Category Archives: Global History

Montreal Walking Tour: Towers of Grain

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Jim Clifford and Stéphane Castonguay will lead a walking tour on Sunday June 16 at 7pm starting at Victoria Square in Montreal. Towers of Grain: Feeding Edwardian Britain Silo number 1, built in 1902 in the Port of Montreal, linked the burgeoning wheat farms on the Prairies with the urban markets in the United Kingdom. New industrial-scale flour mills were… Read more »

Did ChatGPT-4 attend my lecture?

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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:

“Out of the Frying Pan”: The Economist on peasants and climate change”

Jim Handy As summer winds down I have been slowly catching up on reading avoided while happily engaged elsewhere. This includes back copies of The Economist. As always reading The Economist prompts an appreciation for their insightful reporting on some issues and their tone-deaf, ahistorical and simply wrong accounts on others. The July 1st, 2023 edition had a briefing entitled… Read more »

Will Sanctions Against Russia Work?

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Russian-owned Sovcomflot oil tanker

Lorenz M. Lüthi Europe and North America have reacted to Russia’s outright aggression against Ukraine with an unprecedented slate of economic and political sanctions. Municipal governments, private companies, sports associations, cultural institutions, and other entities are taking matters into their own hands, too, by reviewing or even terminating links with Russian counterparts. States usually impose sanctions against an aggressor for… Read more »

Rescuing Historical Data for Climate Science

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Emily Manson [T]hose log books give the wind and weather every hour… spread over a great extent of ocean. What better data could a patient meteorological philosopher desire? – Francis Beaufort to Richard Lovell Edgeworth, 1809[1] Captains of nautical vessels have been keeping logbooks for centuries, for a variety of purposes. In the early modern period, captains described their travels… Read more »

What’s in Putin’s Head?

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Lorenz M. Lüthi As we are slowly coming to terms with a new reality in international relations, we try to make sense of it using the anecdotal and fragmentary information available to us. Few outside of Russia can claim to understand what is going on in Vladimir Putin’s head. Most of us are guessing about the rationale behind the war,… Read more »

A Structural Pandemic: On Statues, Colonial Violence, and the Importance of History (Part III)

Kristine Alexander and Mary Jane Logan McCallum While – as shown in our previous post – Guiding and Scouting were inextricably linked to British imperialism and settler colonialism, some Indigenous students in Canadian Indian residential schools also found that these organizations provided a refuge in an alien environment and a short break from labour and strict routine. It was an… Read more »

A Structural Pandemic: On Statues, Colonial Violence, and the Importance of History (Part II)

Kristine Alexander and Mary Jane Logan McCallum As we documented in our previous post, looking more closely at the history of Scouting and Guiding reveals that the divide between colonialist violence, fascist discipline, and peaceful pedagogy was not quite as stark as Baden-Powell and his supporters would have us believe. Instead of insisting on the ideological opposition between Scouting and… Read more »

A Structural Pandemic: On Statues, Colonial Violence, and the Importance of History (Part I)

Kristine Alexander and Mary Jane Logan McCallum 2020 has been intense. Living in lockdown, uncertain about the future, watching the body count from Covid-19 and police violence continue to rise. Time, shaped by anger, grief, and fear, moves differently, as the pandemic – like other disease outbreaks before it – exposes and deepens socio-economic divisions and inequalities. Despite the best… Read more »

Snapshots of Canada-Timor solidarity

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David Webster Pictures are powerful. They can tell strong stories. This post accompanies a new e-dossier that tells the history of a Canadian campaign for international human rights through images (http://historybeyondborders.ca/?p=220). While the full photo history looks at a range of groups that worked for human rights in Timor-Leste (East Timor) when it was under Indonesian military rule in 1975-99,… Read more »