Category Archives: History and Culture

A new approach to debates over Macdonald and other monuments in Canada: Part 2

This is the second part of an essay that ran last Tuesday. Read Part 1 here. By Stéphane Lévesque I believe that every citizen of Canada, from students to adults (including political leaders), would gain from a progression towards more sophisticated forms of historical consciousness that encourage critical distance and informed opinions, and cultivate the capacity to “digest complexity” –… Read more »

Caucasian Complexities: White Ethnicity and the Politics of Ultimate Fighting

Travis Hay & Angie Wong On the 6th of October, the trash-talking Irish superstar and mixed martial artist Conor McGregor was handed a very one-sided loss in his fight with Khabib ‘The Eagle’ Nurmagomedov – a white Muslim man raised in the Dagestani mountains of the Caucus region. When the match was stopped in the fourth round to save McGregor… Read more »

Say Cheese? The Dilemma of Photography at Traumatic Heritage Sites

Kaiti Hannah There is an ongoing debate in the field of public history regarding the acceptability of taking photographs in museums. Though history museums seem to be leaning more towards allowing or even actively encouraging photography in their galleries, there are many who object to this phenomenon. Open up any think piece about Millennials and you’re sure to see complaints… Read more »

Memory, History, Monuments, and Mennonites: Or, what Winkler, Manitoba might teach us about dealing with historical and moral complexity in public commemoration

By Matthew Neufeld I am against removing statues of controversial figures from our history.  I think removals are misguided because they amplify rather than diminish the moral charge of public commemoration. Instead of removing monuments that might provoke emotional pain among some members of historically marginalized groups or foster moral unease in the consciences of Canadians with European ancestry, I… Read more »

What’s In a Monument? Part II: The Edward Cornwallis Monument and Reconciliation

“What’s in a Monument?” is based on a public lecture delivered on March 11 in the History Matters Series organized by the University of Calgary History Department and the Calgary Public Library. We recommend that you read yesterday’s post by Jewel Spangler about the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville before Part II because it provides the theoretical framework for… Read more »

What’s in a Monument? Part I: Robert E. Lee and Confederate Memory

By Jewel Spangler “What’s in a Monument?” is based on a public lecture delivered on March 11 in the History Matters Series organized by the University of Calgary History Department and the Calgary Public Library. This first post by Jewel Spangler is about the attempted removal of the Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville. Tomorrow’s post by Nancy Janovicek focuses… Read more »

Fire in the Belly: A Short Reflection on the Late Stan Rogers

By Ann Walton Recently, I’ve started to view Stan Rogers through a different prism. Listen to the late folk singer’s music and you’ll discover not only a stunning songwriter, but a passionate historian whose work was inseparable from the history of his country. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s two young brothers from Hamilton toured Canada and the United States,… Read more »

The Babylon of Interwar Berlin

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Alban Bargain-Villéger When I first set eyes on the Netflix ad for Babylon Berlin, I could not help but feel skeptical. I had indeed seen my fair share of mediocre, sensationalist, sloppy fictions and documentaries on Weimar Germany. Nonetheless, the trailer was enticing enough to prompt me to fall down that rabbit hole. A mix of historical fiction, political drama,… Read more »

The Critically Uncritical Remaking of Churchill

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Erin Isaac Filmmakers make bad historians. While it is well understood that historically-based movies should not be taken for fact, film continues to play a major role in forming public perceptions of the past. Historians, realizing this phenomenon, often get caught up in the details of where film goes wrong, without fully understanding why these flaws matter. The mistakes made… Read more »

The Meaning of DoFo – how Doug Ford took Ontario

James Cullingham Ontario – wake up and sniff the kitty litter. Doug Ford aka DoFo, is premier-elect of Canada’s most populous province. That will make DoFo arguably the second most powerful politician in the country after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. There can be no denying the political accomplishment and screaming yelp for CHANGE this proclaims. Doug Ford, elder brother of… Read more »