Category Archives: Theme Week

Excitement, Suspicion, Protest: A Brief History of Military Science in Canada

By Matthew S. Wiseman The bombings in Paris and Beirut this past week are a powerful illustration of how civilians are too often caught in the violent crossfire unleashed by global unrest. How does one prepare a civilian populace for such potential devastation? Is it even possible? Between 1948 and 1954, officials in Ottawa attempted to design and implement a… Read more »

Technoscience in Canada: An Active History Theme Week

Edited by Beth A. Robertson with Dorotea Gucciardo   Climate scientist Simon Donner was quoted in Wired, lamenting the politicization of science under the recently felled Conservative government. Individuals like Donner hoped that the change in government would mean “a new beginning for science” in Canada. Important to this discussion is not only a conception of Canada’s future, but also its… Read more »

On Migrants, Refugees and Language

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By Laura Madokoro Amidst the evolving coverage about the refugees from Syria, there has been a lot of discussion about what term best describes the people who are leaving their homes, taking to boats, and attempting to make their way to Europe. Editors at Al Jazeera sparked the discussion on 20 August 2015, when they announced that they would no… Read more »

Little Bear’s Cree and Canada’s Uncomfortable History of Refugee Creation

By Benjamin Hoy Refugees create complicated political and social climates. Federal decisions to admit or reject individuals, families, and communities fleeing from hardships intertwine humanitarian concerns, political profiteering, immigration policy, domestic security, and racial perceptions into an often-ugly mess. Refugees force countries to consider their moral obligations to those less fortunate and to examine the possibility of their own complicity… Read more »

Series @ ActiveHistory.ca: 2014-2015

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As part of our summer hiatus, ActiveHistory.ca is featuring summaries of the papers and series we’ve run over the past year. Today, we provide a list of the series we’ve published since September 2014: The Home Archivist (by Jess Dunkin) – Ongoing Introduction (September) The Grand Seduction (October) Getting my Hands Dirty (November) Dust, Mold and Adhesives – Part I… Read more »

Vaccinations and the Decline of Diphtheria

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[Editors note: This is a second follow up post from our Infectious Disease, Contagion and the History of Vaccines theme week] By Deborah Neill In 1883, Bedford Brown read a paper before the Virginia State Medical Society, which was published two years later as Reminiscences of Personal Experience in the History of Diphtheria. It opened with a heart-breaking account of a… Read more »

Ten books to contextualize the history of infectious diseases and vaccinations

By Kate Barker [Editors Note: This is the first in a number of follow up posts from the Infectious Disease, Contagion and the History of Vaccines theme week edited by Ian Mosby, Erika Dyck and Jim Clifford. We would like to thank Sean Kheraj for putting us in contact with Kate Barker for this post.] As a journalist, I am sometimes accused of… Read more »

Vaccines and the Environmental History of Medicine

By Liza Piper Editor’s note: This post was originally published by The Otter and is the second in a series of posts edited by Tina Adcock considering the intersection between environmental history and the histories of science, technology, and medicine. In recent weeks, stories with pro-vaccination and anti-vaccination sentiments have appeared prominently in the news. They address the measles cases that originated in Disneyland… Read more »

A Brief History of Vaccines in Colonial Africa

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By Jessica Pearson-Patel As Ebola to ravage communities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, and as international health organizations fight to develop a vaccine that will conquer the epidemic, the history of vaccinations in Africa seems now to be more relevant than ever. The World Health Organization has recently come under fire for a discovery that WHO representatives deliberately held… Read more »

Animal Matter: The Making of ‘Pure’ Bovine Vaccine at the Connaught Laboratories and Farm at the Turn of the Century

By Joanna Dean Many of humanity’s most virulent diseases emerged from the fertile intersections of human and other animal bodies. Cures also crossed species barriers, and in the crossing carried a taint of their animal origins. The University of Toronto’s Connaught Laboratories and Farm produced bovine smallpox vaccine from calves infected with cowpox, as well as a variety of products… Read more »