Category Archives: History and Everyday Life

The Value of History in the ‘Age of Fake News’

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Christo Aivalis During the 2016 American presidential election, but especially after the victory of Donald J. Trump, the term fake news became part of the public lexicon. The confluence of social media, digital campaigns, and the monetization of internet ‘clicks’ led to numerous instances of groups outright fabricating news stories, either to serve ideological objectives, or even just to generate… 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 »

A Walk down Memory Lane: A Public Engagement Project about the Halifax Public Gardens

By Claire L. Halstead Last Friday, I received an intriguing phone call. A woman had seen the recent piece on my Halifax Public Gardens Memory Project on the CBC evening news and she wanted to donate a framed photograph. Like any intrigued historian, I gratefully said yes. The photo, still in its original frame, is hand labeled “Public Gardens, Halifax,… Read more »

Planned and Unplanned Urban Migrations

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Richard White As anyone who lives in or frequents Toronto’s inner-city can attest, the place is over-run with human activity. The word “congestion” is probably over-used in urban affairs, and it still feels tainted by its long association with slum clearances, but it is the word that comes to mind when travelling about the city’s lower downtown these days. Walking… 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 »

History and the Perils of Inevitability

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By Jonathan McQuarrie Not long after Donald Trump’s victory, Hillary Clinton sought to reassure her supporters, and perhaps herself. Echoing President Obama, who in turn drew on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she said “the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice.” This is a reasonable and comforting thing to assert, and it may well be right…. Read more »

A luta continua: past, present, and future in South Africa’s Constitutional Court  

By Rachel Hatcher [This is the sixth post in the Learning and unlearning history in South Africa’s public spaces series.] Located in the heart of the larger Johannesburg metropolitan area, South Africa’s Constitutional Court is the ingenious and deeply moving physical manifestation of what post-apartheid South Africa was supposed to be like. As renewed student protests demanding that #FeesMustFall and the militarized response to… Read more »

Queen’s Goes Viral

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Scott Rutherford Each year at Halloween my partner and I hand out candy to a couple of dozen neighbourhood kids. We live in a working/middle class neighbourhood in Kingston where most of the children are white, as are their parents. I’m always anxious before opening the door to that first trick-or-treater. Who’s going to be the first Osama Bin Laden… 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 Year of the Flood: Hurricane Matthew, Oral Narratives, and Climate History

By Lachlan MacKinnon The tail-end of Hurricane Matthew battered Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on Monday afternoon and through the evening. Although the damage does not approach the devastation wrought by the system in the Caribbean and other points south, for many in Cape Breton it will be remembered as the storm of a generation. As I drove around the streets… Read more »