Category Archives: Doing History

Bringing Black studies to Canadian universities is still an uphill battle

Afua Cooper Since my time as a graduate student to my present appointment as professor at Dalhousie University, I have been involved with championing and developing Black studies in universities and beyond. Previously, within Canadian universities, not many scholars who work in creating knowledge about Black people called it Black studies. For many, “Black studies” was something that happened in… Read more »

Taking the ‘discipline’ out of history: moving beyond the limits of scholarly writing through a research creation assignment

In this three-part series, Dr. Donica Belisle of the University of Regina suggests that by expanding the ways students’ work is assessed, it is possible to expand the practice of History itself. By way of example, she explores the results of a recent experiment in which she assigned undergraduate students a “research creation” option. She concludes that despite the difficulties… Read more »

Levelling the Playing Field: Humour in the Zoom University

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The students of HIST 5210, Carleton University In just three days, this tweet was liked over 90,000 times. Responses varied from triumphant vindication (take that, students! So many more than 10 likes!) to moral panic (society is crumbling thanks to Twitter). Surprisingly few people recognized it for what it was: playful teasing between students and their professor as they wrapped… Read more »

Historia Nostra: Jamestown Miniseries

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By Erin Isaac Jamestown looms large in North American collective historical imagination, in pop culture as well as in the classroom. As North America’s first permanent English settlement, the site is celebrated as the “birthplace” of modern Anglo-American society but (as is true of all historical sites) the history of Jamestown is complicated; there are aspects to its story to… Read more »

Listening to the Voices from the Past: An invitation for a private, nuanced, remote Remembrance Day

By Samantha Cutrara What do we mark for remembrance and how do we understand service to this country? These questions may seem straightforward on a day like Remembrance Day, but this day can also invite us to critically examine the concepts of commemoration and service, and provide nuance to the stories of military glory and heroics often featured on this… Read more »

Advice for Planning and Conducting Archival Research

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(This post by Katrin Kleemann is published as part of a collaboration with Environmental History Now) Do you remember when the only thing keeping you from conducting research in an archive in a different city or country was simply a lack of money? It turns out, those were the good old days! In memory of the pre-pandemic world, when historians… Read more »

If you’re not doing history to make change, what the f— are you doing it for?

By Samantha Cutrara How to you teach racism in your Canadian history classroom? Do you teach racism in your Canadian history classroom? Do you mention racist actions or events and then move on to the next part of the chronology? Do you acknowledge that there were ethnically and culturally diverse peoples in the Canadian past but fail to introduce any… Read more »

Research stories: The Mystery of the Missing Camera

Ronald Rudin Once upon a time, I did my research in the archives, a controlled environment where weird things rarely happened. Then, I became a public historian, venturing out into the real world, and things were not always so straightforward, particularly when I was on the road with a film crew. For instance, there was the time when the director… Read more »

Who Speaks? Who Tells? Who Listens? – Part 3

Excerpt of A World Without Martha: A Memoir of Sisters, Disability, and Difference By Victoria Freeman For so many years, my knowledge of my sister had been defined more through her absence than her presence, through the shape of the void she left in my life. I had been able to approach who she was only through echoes and shadows,… Read more »

Addressing Precarity at ActiveHistory.ca

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The Active History collective is thinking about how to address precarious employment, both in the way we operate and in the wider history profession. We want your help to do it. In February, Active History was asked to support and publish the Precarious Historical Instructors’ Manifesto. Written by a group of historians who have experienced, or continue to experience, the… Read more »