Category Archives: History and Culture

The New History Wars?: Avoiding the Fights of the Past

The new history wars are not battles over the meaning of Canadian history. They are battles over public financing of historical research and historical preservation.

Zombies, Environmental Declensionism, and the Fate of Humanity: Symbolism in the Zombie Metaphor, 1968-2013

By Andrew Watson A presentation delivered at American Society for Environmental History annual conference, April 2013 Zombies have come to occupy a very prominent spot in North American popular culture. This popularity has spilled over into other aspects of everyday life, making zombies a reoccurring metaphor in politics and economics, as well as the natural sciences  and mathematics. As a… Read more »

Concert tonight: “What is Toronto?”

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How might historical themes be translated into musical composition? A group of musicians will engage with this question tonight as part of “What is Toronto?” This concert will explore the iconic events, places, and unique qualities that define perceptions of Canada’s largest city, both past and present. The event is organized by Spectrum, a group of Canadian composers who create… Read more »

A building by any other name: The politics of renaming and commemoration

By Kaitlin Wainwright Recently, I was lamenting the challenges historians face in the form of changing names of various government organizations in Canada: The Canada Food Board, the Health League of Canada, and Board of Broadcast Governors are now the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Public Health Association, and the CRTC respectively. Researching the past often means paying attention… Read more »

Podcast: “Public Spectacles of Multiculturalism: Toronto Before Trudeau” by Franca Iacovetta

Did Torontonians accept different ethnic cultures before the federal government initiated the road towards “official multiculturalism” during the early 1970s? If so, why? Where can we find examples? Award-winning historian Franca Iacovetta explored these questions in front of a public audience at the Toronto Public Library’s Dufferin/St. Clair Branch on February 28th as part of the 2013 History Matters lecture… Read more »

“A Proud Canadian” or a Canadian too proud? Understanding Stompin’ Tom’s nationalism

By Kaitlin Wainwright Last Wednesday, Canada lost its “national troubadour”, an “icon”, and “one of [its] most prolific and well-known country and folk singers”; a man who ranked 13th in CBC’s The Greatest Canadian list. Stompin’ Tom Connors is credited with writing three hundred songs, many of which are loudly and proudly Canadian. Upon his death, online tributes poured in… Read more »

Mapping the World: Perspective, Artistry, and Map Making

By Krista McCracken You ask for directions from a friend.  They respond by drawing you map.  The map you are given is hurriedly scribbled on the back of a napkin.  At the time you graciously thank them for the effort. But, when you have to actually use the map you realize the jumble of crossing lines lacks proportions and is… Read more »

What’s So Funny About Sexism, Racism and Harassment?

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By Christine McLaughlin When I ask my students who identifies as a feminist, usually only a few hesitantly raise their hands. I appreciate their reluctance to label themselves. As Ruth Rosen aptly illustrates in a recent article, feminism has been forcefully infused with negative connotations. Students of women’s history learn how cartoons and other forms of humour have been a key… Read more »

The Drake “Smoke Screen” Phenomenon: A Podcast Discussion with Dalton Higgins on Drake and Canadian Hip Hop History

On December 8, 2012, Accents on Eglinton, a community bookstore that specializes in publications on Africa and its diasporas, along with host Francesca D’Amico (PhD candidate in music history at York University), hosted an evening with Dalton Higgins, award-winning journalist, radio and TV broadcaster, to discuss his latest book Far From Over: The Music and Life of Drake (ECW Press)…. Read more »

Graphics in the Archive: History and Comics Unite!

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By Krista McCracken I have a love for most things history related and I thoroughly enjoy all kinds of comics.  So when these two interests collide I take note. There are a number of great contemporary history themed comics such as Machiavelli and Hark! A Vagrant (check out Ian Mosby’s great post about this webcomic).  The idea of using comics… Read more »