Category Archives: History and Culture

Historicizing Black Metal

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Alban Bargain-Villéger Sometime in the autumn of 2005, I decided to give black metal a chance. Until that point, I had had reservations about that type of music, which is often associated with neo-paganism, the far right, and base displays of primal machoism. A long-time classical music aficionado, it soon occurred to me that what had appeared at first as… Read more »

“Rooting for Everybody Black” and the Subversive Politics of Black History Month in Canada

Funke Aladejebi  At the 69th Annual Emmy awards held on September 17, 2017, Issa Rae, creator and star of HBO’s widely popular television show “Insecure,” responded to a red-carpet question by proclaiming she was “rooting for everybody Black!”  Rae’s comments, which went viral, articulated a sense of collective excitement about the growing recognition and achievements of African American Emmy nominees… Read more »

Decolonizing Cottage Country

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Peter A. Stevens In Canadian popular culture, few symbols are as iconic as the family cottage. The summer home appears regularly in Canadian novels and films, and it has long been used by governments and private corporations to signify what the good life looks like in this country. Cottaging thus represents escape from the cares of the world, and immersion… Read more »

Reconsidering Stephen Harper’s Historiography

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By Andrew Nurse Few Prime Ministers have been as interested in history as Stephen Harper. A wag might now say, few Prime Ministers have known so little about it. What is clear, as panels at the CHA, a special Labour/Le Travail forum, and a spate of other critical articles have demonstrated, historians had little time for Harper’s — or, more… Read more »

Fifth Annual (?) Year in Review (100 Years Later)

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By Aaron Boyes and Sean Graham Four years ago, we had an idea for a post that came from our frustration with year end columns definitively declaring winners and losers for the previous twelve months while also predicting what the year’s ultimate legacy would be. As historians, though, we felt that these columns could not be written in the moment,… Read more »

Past, Present, and Future in Enki Bilal’s Graphic Novels

Alban Bargain-Villéger Little known in Canada outside a small circle of aficionados, Enki Bilal is probably one of the most imaginative, talented graphic novelists alive. He is also a controversial, misunderstood figure whose work addresses deeply historical questions. Thus, this post offers a reflection on Bilal’s career and, more particularly, his perspective on the past and how it constantly collides… Read more »

#Canada150 / #Colonialism150: An Advertising History

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Janis Thiessen Government advertising for the sesquicentennial of Confederation began in 2013, “aimed at increasing Canadians’ knowledge and pride in Canada’s history and heritage.” The federal government promoted licensing agreements for commercial use of the “Canada 150” logo. A number of businesses in Canada took the opportunity to promote their products by connecting them to Canadian nationalism and Canadian history… Read more »

Looking Forward, Looking Back: CBC News and The Revamped National

By Sean Graham Since Peter Mansbridge announced last year that he was retiring from his post as anchor of The National, there has been plenty of speculation about how the show would use his departure as an opportunity to revamp. Criticisms of the show have ranged from political bias to being too centered around its anchor and many looked forward… Read more »

The Great White Hype: Conor McGregor and the History of Race in Boxing

By Angie Wong and Travis Hay On the 12th of July, 2017, downtown Toronto was over-run with a sea of Irish flags and rowdy young white men.[1] More than 16,000 fans had flocked to the scene to witness the Mayweather-McGregor World Tour Press Conference, which promoted the upcoming boxing match between the undefeated African American champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (widely… Read more »

Dreams of This as Home: Chinese labourers in children’s history books

Samantha Cutrara, PhD My last two blog posts for deconstructed pre- and post-Confederation Canadian history in children’s books. My findings suggested that stories that explored difficult histories or social justice topics often did not connect these stories to larger national forces and thus felt isolated from the rest of Canadian history. These findings suggest a dangerous separation. Historians, teachers,… Read more »