Category Archives: Does History Matter?

Canada’s Conversation on Cultural Genocide

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By Cynthia Dawn Roy The shocking final conclusion of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was that the residential school system was an act of “cultural genocide”. Aboriginal activists and organizations have stressed the importance of keeping TRC issues as part of a national conversation. This post will summarize various trends in Canada’s conversation on cultural genocide throughout June 2015…. Read more »

What about the People? Place, Memory, and Industrial Pollution in Sudbury

By Stacey Zembrzycki Much of the industrial ruins resulting from nearly 130 years of nickel mining in Sudbury, Ontario, are now hidden from plain sight, camouflaged under a successful re-greening program that has led to the planting of over nine million trees, and the clean-up of many area lakes and thousands of hectares of soil. And yet, despite this invisibility,… Read more »

History in the Making: Witnessing South Africa’s #FeesMustFall Campaign

By Susanne M. Klausen It’s been an exciting and inspiring week in South Africa watching the student movement #FeesMustFall in action. (The name builds on the recent successful #rhodesmustfall campaign that resulted in the removal of the Cecil Rhodes statue at the University of Cape Town, or the UCT). The students have placed the demand for free, quality education front and… Read more »

Baba Wore a Burqa, and Nona wore a Niqab

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By Karen Dubinsky and Franca Iacovetta Last week two high profile Canadian Muslim women, writer Sheema Khan and Zunera Ishaq (the woman at the centre of the niqab controversy) publically questioned the safety of Muslims here.   Khan lived here in the aftermath of 9/11; she says it’s worse now. These admissions amount to a tragic statement about the use of… Read more »

Exploring New Directions in Active History

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Tom Peace & Daniel Ross Seven years in, it’s time to take stock of the Active History project. Since our founding symposium in 2008, Active History has branched off in a number of directions. Those include–but are not limited to–an annual lecture series (History Matters), a long-running podcast (History Slam), and a working group within the Canadian Historical Association. And… Read more »

Introducing Borealia

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By Keith Grant and Denis McKim It was a packed house in Ottawa this summer for a Canadian Historical Association session entitled, “Who Killed Pre-Confederation Canadian History?” The large turnout and energetic Q & A period seemed to belie the title’s sense of demise: the history of early “Canada” appears to be alive and kicking. Tom Peace and Robert Englebert,… Read more »

Reclaiming the People’s Memory

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This essay originally appeared in the Fall 2015 edition of Canada Watch: The Politics of Evidence.  By Karen Murray Knowing our democratic selves, our democratic possibilities, and most crucially our democratic failings steers us toward greater freedom and justice in Canada and beyond. With these thoughts in mind, I offer a personal reflection on the erosion of the people’s memory… Read more »

Back to Work: Revitalizing Labour and Working-Class History in Canada

A revitalized study of the history of workers, class relations, and capitalism can provide valuable insights for contemporary efforts to address Canada’s increasing economic inequality.

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 »

On Guard for Canadian Parochialism, Part One

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By Gilberto Fernandes Since coming into power in 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has taken various steps to redefine Canadian citizenship and reassert its “value” under a territorial, militaristic, loyalist, conformist and Anglocentric interpretation. As numerous commentators have noted, these reforms have unfolded within Harper’s broader campaign to (re)define the meaning of being Canadian along conservative ideals and British traditions…. Read more »