Category Archives: Doing History

Open Access Week and Publishing in the Open

      No Comments on Open Access Week and Publishing in the Open

(Editor’s note: Today marks the start of International Open Access Week 2023. Four years ago we published this post by editor Krista McCracken, explaining why open access is a core value of their work as a historian, educator, and archivist. “Where we publish matters,” argues McCracken, particularly when we work with communities or for non-academic audiences. That commitment to access… Read more »

Did ChatGPT-4 attend my lecture?

      No Comments on Did ChatGPT-4 attend my lecture?

Jim Clifford In the lead-up to my take-home exam last April, I was trying to think of questions ChatGPT could not answer. I hoped that by focusing on details from my lectures that are not available on Wikipedia and other similar online sources, the large language model would fail to provide a strong answer. I was dead wrong:

Critical Reflections on Histories of Residential Schools

By Karen Froman, Leah Kuragano, Aileen Friesen, Cathy Mattes, Mary Jane Logan McCallum On Sept 25, 2023, the University of Winnipeg’s History Department Indigenization Committee presented a panel engaging with the Interim Report of the Office of the Independent Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Graves and Burial Sites associated with Indian Residential Schools, entitled Sacred Responsibility: Searching for… Read more »

What’s the Point in Talking About it: Community Responses to Enslavement in Shelburne, NS

By Erin Isaac The thoughts and sentiments shared in this essay are my own and do not represent the Nova Scotia Museum or Shelburne Historical Society. The Ross-Thomson House & Store Museum, in Shelburne, NS, has always been known as a site of enslavement in this community. Most people around here reference this by speaking about a pair of leg… Read more »

Historia Nostra at the Fortress of Louisbourg

      No Comments on Historia Nostra at the Fortress of Louisbourg

By Erin Isaac I first reached out to Dr. Amy Scott (University of New Brunswick) about visiting her in Cape Breton in February 2020, after attending a public lecture she gave at New Brunswick’s Provincial Archives. In her talk, Dr. Scott told us about the things her team was learning about 18th-century disease, injury, and lifeways from the grave goods… Read more »

Today’s AI, Tomorrow’s History: Doing History in the Age of ChatGPT

AI generated image of a blue faced human

You have probably heard about OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Microsoft’s Bing Chat or Google’s Bard. They are all based on Large Language Model (LLM) architectures that produce human-like text from user prompts. LLMs are not new, but they seem to have recently crossed a virtual threshold. Suddenly, artificial intelligence—or AI for short—is everywhere. While it is true that they sometimes “hallucinate,” producing factual errors and quirky responses, the accuracy and reliability of LLMs is improving exponentially. There is no escaping it: generative AI like ChatGPT is the future of information processing and analysis, and it will change the teaching and practice of history. Although some of its effects can be felt already, its long-term implications are not as clear.

Raising Awareness about Canada’s Indian Day Schools with Digital History

Jackson Pind and Sean Carleton Many Canadians are finally coming to terms with the truth that the Canadian government, in co-operation with Christian churches, ran a genocidal school system targeting Indigenous Peoples for more than a century. What most people do not realize, however, is that Canada’s system of “Indian education” was not limited to Indian Residential Schools. It also… Read more »

Expanding our Sources, Expanding our Stories: An Active History / Source Story Series

In collaboration with Histoire Source | Source Story, a video series for history educators, Active History is recruiting writers to write complementary posts on themes related to one of seven Histoire Source | Source Story conversational videos. While the videos were designed for a K-12 teaching audience, they are rich in content for a broader audience. Thus, we envision these… Read more »

Learning About Residential Schools At The Shingwauk Site 

Gallery space in an exhibition with red text and image panels on left and right walls. Door at far end of hallway.

Krista McCracken  The Shingwauk Residential School operated in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario from 1874 to 1970. In 1971, Algoma University College – today known as Algoma University – moved onto the Shingwauk Site. Since 2010, I’ve been part of the staff at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) that seeks to promote sharing, healing, and learning in relation to the… Read more »

What’s the Point of the Historiographical Dissertation Chapter?

Elizabeth Mancke Academic press editors are notorious for advising future and recent PhDs to remove the historiographical chapter as a first step in revising their dissertation for publication.  This begs the question: If press editors do not consider historiographical chapters publishable material, why do so many dissertation committees require them? Why are they deemed a necessary part of the doctoral… Read more »