Category Archives: Doing History

Professional Historians, Personal Histories: A Roundtable on Objectivity, Subjectivity and Family History

Laura Madokoro This week, Active History features a roundtable on history called “Professional Historians, Personal Histories: A Roundtable on Objectivity, Subjectivity and Family History.” As the title suggests, the four contributions from Benjamin Bryce, Leslie Choquette, Bonnie Huskins and Michael Boudreau and Brittany Luby focus, from different perspectives, on the question of the relationship between professional historians, family histories and… Read more »

Seeing What Lies Beneath Paintings

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By Brett Liem and Michael Robertson Last year we published a short article in Active History where we described optical techniques for recovering the contrast from faded documents.  A range of light sources from ultraviolet (UV) to near-infrared (NIR), filters, and a camera adapted to form images with light outside or the normal visible spectrum were used to reveal residual… Read more »

Eating History: Canada War Cake

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By Sophie Hicks This is the fourth post in a summer series exploring societal, community, and familial connections to food and food history. See the series introduction post here. An earlier version of this post appeared on The Canadian Cooking Chronicles, as part of a final project for an Archives Practicum class. As an unapologetic fan of Ian Mosby’s work… Read more »

Decline of the American Empire

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The Decline of the American Empire (1986), or how historians are depressed, hedonistic and abusive scholars who lead meaningless lives and don’t write any history.  Serge Miville “There are three important things in history: First, the numbers, second, the numbers and third, the numbers. That’s why South African blacks will eventually win, and North American blacks are likely to never… Read more »

Ten Keyboard Shortcuts Every Historian Should Know

By Sean Kheraj You’re sitting uncomfortably in the audience at a conference waiting for the presenter to begin. They’ve finally loaded up their PowerPoint file from an old USB flash drive and all that’s left is to set it into presentation mode. They click around aimlessly on the screen trying button after button to no avail. Inside your head you’re… Read more »

Archivists In The Movies – Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones

Krista McCracken Anyone else remember The Librarians TV series? I’ll openly admit that I started watching it because the show was focused on library professionals, albeit librarians of a magical library. If there was a show called The Archivists, I would be championing it before it even aired. A lot of people have no idea what an archivist does, and… Read more »

Eating History: English Canada and the Yorkshire Pudding

Sophie Hicks This is the third post in a summer series exploring societal, community, and familial connections to food and food history. See the series introduction post here. An earlier version of this post appeared on The Canadian Cooking Chronicles, as part of a final project for an Archives Practicum class. Whenever I look through a cookbook, I find myself… Read more »

Grounded: Academic Flying in the Time of Climate Emergency

By Dr Jaymie Heilman “I don’t like harming others, so I don’t fly” climate scientist Peter Kalmus explained, noting that airplane emissions heat the planet, imperiling humans and non-humans alike. The IPCC warns that we have only eleven years to radically reduce carbon emissions or face ever-more devastating effects of climate change, and it is time for academic flyers to… Read more »

The Never-ending History Wars

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Allan Greer How can we understand the past and what lessons does it hold for the present? This is an issue that has always been contested with different approaches coming to the fore.  From Plutarch in ancient times to Machiavelli in the Renaissance, the predominant idea was that stories of great men from earlier times would guide and inspire elite… Read more »

Research Diary II: A Small Island in Low Season

Alban Bargain-Villéger This is the second and final part of the diary I kept during a research trip to Groix island in December 2018. The first episode covered my journey to Paris and the train ride to Lorient. The following pages begin on the evening of my arrival, after a rough, though bearable, ferry ride across the Courreaux Strait. December… Read more »