Category Archives: Does History Matter?

Canada’s Complicated History of Refugee Reception

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“Ever since the war, efforts have been made by groups and individuals to get refugees into Canada but we have fought all along to protect ourselves against the admission of such stateless persons without passports, for the reason that coming out of the maelstrom of war, some of them are liable to go on the rocks and when they become… Read more »

Is Pre-Confederation History actually Declining? A Response to Thomas Peace and Robert Englebert

By David Zylberberg In June, Activehistory.ca ran a series of posts focused on the topics discussed at the then upcoming Canadian Historical Association Annual Conference. As usual, Thomas Peace posted an informative analysis of the topics, regions, time periods and languages covered while Robert Englebert discussed possible reasons for the limited number of papers on pre-Confederation topics. Drs. Peace and… Read more »

Remote Silvertown Transforms Again

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By Jim Clifford Industrial Silvertown is not a standard tourist attraction in London, though in recent years thousands of people have peered down on the remaining factories from the Emirates Air Line cable cars as they descend toward Victoria Dock and the ExCel convention centre. It was nonetheless a really important region of heavy industrial development during the late nineteenth century and… Read more »

A Monument to the Past? The Never Forgotten National War Memorial Project

By Jill Campbell-Miller Over this past winter and spring, the controversy around the proposed Never Forgotten National War Memorial Project has become increasingly intense, even reaching the pages of the Guardian. The project, sponsored by the Never Forgotten National Memorial Foundation, and specifically, Toronto businessman Tony Trigiani, intends to honour fallen soldiers who served abroad. Positioned overlooking the Atlantic Ocean… Read more »

Why Change Happens?

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Friends of the Earth in the UK and History & Policy organized a conference last Wednesday at King’s College in London to bring together historians and campaigners to discuss what we can learn from the past. The format of the conference was fantastic. In each of the four panels, three historians presented short 15-minute papers and a campaigner or journalist then commented… Read more »

“If Stephen Harper doesn’t support Canadian Studies, why should we?”

By Colin Coates “If Stephen Harper doesn’t support Canadian Studies, why should we?” So said the vice-provost of Duke University to Jane Moss, the director of the university’s Center for Canadian Studies, as he recommended “re-purposing” the endowment that had funded the Centre. This long-lasting centre closed as of 2014, turned into a “Council for North American Studies.” The place… Read more »

Where has pre-Confederation history gone? The CHA and the changing contours of a discipline.

By Robert Englebert For years now I have talked with colleagues about the rather anaemic pre-Confederation history representation at the CHA.[1] Most of these conversations have been anecdotal in nature, the seemingly self-evident decline represented by the fact that most of us pre-Confed types could fit around a couple of tables at the beer tent. Then about two years ago… Read more »

The New Abortion Caravan

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By Karissa Patton The Abortion Caravan of 1970 brought an issue that was primarily confined to letters and opinion pieces in newspapers, magazines, and to the Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, to the streets of Canadian cities and towns.[1] Caravaners were successful in raising awareness about, and building support for, the notion that women must have… Read more »

Starbucks: Welfare Capitalism, Public Education, and the History and Possibility of American Social Democracy

By Jason Ellis Welfare capitalism is back in vogue. Earlier this month Starbucks announced that it will expand an existing company benefit program that offers university tuition coverage to Starbucks workers. The expansion of the program, a plan to extend these benefits to 23,000 workers over the next decade at a cost of $250 million, will target “opportunity youth,” i.e…. Read more »

Literature and History: Michel Houellebecq’s Soumission and the Politics of Cultural Despair

By Alban Bargain–Villéger Even today, literary fiction can still provide an ideal entry point into historical studies. Although this might seem like stating the obvious, one has to recognise that the increasing overspecialization of history as a discipline has hindered the ability and/or willingness of many historians to explore universes outside of their respective fields. Nonetheless, it is clear that… Read more »