Category Archives: Does History Matter?

Remembering Emma Goldman: Pandemics, Prisons, and Mutual Aid

Franca Iacovetta & Cynthia Wright When the pandemic came, Emma Goldman was in a state penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri. Goldman and her life-long comrade and fellow revolutionary anarchist, Alexander Berkman, had been arrested under the Selective Service Act of 1917 for conspiring to oppose the draft. Goldman had been reaching audiences of thousands all over the US with her… Read more »

So long Dundas: From Colonization to Decolonization Road?

These are just two stories of many. With a roadway that stretches across all of eastern Canada, an opportunity presents itself not just to commemorate one life or history, but rather to use the road – Highway Two, which started out in Ontario as Dundas Street – as a heritage tool to substantially change how our national, region, and local histories are remembered. Renaming Dundas Street presents a positive opportunity to make a change.

If you’re not doing history to make change, what the f— are you doing it for?

By Samantha Cutrara How to you teach racism in your Canadian history classroom? Do you teach racism in your Canadian history classroom? Do you mention racist actions or events and then move on to the next part of the chronology? Do you acknowledge that there were ethnically and culturally diverse peoples in the Canadian past but fail to introduce any… Read more »

John E. “Jack” Hammell and the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame

By Matthew Corbeil In January 2007, Canadian mining giant Teck Cominco (since rebranded Teck Resources) donated $10 million to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in what was “the largest corporate gift in the museum’s history.” The donation went toward the creation of three new earth science galleries, allowing the museum to double the number of minerals and gems it could… Read more »

The Generation of 2020: Coming of Age in Covid-Time

Cynthia Comacchio Although not always the most important identity marker, age has always mattered in the making of roles, rights, status and power structures. It signifies as much as, and occasionally more than, class, gender, race, sexuality, heritage. Only partly a biological/chronological category, it is also socially-constructed and consequently historical, varying in time and place. The time-shifting meanings of age… Read more »

How do we teach history after this? Thoughts from the “Pandemic Pedagogy” series

By Samantha Cutrara I went into self-isolation about a week before many others. Because I had come into contact with family traveling abroad, I worked from home while the university and college I work for continued to prepare for what felt like an inevitability after the WHO’s declaration. Being by myself that first week exacerbated the sense of shock that… Read more »

History’s Reputation Problem: The Sequel, History isn’t Humourless, is it?!?

By Thomas Peace We’ve all heard it: History is boring. Historians may rebut: We’re not boring! We’re serious! A quick Google Image search suggests that both perspectives may be correct! Not only does history look boring and serious, it also looks White, Wealthy, Masculine, and Antiquated (okay: White, Male, and Stale). No wonder history has a reputation problem! Good news… Read more »

A Reluctant Steward: Alberta and Its Parks

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By Jessica DeWitt [We are publishing this in partnership with the Network in Canadian History & Environment.] This past week the Alberta Provincial Government announced it’s plan to ‘optimize’ its park system. This includes: The full or partial closure of twenty parks. Shortened operating seasons. Fewer groomed cross-country tracks Closures of a few visitor information centres Service fee increases A proposal to partner… Read more »

End of the Line? The History of Canada’s Precarious Passenger Rail Network

By Thomas Blampied The saying goes that we don’t really see infrastructure until it fails. Over the past week, thousands of Canadians have seen their travel plans disrupted by Indigenous demonstrations blocking both Canadian National (CN) and Canadian Pacific (CP) railway tracks in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. The actions are in support of the Wet’suwet’en fight against the… Read more »

History’s Reputation Problem

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When placed beside the sharp decline in undergraduate student enrollments, we must consider – given that interest in the past does not seem to have declined – perhaps, it is the public value of academic history, and – more specifically – the history professor, that has eroded.