Dazhiikigaadeg Maanendamowin: Wanichigewin gaye Wiijiiwidiwin gii-ayaag COVID-19 / Transforming Grief: Loss & Togetherness in COVID-19: Part 2 – Student Responses to the Exhibit

Kennedy Colalillo, Geoff Crowther, Joanne Feng, Steven Fenn, Andrea Gonzalez Marroquin, Richard Griffin, Janis Angelica Hernandez Salazar, Jessica Hymers, Darrell Jose, Solaris Morenz, Susan Munn, Anya Nandkeolyar, Katia Oltmann, Laura Phillips, Faizan Rama, Kai Suzuki-Smith, Dani Wong

Part 1 of this Review is available here.

Student Responses

This is a selection of the class responses to the exhibit:

Student 1: It is a healing experience released from the people who left the pieces of their suffering on the exhibition. Each piece showed us the stages of the Pandemic Covid 19, and when I was watching this, I thought that I already forget this stage and that my son won’t remember when the world was shut down because I made this experience the best for him. We camped almost every day in the living room because it was only him and me in that one small-bedroom apartment; sometimes, we just ate popcorn because it was fun, and I did not have money to buy anything else. But he will only remember there was a time when he and his mom slept in the living room for a long time and played all video games and ate a lot of popcorn. We also heal with the exhibitions. Continue reading

Dazhiikigaadeg Maanendamowin: Wanichigewin gaye Wiijiiwidiwin gii-ayaag COVID-19 / Transforming Grief: Loss & Togetherness in COVID-19: Part 1 – Our Review and Exhibit Overview

Kennedy Colalillo, Geoff Crowther, Joanne Feng, Steven Fenn, Andrea Gonzalez Marroquin, Richard Griffin, Janis Angelica Hernandez Salazar, Jessica Hymers, Darrell Jose, Solaris Morenz, Susan Munn, Anya Nandkeolyar, Katia Oltmann, Laura Phillips, Faizan Rama, Kai Suzuki-Smith, Dani Wong

This article is a participatory review of the exhibit Dazhiikigaadeg Maanendamowin: Wanichigewin gaye Wiijiiwidiwin gii-ayaag COVID-19 / Transforming Grief: Loss & Togetherness in COVID-19, displayed at Fort York in Tkaronto/Toronto, Ontario, Canada, from March 2023 to January 2024. A graduate class from the University of Toronto visited the exhibit as part of the Winter 2023 ischool Information Management workshop series  ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Museums, Archives’,  taught by Dr. Laura Phillips.

In early May 2023, the World Health Organization declared the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. This declaration was made without any indication or directive of how we, the collective of individuals who survived this global health emergency, should process the emotional, physical, intellectual and financial toll of this 3 year event (which is arguably on-going, depending on where in the world you are located). Continue reading

“Absurd Quackery”: The Canadian Women’s Health Movement, Vaccine Attitudes, and Healthsharing

Kathryn Hughes

A magazine page titled "Shots in the Dark: The Risk of Infant Vaccination." The page includes a picture of a child in a crib.

Image extract of Healthsharing Spring, 1989 article “Shots in the Dark” by Anna Kohn, Rise Up Feminist Archive

In 1989, the popular Canadian women’s health magazine Healthsharing published an article entitled “Shots in the Dark: The Risk of Infant Vaccination”. Echoing the anti-vaccine movement of this period (the title borrows from the 1985 influential anti-vaccine text DTP: A Shot in the Dark), the article discussed the risk of the DPT-P vaccine, quoted personal stories from mothers whose children had been impacted by the pertussis vaccine, and alluded to the larger Canadian anti-vaccination movement. At a glance, a feminist health magazine seems like an odd place to express anti-vaccine attitudes, but, as shown in Elena Conis’s seminal text Vaccine Nation (2014), the American feminist and women’s health movement shared overlapping ideas with its anti-vaccination movement of the 1970s and 1980s, as maternalist and feminist ideologies that emphasized bodily autonomy and were critical of medical authorities helped shape parental reactions and resistance to vaccines. The question remains: did the women’s health movement in Canada have similar attitudes and influences to their American sisters? Continue reading

Inheriting Her Life: Toronto’s Poet Laureate Remembers Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman seated, photo by T. Kajiwara, 1911 July 15. Library of Congress.

Franca Iacovetta & Cynthia Wright, with thanks to A.F. Moritz

…the new Toronto comrades engulfed you,

a happy flood, and carried you

like a spirit in its pinnace, its canoe,

on a shining spate, a spring rill

of refreshing flame through a magic land

to that evening’s party.

When the pandemic came, we were planning a symposium to mark the 80th anniversary of Emma Goldman’s 1940 death in Toronto. As historians researching the intergenerational memory of Goldman’s Toronto exile, we wanted to bring together scholars, activists, and cultural workers involved in new research and critical engagement with Goldman and anarchist history. Over two years later, in October 2022, we finally hosted that University of Toronto-sponsored Symposium, and a performance by the Theatre Group of the Toronto Workers’ History Project of Craig Heron’s Emma’s Last Visit (directed by Aida Jordão) at St. Vladimir Institute.

But the event’s most explicitly commemorative moment was a reading by A.F. Moritz, Poet Laureate of Toronto (2019-23), of Inheriting Your Life: Homage to Emma Goldman, an original poem written at our request. A prolific, award-winning poet, Moritz is also co-author, with Theresa Moritz, of The World’s Most Dangerous Woman: A New Biography of Emma Goldman (Subway 2001), the only full-length study of Goldman’s three residencies in Toronto during the 1920s and 1930s. Our invitation to Moritz fit with our project on how generations of activists and cultural producers have recovered, invoked, and remade Goldman and what that tells us about the continuities, discontinuities, and complexities of anarchist history. We hoped, too, that a poem written by Toronto’s Poet Laureate to mark a major anniversary of Goldman’s death could help bring wider attention to Goldman’s activism in Toronto and that of the multilingual community of Yiddish, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and other comrades who lived the revolution as best they could. Continue reading

Drones in Environmental Humanities Research

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Photos by Mehdi (left) and Finn Arne (right).

(Editor’s note: This post is published in partnership with NiCHE – Network in Canadian History & Environment)

Mica Jorgenson

“Okay Dimitrijs, now go somewhere cool.”

Charlotte is wearing a heavy set of white VR glasses, standing in the sunshine on a University of Stavanger football pitch in Southern Norway. Dimitrijs is flying the drone. We are a mixed group of six environmental humanities scholars from the Greenhouse here to try out the university’s drone fleet and discuss their possible application to our research. Continue reading

Photography and the Culture of Celebrity: A Belated Review of “The World of Yousuf Karsh: A Private Essence”

By Andrew Nurse

The art of Yousuf Karsh is at once alluring and telling. The large-scale exhibition “The World of Yousuf Karsh: A Private Essence” captured both aspects of his work even while I suspect this was not its intention. The exhibition was a collaborative product of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax. Curated by MMFA Senior Curator Emeritus Hilliard T. Goldfarb, it opened in Montreal in 2021 and then moved to Pier 21 where ran until October 16th of last year.  Pier 21’s online exhibition discussion notes that it displays over 100 portraits made across the span of a career that started in the 1930s and ran to the 1990s.

“The World of Yousuf Karsh” is meant to be interpreted as a series of intertwined stories that its location in Pier 21 connected to changing perspectives on migration and diversity. In other words, it is an intervention into public history that served several ends. Continue reading

The Evolution of Game Law Impacting First Nations Hunters in Northwestern Ontario

Painting of two people dragging a moose through the snow.

Cornelius Krieghoff, [Hunters Pulling Dead Moose], 1855-1865. Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1950-14-2, Box 2000813612.

Jennifer Bate

Indigenous peoples have used their deep-rooted understanding of the land and wildlife to feed their families and communities for generations. However, by the end of the 19th century, First Nations communities in Northwestern Ontario found their traditional way of life threatened by encroaching settlement and new government-imposed hunting legislation. Although early game laws contained clauses exempting First Nations hunters from the legislation, these exemptions were eventually written out, subjecting First Nations and other Indigenous hunters to provincial game legislation which would impact their traditional way of life.

The evolution of game laws was unique in Northwestern Ontario because the region remained largely unsettled and ungoverned by the Crown until the late 19th century. Continue reading

Canadian History Shows that Sex Workers Usually Get the Short End of the Stick

Windsor Star, Jan. 24, 1923.

Margaret Ross

Late one evening in January 1923, police descended on Millie Jones’s bawdy house at 757 Mercer Street in Windsor, Ontario. She was forty-eight years old, and ran the house with her husband, George.[1] The couple was Black, and they employed two other Black women. The entire group was arrested, including two clients who were being entertained at the time of the raid.[2] In court, Millie and George were charged over two hundred dollars each for keeping a bawdy house and smuggling moonshine, respectively. Unable to pay the fines, the pair was imprisoned for three months. While the Joneses were in jail, their home burned to the ground.[3] Although police attributed the fire to “spontaneous combustion in a pile of rubbish,” Millie probably suspected that their residence was deliberately targeted given that their names and address had been reported in the press. It’s hard to overstate the repercussions of these bawdy house charges, which led to loss of livelihood, loss of home, and irrevocably altered Millie Jones’s life.

Despite the undeniable harm caused by bawdy house laws, particularly for women of colour and other historically marginalized communities, Millie Jones would be ineligible to wipe her criminal record clean of these charges if she were alive today. The Supreme Court struck down the sex work provisions of bawdy house laws in 2013 for violating sex workers’ Charter rights, but the repercussions of prior convictions continue to haunt sex workers to this day. Continue reading

Emigration and the (Un)Making of a Nation

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Railways afforded an easy connection to the United States in Central Canada. Similarly, the wharves of Nova Scotia, like this pier in Yarmouth, offered prospective migrants access to the “Boston States.” Author’s photo.

Patrick Lacroix

On March 11, author and former vice-regal consort John Ralston Saul called attention to the 175th anniversary of the formation of the LaFontaine-Baldwin government, which cemented in practice the principle of responsible government. Saul has expressed hope of a national commemoration of this moment—a hope unlikely to be met. Ours is not, in 2023, a country in search of pedestals. What’s more, in recent decades, historians have complicated the birth of Canadian democracy beyond the fateful day in 1848 when Lord Elgin called the reformers to power.

However, Saul’s longstanding call for a history that integrates the aspirations and experiences of Canada’s two largest national groups is well taken. Despite recurrent calls for dialogue, including Magda Fahrni’s 2009 invitation to write the history of English Canada with the history of Quebec, the field continues to bear the imprint of historiographies that are often deaf to one another. For instance, not until last year did a work covering the paths to rebellion in both Upper and Lower Canada appear in French. Distinct historiographical traditions amplify the sense of “two solitudes” that is felt culturally and politically. Deformed mythology, to use Saul’s term, has also nourished a politics of opposition.

Recognition of historical experiences shared by English and French Canadians promises to erode myths that perpetuate ideologies of conflict; it also provides an opportunity to highlight more tangibly than the LaFontaine-Baldwin partnership the shared challenges of nation-building. One such opportunity—situated at the crossroads of social and political history—is the question of emigration, of great significance in nineteenth-century Canada, but understudied by historians. Continue reading

Film in Canada – What’s Old is News

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By Sean Graham
For over a century, Canadians have maintained a love affair with Hollywood, both as producers and consumers. This week, we look at how that has played out with Mary Graham, author of Stunning Backdrop: Alberta in the Movies, 1917-1960, and Michael Gates, author of Hollywood in the Klondike: Dawson City’s Great Film Find. We discuss the presence of the American film industry in Canada, how films portrayed Canada, and the industry’s role in colonialism.

Historical Headline of the Week

North Island Students Reeling in Film Training,Campbell River Mirror, March 9, 2023.

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