Category Archives: Does History Matter?

Donald Trump, Brexit, and the Gentrification of Progressive Politics

By Steven High Note: This op-ed piece was published in French in Le Devoir on March 16, 2017. FIRST BREXIT AND NOW THE ELECTION OF DONALD TRUMP as President of the United States have shocked many of us. Outrage and anguish seem to be the dominant reaction in my social media feeds. It is as though the world that we… Read more »

Map the History of Redlining, It Works

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The history of redlining matters. For decades, the government sponsored Home Owners’ Loan Corporation created maps that defined African American neighbourhoods as high risk, which resulted in people not having access to a Federal Housing Administration insured mortgage in these districts. Ta-Nehisi Coates used the research in Kenneth Jackson’s Crabgrass Frontier, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, Robert Conot’s American Odyssey, Thomas Sugrue’s… Read more »

Gun Rights in Canada: An Exchange

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(Sometimes differences on historical issues cannot be contained in the comments section. This exchange follows up on an earlier post by R. Blake Brown on gun rights in Canada. A response to that post by John Robson, and Brown’s reply, follow. We would like to thank our two authors for their willingness to participate in this sort of exchange.) John… Read more »

Does the Crowd Matter? The Moral Economy in the Twenty-First Century

By Tom Peace Over the past couple of weeks people around the world have taken to the streets in order to call politicians, business leaders, and civil servants to account. Though similar, no one event was the same. The Women’s March was carefully planned over two months between the US election and Inauguration Day; its purpose was to give voice… Read more »

Trumpism, Fascism, and the Lessons of History

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By Geoff Read, Cheryl Koos, and Samuel Kalman Many articles have appeared in the past year debating whether or not Donald Trump is a fascist.[1] Although some of these pieces are mere exercises in name calling, others offer political, social, and historical analysis. Just prior to the US presidential election, for example, Kevin Passmore, an eminent scholar of the French far right,… Read more »

The Chignecto Marine Transport Railway Company or, Thoughts on Failure in History

By Andrew Nurse The creation and failure of Chignecto Marine Transport Railway Company (CMTRC) — in effect, a “ship railway” — is usually presented as a unique episode in Maritime and Canadian history. In 2012, the Nova Scotia provincial government moved to commemorate the company (and, perhaps unintendedly, its failure) by purchasing the land on which the project was to… Read more »

Unlearning history to combat racism?

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By Rachel Hatcher [This is the seventh post in the Learning and unlearning history in South Africa’s public spaces series.] South Africans must, declared South African Human Rights Commissioner Dr. Danny Titus, unlearn the names of the Dutch ships that landed in South Africa in the 17th century. He made this declaration during the Free State’s provincial launch of the Anti-Racism Network of South… Read more »

Canadian Historical Association: Open Letter to the Polish Prime Minister

Yesterday, Joan Sangster, the President of the Canadian Historical Association sent the following letter to Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo regarding recent legislation criminalizing historical interpretation. For broader context of this issue see Jim Clifford’s post The Polish Government, the Holocaust and Jan Grabowski and Thomas Peace’s Fake News, Global History Wars, and the Importance of Historical Thinking. Ottawa, December… Read more »

Stewarding a Canadian Culture of Comity

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By Elizabeth Mancke The election of Donald Trump as US president raises concerns about the impact on Canada: on trade, energy policy, currency exchanges, pipelines, climate change. Most anxiety inducing is the toxic turn of civic discourse, as the US political process tolerated expressions of racism and sexism, as well as outright lies and intimidation. The contaminating effects, we fear,… Read more »

Listening to History: Correcting the Toronto Metis Land Acknowledgement

By Jesse Thistle One of my friends is a teacher for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). She recently asked me for help regarding their traditional land acknowledgement recognizing the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Wendat, and the Metis. She told me that the board was facing considerable resistance from the community regarding the acknowledgment of the Metis. The blow back is understandable, and here’s… Read more »