Category Archives: European History

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 »

Chemical Weapons and Conventional Bombs

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By Jim Clifford Over the past few weeks that world has watched as the United States threatened to bomb Syria to punish the Assad Regime for using chemical weapons against his population. I, like many other people have wondered why chemical weapons are a “Red Line”, but deadly and efficient conventional weapons remain a widely used and legitimate. Conventional attacks… Read more »

A Quarter Millennia of Local Food

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By David Zylberberg It is currently spring in Ontario, plants are blooming and many people are expectantly awaiting the cherries, strawberries or tomatoes. Yesterday a pamphlet arrived in my mailbox advertising the home-delivery of seasonal organic produce, which emphasized the virtues of it being locally grown. At the same time, I see others suggesting that eating local food is morally… Read more »

“The Portuguese in Toronto” Photo Exhibit: An Organizer’s Reflection

From May 13-19, Toronto’s City Hall will feature “The Portuguese in Toronto,” a free photo exhibit. What follows are some reflections on how historians can engage with the public by one of the exhibit’s organizers. Raphael Costa On May 13, 2013, the Portuguese Canadian History Project’s (PCHP) photographic exhibit celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of mass Portuguese migration to Canada will… Read more »

The 300th Anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht and the Generosity of Governments

By Gregory Kennedy I know what you are thinking.  Not another commemoration of some dusty old treaty or some gruesome colonial war!  Still, since both Thomas Mulcair and Thomas Peace called our attention to the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 , it seems only fair that the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 should get its due. 

Podcast: “Beyond Orange and Green: Toronto’s Irish, 1870-1914” by William Jenkins

The 2013 History Matters lecture series kicked off on January 31st, when migration historian William Jenkins (York University) gave a talk to a crowded room at the Parliament branch of the Toronto Public Library.  His presentation examined immigration patterns and political allegiances of Toronto’s Irish between 1870 and World War I, and how struggles at home and abroad had an… Read more »