Category Archives: European History

Canada Docks and Quebec Pond

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By Jim Clifford [This post was originally published on the Network in Canadian History & Environment site.] Canada Water is a small lake and wildlife refuge in the heart of Rotherhithe in South London. It is one of the few remaining parts of the once extensive Surrey Commercial Docks that covered much of the Rotherhithe Peninsula during the nineteenth century…. Read more »

The Babylon of Interwar Berlin

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Alban Bargain-Villéger When I first set eyes on the Netflix ad for Babylon Berlin, I could not help but feel skeptical. I had indeed seen my fair share of mediocre, sensationalist, sloppy fictions and documentaries on Weimar Germany. Nonetheless, the trailer was enticing enough to prompt me to fall down that rabbit hole. A mix of historical fiction, political drama,… Read more »

Repurposing a Map of Greater London’s Industry (1893-5)

A few years ago, I worked with some students to develop a database of all the factories we could find on very detailed 5 feet to the mile maps of London from the second half of the nineteenth century. This database is central to my academic research on the environmental history of industrialization in Greater London. I created maps using… Read more »

Thalidomide and the UK Welfare State: How a Unique Tragedy Showed the Problems of All People With Disability

This post was presented to the Carleton University Disability Research Group earlier this year and is cross-posted on their website. By Jameel Hampton Beginning with the recognition of the special needs of disabled schoolchildren in the 1880s, the British state took on the welfare of groups of disabled people perceived to be deserving of statutory welfare. Disabled ex-servicemen and blind… Read more »

Brexit Ambiguities

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By Stephen Brooke On Friday, 23 June 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union, with 51.89% in favour of leaving and 48.11% in favour of remaining.  And thus Britain embarked on what was certainly the most important political decision of the past forty years (going back to the 1975 referendum which approved membership in what was then called the… Read more »

Past, Present, and Future in Enki Bilal’s Graphic Novels

Alban Bargain-Villéger Little known in Canada outside a small circle of aficionados, Enki Bilal is probably one of the most imaginative, talented graphic novelists alive. He is also a controversial, misunderstood figure whose work addresses deeply historical questions. Thus, this post offers a reflection on Bilal’s career and, more particularly, his perspective on the past and how it constantly collides… Read more »

Russia 2017: The Centenary of a Global Revolution

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Oleksa Drachewych On November 7, 2017, the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution passed. One hundred years ago, in Russia, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, formed the world’s first communist regime.[1] Bolshevik Russia survived a bitter and violent civil war, including invasion by Entente forces seeking to replace a government that was antagonistic to them. By the end of the… Read more »

An illegal referendum?

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Ben Bryce On October 1, the Government of Catalonia held a referendum over the question: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state and in the form of a republic?” English Canadian coverage of the referendum has been thin compared to what you find in Quebec. The majority of English Canadians might not like referendums and they may not… Read more »

A Breakdown of Democracy in Catalonia

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Aitana Guia It’s 2019. California just voted to secede from the Union in a referendum.  Only 42 percent of the electorate voted, but since 90 percent of them voted in favor of independence, the California Governor has unilaterally declared independence. The other 49 state legislatures have not been consulted. The US House of Representatives and Senate have not been asked… Read more »

(Research) notes from three small islands

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Alban Bargain-Villéger Geography is nothing other than history in space, and history is geography over time.                   Élisée Reclus, L’Homme et la terre (1905)[1] The other day it occurred to me that, in my two and a half years as contributor for Active History, I haven’t once written about my research. The reason for this probably is that the world and… Read more »