Category Archives: European History

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 »

“Can I trust you not to shoot me?” A Different Approach to the Gun Debate.

By Stephen Duane Dean Junior In 1487, Godfrey O’Donnell killed a Breifre O’Rourke with what was most likely a primitive cast iron hand cannon. Detailed in the Annals of the Four Masters, the text differs on the wording regarding what to call the new weapon. What was less uncertain was that the new weapon could only be trusted in the… Read more »

60 years on: remembering the North Sea Flood of 1953

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By Alexander Hall Last week marked the 60th anniversary of the most catastrophic flood that struck the UK in the twentieth century. The North Sea Flood and the associated storm system, which occurred on 31st January – 1st February, 1953, was responsible for over 400 deaths in the UK and nearly 2000 in the Netherlands. The scale of the devastation… Read more »

Photographing History and a Desire to See the Past in the Present

By Kaitlin Wainwright At December’s public consultations on the new Museum of Canadian History, Sean Kheraj, an assistant professor of history at York University, made a comment that stuck with me: by commemorating moments in history we actually learn as much about our present as our past. In trying to see the past through a contemporary lens, we blur history… Read more »

Hope and its Implications for Greece: A Perspective from the Diaspora

By Christopher Grafos I should have written this article a long time ago. Selfishly, I have remained vaguely apathetic towards Greek politics in anticipation that the negative publicity and connotations of the Greek state and people would quickly dissipate. My assumption was wrong and now I realize that as an aspiring academic, I am, and have been, derelict. My doctoral… Read more »

London’s Great Smog, 60 Years On

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When did the modern environmental movement begin? Did one event mark its beginning? Earlier this year we commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which is often identified as bringing about the environmental movement. While this book’s importance is without question, focusing on it as the birth of environmentalism ignores the importance of urban environmental problems, from unsafe drinking water to severe air… Read more »

Experimenting with Victorian anthropometrics: What can we learn from past scientific practices?

By Efram Sera-Shriar Imagine yourself as a nineteenth-century naturalist living in Britain. You are working on a project that seeks to examine differences (both cultural and physical) between the various peoples of the world. You want to collect information from distant locations scattered throughout the globe, but you are unable to travel abroad because of vocational and familial obligations at… Read more »

The Historical Roots of Today’s Climate of Apathy

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By Dagomar Degroot In recent weeks widespread outrage over the publication of Kate Middleton’s topless photos has existed in strange parallel with a decidedly muted response to a shocking acceleration of Arctic melting. While every day brought new stories of royal indignation and litigation to the front pages of major newspapers, concern over the plight of our increasingly topless planet… Read more »

Gin and Tonic: A Short History of a Stiff Drink

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By Jay Young The Gin and Tonic – what better a drink during the dog days of summer?  Put some ice in a glass, pour one part gin, add another part tonic water, finish with a slice of lime, and you have a refreshing drink to counter the heat.  But it is also steeped in the history of medicine, global… Read more »

Historical Fiction as a Gateway Drug

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By Jeffers Lennox I can trace my interest in the past to a single book: Jack Whyte’s The Skystone, a story set in the time of the legendary King Arthur.  First published in 1992, when I was 12, The Skystone had just about everything necessary to hook a young kid: historical imagination, magic, war, heroism, and enough “adult” subject matter… Read more »