History Slam Episode Forty-Two: The Politics of Memory with Yves Frenette

By Sean Graham

Since coming to power in 2006, the Harper government has increasingly involved itself in historical commemorations. Perhaps most famously with the War of 1812 television campaign, the government’s efforts have led to debates over what events should be commemorated and how political considerations shape the construction of social memory. Last week the Canadian Journal of History published an article by Yves Frenette, professor at the Université de Saint-Boniface, in which he discusses these issues and examines how the Harper government has used history and commemoration for political purposes.

In this episode of the History Slam, I chat with Professor Frenette about his article. We talk about the history of commemoration in Canada, the politics of commemoration, and the place of history in Canadian life. The article will be open access through June 10, 2014 and can be found here.

Sean Graham is a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa where he is currently working on a project that examines the early years of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has previously studied at Nipissing University, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Regina and like any red-blooded Canadian his ultimate dream is to be a curling champion while living on a diet of beer and poutine.

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One thought on “History Slam Episode Forty-Two: The Politics of Memory with Yves Frenette

  1. Veronica Strong-Boag

    This is a v. useful article and the story continues. Privatization alert: two American historians now host a website, ParksCanadaHistory.com, giving access to older material produced by Parks Canada but this initiative signals once more the de-investment by the federal government (through its underfunding of Parks Canada, and conservation and commemoration in general) and a general move to the privatization of public resources. I am glad to see that this is a not for profit site but the precedent for American involvement is disturbing to say the least. This initiative needs public discussion.

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