Category Archives: Doing History

The king in a car park: Digging up Richard III

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By Daniel Ross “Bloody thou art; bloody will be thy end.” Duchess of York, Act IV, Scene IV, Richard III Shakespeare’s Richard III is one of fiction’s classic villains, a schemer who knocks off one family member after another on his way to the crown. Even his mother the Duchess would rather he was dead, and she gets her wish… Read more »

Let’s talk about something other than Ebola

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Or, the perils of teaching the history of disease amid global health crises Casey Hurrell This semester, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a senior undergrad seminar, focusing on the history of disease from the time of Hippocrates to the present. Every week, in front of twenty-two energetic and curious undergrads, I wholeheartedly attempt to steer conversations away from the ongoing… Read more »

The Home Archivist – Getting My Hands Dirty

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By Jessica Dunkin In the last Home Archivist post, I described how I came to be in possession of a box of nineteenth-century letters. In this post, I open the box again for the first time. When the MacKendrick letters arrived at my house in early August, they were quickly shuttled into the basement and I assumed that they would… Read more »

‘It’s history, like it or not’: the Significance of Sudbury’s Superstack

By: Mike Commito and Kaleigh Bradley Standing at a height of 1,250 feet, the Sudbury Superstack is the second tallest chimney in the world and runner-up to the CN Tower for the tallest structure in Canada. Until 1987, Sudbury Ontario had the dubious honour of having the world’s tallest smokestack. Today, the Stack is seen by some as a marker… Read more »

Graphic Environmentalism: An Interview with Comic Writer-Artist Steph Hill

Previous Active History posts (see here, here, and here) have examined the use of comics in telling – and interpreting – stories about the past. In this post, Ryan O’Connor (RO) interviews Steph Hill (SH), the writer-artist behind A Brief, Accurate Graphic History of the Environmental Movement (Mostly in Canada). RO: This is a really interesting project. What is it that… Read more »

Consider the Comments: Why Online Comments are Important for Public Historians

By Kaitlin Wainwright There are a few adages that go with comments on the Internet. Among them: “if you don’t have the energy to read something, you shouldn’t have the hubris to comment on it” and, simply put, “never read the comments.” It’s rare that comments and forums on the Internet are seen as something positive. Ian Milligan has written… Read more »

Feeling the City: Getting at the Historical Sights and Sounds of Downtown

Like most of us humans—80% in Canada, more than 50% worldwide—my home is in the city. And like so many urbanites, I take a whole range of day-to-day sensations for granted. The screech of garbage trucks, the overheard conversations on public transit; the smells of street food and exhaust; the sight of thousands of other people going about their lives…. Read more »

Podcast – Canadian Archives at Risk?

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http://activehistory.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Canadian-Archives-At-Risk.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download On May 26th, a panel discussed recent developments in the archives world in Canada and the challenges archives face today. The panel was part of the Canadian Historical Association’s annual meeting in St. Catharines, Ontario. Moderated by Erika Dyck (University of Saskatchewan), the panel featured Nicole Neatby (CHA Liaison – Archives), Peter Baskerville (Chair… Read more »

How Cuban Music Made Me a Better Historian

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By Karen Dubinsky “If you want to learn anything about the history of this country, you have to start listening to Carlos Varela.” This advice, offered by a colleague who was helping me make my way through a Cuban film archive a decade ago, proved remarkably true. I arrived in Havana in 2004 to research child migration conflicts. But what… Read more »

A Healthy Custom

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By Andrew Nurse “What Use is History?” This is the question asked by a 1958 article in The Royal Bank of Canada Monthly Letter. I will confess that I have no particular soft spot for the Royal Bank (even though, I suppose, it technically owns the house in which I live), but I was intrigued that a bank’s newsletter addressed… Read more »