be better. Sabbaticals are another part of the professional life of academics that are difficult… Read more »

Canada’s Secret Archives

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Dennis Molinaro By now the story of Canada’s secret archive has made the news. I will take the time in this post to elaborate more on what I found and why I think it matters to everyone. This began during my search for documents pertaining to wiretapping in the Cold War. My early research finds made news in December 2016… Read more »

Canada 150: What’s to Celebrate?

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Christopher Dummitt In this year of Canada 150, it’s not uncommon on university campuses to hear a lot of scepticism about “celebrations” of confederation. This isn’t especially surprising. Scholars rarely celebrate anything (unless it is the end of marking season). But celebrations of the nation state often seem intrinsically troublesome – something we study rather than take part in. Our… Read more »

The Presence of the Past: The Possibilities of Virtual Reality for History

Sean Kheraj For the past year, I’ve been thinking a lot about virtual reality and its potential applications for historians. Can we use virtual reality to better understand the past? Can the experience of virtual reality alter historical thinking? Can we now build time machines, teleporters, and holodecks using virtual reality? These questions may be overly optimistic or idealistic. I… Read more »

There’s a Historian Born Every Minute

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Alan MacEachern A while back I noticed that Active History had published a post citing a satirical political website as fact. It was an easy mistake to make: the site looked real enough, and its article only mildly ridiculous in the current news climate. I contacted the Active History contributor and editor, and the quote was quickly removed. Case closed…. Read more »

Pop-Up Museums as a Vehicle for Community Building

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Meredith Leonard Since 2012 the St. Catherines Museum & Welland Canals Centre  has engaged in pop-up style programing as a vehicle through which to reach out to an under-served population in our community – millennials[1] While doing quite well with tourists, older adults and young families, has difficulty attracting and engaging new generations of visitors and supporters. This challenge isn’t… Read more »

Modern Treaties in Canada: A Call for Engaged, Collaborative Historical Research

By Andrew Stuhl, Bruce Uviluq, Anna Logie, and Derek Rasmussen Modern treaties are reshaping Canada. Since 1975, the federal government and Indigenous communities have entered into 26 of these comprehensive land claim agreements, covering parts of all three territories and four provinces. Modern treaties have provided Indigenous ownership over 600,000 km2 of land and capital transfers of over $3.2 billion,… Read more »