Category Archives: History and Everyday Life

On the Bay’s 350th, let’s remember department stores’ contributions to colonialism and white supremacy

In this post, Dr. Donica Belisle, author of Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada, and Associate Professor of History at the University of Regina, discusses the ways that Canadian retailers have profited from anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism. She argues that capitalist enterprise has long profited from colonialism and white supremacy in Canada. This year marks the… Read more »

So long Dundas: From Colonization to Decolonization Road?

These are just two stories of many. With a roadway that stretches across all of eastern Canada, an opportunity presents itself not just to commemorate one life or history, but rather to use the road – Highway Two, which started out in Ontario as Dundas Street – as a heritage tool to substantially change how our national, region, and local histories are remembered. Renaming Dundas Street presents a positive opportunity to make a change.

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 »

Making the Best of It, Then and Now

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Sarah Glassford and Amy Shaw A week or two into our respective COVID-19 isolations at home in Alberta and Ontario, we (colleagues Amy and Sarah) each received, by mail, fresh from the printer, our copies of our new edited collection about female Canadians’ and Newfoundlanders’ experiences of the Second World War. The title – a last minute substitution at the… 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 »

Congress 2020, Interrupted: A Brief History of University Codes of Conduct

Will Langford Congress 2020 is cancelled. But before the conference is forgotten, let’s ponder the anti-racism Congress that never was. At last year’s gathering, in a brazen act of racial profiling, a participant harassed political scientist Shelby McPhee and falsely accused the Black graduate student of theft. Following an investigation, the perpetrator was issued a ban for violating the Congress… Read more »

Jean Little: Celebrating Friendship and Kindness

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By Catherine Carstairs One of Canada’s best-known children’s writers, Jean Little, passed away at the beginning of April at the age of 88.  With COVID-19 dominating the news cycle, her death attracted little attention. And yet, as we live through a severe epidemic, perhaps we need Jean Little’s wisdom more than ever.  Little created a world in which injustice was… Read more »

Feasting with the Imagination Now and in the Second World War

Suzanne Evans We are living through a time made for feasting with the imagination, an act precedented in Second World War prison camps. “Am cooking Mum’s old favourite tonight – scalloped potatoes on ham. It makes me think of her every time I make it.” Over the past few weeks of pandemic lockdown my sister has reverted to our mother’s… Read more »

The Branded Puerto Rican Drink with Cuban Connections

Carlos A. Santiago In 1893, Puerto Rican poet Lola Rodriguez referred to Cuba and Puerto Rico as “two wings of the same bird.” Both islands experienced colonialism under the Spanish empire and were exploited by the hegemonic power of the United States. Although they have had similar experiences, these two islands have historically been viewed differently. During the nineteenth and… Read more »

To NARA is Human; To Forgive, Divine

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Allana Mayer Historically-minded folks will likely have seen the flare-up and fizzle-out of scandal around the USA’s National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in January. A Washington Post reporter noted that applique images on the walls of the NARA Museum lobby had blurred out words on signs held by Women’s March protesters in 2017. The blurred words included “pussy” as… Read more »