Category Archives: European History

The Aestheticization of Politics at the Olympic Games

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By Eric Wright Disclaimer: I am an athlete and sports fan, despite what this article may lead you to believe. The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics has been embroiled in controversy from the start.  The games will be the most corrupt in history based on dollar value, with an estimated one third of the games’ $51 billion price tag attributable to… Read more »

Did the Steam Engine or Spinning Mule lead to the Industrial Revolution?

By Jim Clifford I recently introduced a group of students to this question by asking them to listen to an episode of In Our Time from BBC Radio 4. After about ten minutes of background conversation the episode devolves into an ongoing argument between the host, Melvyn Bragg and Pat Hudson, one of the leading historians of this time period…. Read more »

Love it or hate it: Stephen Harper’s Government is not Fascist

By Valerie Deacon No matter which way you spin it, Stephen Harper’s government is not fascist and making comparisons between the current Canadian government and fascism in the 1930s is both disingenuous and dangerous. This Huffington Post article about the government’s decision to close major scientific and environmental libraries and destroy much of the data contained therein was weakened by… Read more »

Reconstructing the Future: Understanding Toronto’s Wild Weather of 2013

By Dagomar Degroot In Toronto, 2013 was a year of storms. The media storm kindled by the mayor’s chicanery was twice interrupted by meteorological storms that threatened lives and property on an unprecedented scale. On July 8th more than 100 mm of rain inundated the city in a matter of hours, triggering flash floods that caused more than $1 billion… Read more »

On Scottish Independence – a Metis perspective

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By Zoe Todd What does it mean to be a child of Empire? I’m not quite sure, but the complex roots of my ancestors stretch across small prairie towns and all the way back to Ireland, Scotland and England. I am Metis: an offspring of the fur trade and all of its complexities, paradoxes and rich histories. Today I study… Read more »

Lessons from History: Santayana vs. Vonnegut

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” George Santayana, 1905 I hear variations of this quote all the time. Often in praise of what I do for a living: “You’re a historian, well great, cause if we don’t know history, we’re doomed to repeat it!” In the face of this good will, I never take the… Read more »

Do Historians Believe the Kingdom is United? History Curriculums and National History

By David Zylberberg Benedict Anderson famously wrote that nations are Imagined Communities brought together by a vision of common identity. The ways in which history is taught and understood play an important role in fostering national commonality. Many current countries do not have that sense of common identity. Such countries are held together by chance, inertia, military force or the… Read more »

The Value of Historical Maps: Solving At Least Part of the Mystery of the Origins of the Acadians

By Gregory Kennedy One of the principal challenges of Acadian history is that we do not have conclusive proof of the origins of the first permanent colonists.  The passenger lists, parish registers, tax records, or censuses that genealogists use for other groups and regions have not been found and may not exist.  There are a few exceptions, and as early… Read more »

For an Artist-Historian, Film-Making is a Sea-Change

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By George Tombs I recently completed The Blinding Sea, a 52-minute high-definition historical film about the most successful polar explorer of all time, Roald Amundsen (1872-1928). He was first through the Northwest Passage, first to the South Pole, second eastbound through the Northeast Passage and first confirmed to have reached the North Pole. This was no armchair exercise for me…. Read more »

Austerity, Investment and the Relative Consequences of De-Industrialization?

By David Zylberberg Being a historian of the Industrial Revolution who lives in the 21st century involves thinking about two worlds whose economic geography has reversed. Eighteenth and early nineteenth century industrialization was concentrated on the coalfields of northern England, central Scotland, southern Belgium and to a lesser extent northern France. Manufacturing expanded in these same regions into the twentieth century and,… Read more »