Category Archives: History and Culture

Canada, UFOs, and Wishful Thinking

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Matthew Hayes If you’ve ever done even a cursory search on UFOs, chances are you’ve come across that mythical American investigation, Project Blue Book. It officially ran from 1952 until 1969, at which point the infamous Condon Report denied any scientific basis to UFOs and the US Air Force shut down its investigation. Depending who you talk to, the American… Read more »

History Slam Episode Ninety-Two: The Many Deaths of Tom Thomson

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadBy Sean Graham Conspiracy theories can be undeniably appealing and addictive to read. One of the reasons for this is that they are so hard to disprove. In fact, for the true conspiracy theory devotee, evidence that seemingly disproves the theory is turned around and used as part of the conspiracy. An internal CIA… Read more »

DNA And The Quest For Identity

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Stacey Devlin Whether or not family history interests you, it’s hard to escape the recent surge in advertising for genealogy-driven DNA tests, particularly the service offered by genealogy giant Ancestry. Ancestry has been heavily promoting this service through both online ads and television commercials, and it represents a fascinating development for family historians who can now use genetic information to… Read more »

Lillian Piché Shirt, John Lennon and a Cree Grandmother’s Inspiration for the Song “Imagine”

By Lillian Shirt, Corinne George and Sarah Carter It was the summer of ’69. Lillian Piché Shirt, a twenty-six year old Cree woman from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, was living in a tipi with her four young children on Sir Winston Churchill Square outside Edmonton’s City Hall. She was protesting the lack of housing for Indigenous people in Edmonton…. Read more »

After the Wall: Nostalgia and Cynicism during the German “Honeymoon,” 1989-1992

Alban Bargain-Villéger Twenty-seven years ago, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall collapsed. Twenty-seven is an odd number, so why write a post on this particular topic now, on the occasion of a not-so-symbolic anniversary? One reason is that I had always wanted to write something on the couple of years that followed the Fall of the Wall. But mainly,… Read more »

The Upside Down of 1980s Culture, Gender and the Paranormal: An Historical Analysis of the Netflix Series Stranger Things

By Beth A. Robertson It would seem the 1980s have come back with a vengeance, whether judging from the work of a growing number of historians investigating the decade, or pop culture.[1] My personal favourite of such popular reincarnations is the acclaimed Netflix original Stranger Things. The series unabashedly borrows from the 1980s to achieve its unique aesthetic, drawing on… Read more »

Confronting the Secret Path and the Legacy of Residential Schools

Sean Carleton Despite growing up near St. Paul’s Indian Residential School in North Vancouver, I did not learn about residential schools as a child. I did not learn about Chanie Wenjack (misnamed “Charlie” by his teachers), a 12-year-old Anishinaabe boy who ran away from the Cecilia Jeffery Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ontario in October 1966. It was not until… Read more »

Hippie Historiography: A Much Belated Historical Review of Neil Young’s Waging Heavy Peace

By Andrew Nurse I don’t think anyone is going to claim that Neil Young is a philosopher. If he himself is to be believed, his turn to prose as a medium of expression is the result of dope. Or, more exactly, his decision to quit smoking dope which has, he says, had an effect on his ability to write music…. Read more »

Travels with Caroline

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Alban Bargain-Villéger Unlike my previous contributions, this post is the result of an accident. While browsing the contents of my external hard drive in June during a (late) spring cleaning operation, I found a folder labelled “Caroline.” Intrigued, I opened the file and immediately remembered what these forgotten documents were. In the summer of 2008, while on vacation at my… Read more »

Historicizing Hillary Clinton’s Body

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By Beth A. Robertson   If you are a Canadian as obsessed with current U.S. politics as I am, you probably are aware of the strange presidential election south of the border. In fact, even if you are not interested in US politics, the theatrical run-up to the 2016 US election seems hard to avoid. The Republican candidate, Donald Trump… Read more »