Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bored Stiff: A Cranky Historian on ChatGPT

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Edward Dunsworth Remember, not a game new under the sun Everything you did has already been done — Lauryn Hill, interpolating the book of Ecclesiastes I’m not worried about ChatGPT. Well, let me be more precise. I’m not worried about ChatGPT sparking a surge in undetectable student cheating, or writing better short stories than Alice Munro, or leading the Roombas… Read more »

ChatGPT and the History of Government Refugee Policies

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Laura Madokoro I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Chat GPT when it first started making news headlines earlier this year. I was therefore intrigued when the Active History Collective decided to experiment a little by asking it to comment on our areas of expertise. I jumped right in with a quick question. In hindsight though, I completely underestimated… Read more »

Home and Homecoming: My Mother’s Return as a Ugandan Asian Refugee after 50 years of Forced Displacement

  Shezan Muhammedi This year mark’s the fiftieth anniversary year of the Ugandan Asian refugee resettlement in Canada. It was the first major resettlement of a non-European refugee community in Canada during the post-war period, following the official de-racialization of Canadian immigration policy in 1962. My mom and her family are part of the nearly 8,000 Ugandan Asian refugees who… Read more »

‘Rather Absurd’: Christian Nationalism and the Dominion of Canada

Daniel R. Meister In July 2023, former adherents of a religious movement went public with concerns that Christian conservatives in New Brunswick were “more radical than they seem.” The specific context was a political controversy surrounding Policy 713 on LGBTQ+ students in public schools. In its coverage of Policy 713 and the conservative Christian reaction to it, the CBC reported… Read more »

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923: Settler Colonialism and the Structure of Racism in Canada

By Timothy J. Stanley Until its 1947 repeal, the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, effectively barred Chinese people from immigrating to Canada and required all Chinese, including the Canadian-born, to register with the government. Failure to register made them liable to fines, imprisonment and deportation. The Chinese are the only group to which… Read more »

How Can We Reckon with a Future that Never Was

By Henry Yu On July 1, the “Paper Trail” exhibit curated by Catherine Clement detailing the impacts of the legal Chinese exclusion of Chinese from Canada in 1923, will open at the new Chinese Canadian Museum located in Vancouver Chinatown. Having spent the last seven years of my life helping in some capacity or another to envision, consult, plan and… Read more »

Alberta and Abyssinia

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By David Webster One textbook on Canadian foreign relations sums up the 1930s with the chapter title “Alberta, not Abyssinia.” Canada was more concerned with domestic politics affairs, not overseas crises such as the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (previously called Abyssinia) in 1935. “All these European troubles are not worth the bones of a Toronto grenadier,” in the words of… Read more »

Collecting – and Curating – Eclectic Canadiana

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Close-up photograph of a brown piece of wood. There is a brass plate affixed with these words embossed on it: “From the teak of H.M.S. Ganges, the last sailing ship to serve as a seagoing flagship.”

Forrest Pass Collecting made me a historian. A few months ago, in the course of my work as a curator at Library and Archives Canada, I came across a letter from Francis Parkman to Dominion Archivist Douglas Brymner and it made me smile, because my first “acquisition” as a child philatelist had been a stamp commemorating “Francis Parkman – American… Read more »

Reforming the History Dissertation

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By John C. Walsh The report of the CHA Task Force on the Future of the History PhD in Canada is now available (in English and in French). This is the sixth in a series of posts by Task Force members, offering their perspectives on selected themes from the report. encourages readers to join in the conversation, either in the comments… Read more »

90 Days to 50 Years: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Expulsion of South Asians from Uganda

By Jackie Mahoney On August 4, 1972, the President of Uganda, General Idi Amin, announced that South Asians who were British citizens would be expelled from Uganda because, according to him, they were sabotaging the economy. This decree set into motion a mass exodus of the South Asian population of Uganda, who were given just ninety days to settle their… Read more »