Tag Archives: Canada

The Difficulty in Diagnosis: Shell Shock and the Case of Private Dennis R.

Kandace Bogaert During the First World War more than 15,000 Canadian soldiers were diagnosed with combat related psychological illnesses.[i] While the term shell shock retained social currency long after the war, it was banned as a diagnosis in the military in 1917. Too many soldiers were being evacuated from the trenches, and shell shock had become an ambiguous catch all… Read more »

Coming Home: Veterans, Pensions and the Canadian State After the Great War

By Eric Story What happened to Canadian veterans after the Great War? In the minds of many, shell shock and physical disfigurement loom large. These two images of veterans have attracted so much attention in both academic writings and cultural representations that they have become representative of the entire population of returning ex-servicemen.[1] However, a group of researchers at the… Read more »

History Slam Episode 109: Lace Up: A History of Skates in Canada

http://activehistory.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/History-Slam-109.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadBy Sean Graham For the past three-and-a-half years I have had the pleasure of working with Jean-Marie Leduc and Julie Léger on a book looking at the history of skates. Mr. Leduc is a renowned expert on skates with one of the biggest private collections in the world that has been displayed at museums… Read more »

Conversations with Egyptian Uber Drivers: Why Emigrate? Why Canada?

Michael Akladios Census Canada estimated earlier this year that the proportion of Arabic speakers in Canada is projected to increase 200 per cent by 2036. Yet, the study of immigration and ethnicity in North America tends to ignore Middle Eastern immigrants. The region remains in the Western imaginary as an ahistorical and hermeneutically sealed zone.[1] However, one would be hard-pressed… Read more »

Red Crosses and White Cotton: Memory and Meaning in First World War Quilts

By Rebecca Beausaert It is a cold, wintry Wednesday afternoon in January 1917. Half a dozen women of varied ages are seated around a large quilt frame set up in the sitting room of a rural farmhouse in Oxford County, Ontario. Some work quietly, their thoughts running to domestic tasks set aside to be here. A few cannot help but think… Read more »

The Alderville War Memorial: A Bizarre Monument or A Community’s Search for Meaning?

By Jackson Pind If you drive north from Highway 401 in southern Ontario along county road 45, you will come across the reserve of Alderville First Nation, nestled on the shore of Rice Lake. If you travel in this direction, which summer cottagers and scenic adventurers often do, you will notice a striking monument in the middle of the endless… Read more »

Atheists in the Trenches: Loss of Faith among Canadians in the Great War

By Elliot Hanowski Did the horrors of the Great War cause Canadian soldiers to lose their faith? Or is it true that there were no atheists in the trenches? The war has generally been seen as a powerfully disillusioning experience. Books such as Paul Fussell’s widely influential The Great War and Modern Memory portray the war as the origins of… Read more »

Feet of Clay? Canada’s Vimy Ridge

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Nic Clarke The Battle of Vimy Ridge (9-12 April 1917) is held by many Canadians as a pivotal moment in the formation of a distinct Canadian identity, and, indeed, Canada’s transformation from British dominion to independent state.  At first glance this belief is not hard to understand.  Fighting together for the first time, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps… Read more »

Peaceable Kingdom or Emergency State?  The Legacy of Canada’s First World War for Security Regulation and Civil Rights

By Dennis Molinaro The First World War led to many profound changes in Canadian society, including expanding the security powers of the government and laying the foundations of the modern surveillance state. Through measures such as the War Measures Act and Section 98, certain wartime powers became a permanent means of judging people’s politics in peacetime.  Surprisingly, this legacy of… Read more »

“You want to put what, where?” Contesting Malpeque’s (Second) First World War Memorial

By Sarah Glassford “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” Nothing beside remains. -from “Ozymandias,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley I cannot think about the politics of commemoration without remembering a famous poem I read in one of my undergraduate English courses.  In “Ozymandias,” Romantic poet Percy Shelley reflects upon the transience of… Read more »