Category Archives: Teaching History

Dusting off the history of drought on the Canadian Prairies in the 1930s

By George Colpitts, Shannon Stunden Bower and Bill Waiser [Editors note: this post was prepared for both our website and NiCHE-Canada.org where it was published on Monday, November 28, 2016]. The dustbowl years on the Canadian prairies live on in the imaginations and landscapes of Western Canadians. Elderly survivors might still leave teacups upside down on saucers, as they did… Read more »

After the Asylum/Après l’asile: Launching a History of Survival

By Megan Davies & Erika Dyck The shift from institutional to community mental health was among the most significant social changes of the late 20th century. Between 1965 and 1980 nearly 50,000 beds were closed in residential psychiatric facilities across Canada. De-institutionalization profoundly changed the lives of former patients and those who worked with them, impacting the larger economy, public… Read more »

(Re)naming and (De)colonizing the (I?)ndigenous People(s) of North America – Part II

By Kathryn Labelle, Brittany Luby, and Alison Norman Editors note: This is the second in an two part series on the politics and practices of naming Indigenous peoples. [Click here to read part 1] The term “Indigenous” is not new to Canadians. “Indigenous peoples” was used by anthropologists and ethnographers in the 19th century to describe a people united by culture,… Read more »

(Re)naming and (De)colonizing the (I?)ndigenous People(s) of North America – Part I

By Brittany Luby, Kathryn Labelle, and Alison Norman Editors note: This is the first in a two part series on the politics and practice of naming Indigenous peoples. Over the years, Canadians have attempted to find a better word for “Indian.” We’ve experimented with “Native American.” We settled with “Aboriginal.” And now we’re flirting with “Indigenous.” Will we find a match?… Read more »

Video in the Classroom: Exploring the CBC Digital Archives

Andrea Eidinger Anyone who has searched the internet for videos to use while teaching Canadian history has run into one big problem: the overwhelming dominance of American media online. Adding “Canadian” or “Canada” to your Google search doesn’t necessarily solve this problem. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great Canadian videos, soundbites, and films available. You just have to know where… Read more »

Ten Books to Contextualize Reconciliation in Archives, Museums, and Public History

Krista McCracken In June 2015 following the closing event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada I wrote an Active History post about “The Role of Canada’s Museums and Archives in Reconciliation.” Over a year has passed since the TRC concluded its work and much of what I wrote in that post is still true. I still wholeheartedly agree… Read more »

From Reel to Real: Using Film to teach Labour History

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John-Henry Harter During my undergraduate degree I had an epiphany in the only labour history class offered at my university. Here being taught in this class was my history, my own lived experience. More broadly, it was an acknowledgement and validation that the working class mattered. As a mature student, I had worked for years before entering post-secondary and had… Read more »

Visualizing the Past: Mapping, GIS, and Teaching Historical Consciousness

By Sasha Mullally and Siobhan Hanratty In defining the new field of spatial history, Richard White makes the case that mapping can be more than a corollary to a historical narrative, it “is a means of doing research; it generates questions that might otherwise go unasked, it reveals historical relations that might otherwise go unnoticed, and it undermines, or substantiates,… Read more »

Reports from New Directions in Active History: Pathways to Active Historical Engagement in High Schools

One of my favourites, asks students to consider “what Canadian stories are NOT worth telling in our Museums?” Responding to a question such as this move students from traditional narratives into the ethical dimension, while also demanding attention to the Historical Thinking Concepts.

Writing is “easy”… Student Learning in the First-Year Canadian Survey Course

By Mark Leier Making a safe space Writing real life Making assignments matter Metahistories Doing more with less References The assignment made all of us squirm. Some broke into a sweat; others made little nervous jokes. At a workshop on teaching writing, we — professors, graduate students, librarians, deans — were asked to take five minutes to complete a short… Read more »