Category Archives: History in the News

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 »

The Generation of 2020: Coming of Age in Covid-Time

Cynthia Comacchio Although not always the most important identity marker, age has always mattered in the making of roles, rights, status and power structures. It signifies as much as, and occasionally more than, class, gender, race, sexuality, heritage. Only partly a biological/chronological category, it is also socially-constructed and consequently historical, varying in time and place. The time-shifting meanings of age… Read more »

How do we teach history after this? Thoughts from the “Pandemic Pedagogy” series

By Samantha Cutrara I went into self-isolation about a week before many others. Because I had come into contact with family traveling abroad, I worked from home while the university and college I work for continued to prepare for what felt like an inevitability after the WHO’s declaration. Being by myself that first week exacerbated the sense of shock that… Read more »

Plagues and Social Change: Putting Covid-19 in Historical Context

Alvin Finkel After the Black Death of 1347-52, which cut the population of Europe in half and accounted for some 75 million deaths globally, the feudal system faced challenges from peasant uprisings while labour shortages resulted in large wage increases for day workers. Orphanages and hospitals, run by churches and wealthy lay people, sprang up in towns across the continent…. Read more »

Congress 2020, Interrupted: A Brief History of University Codes of Conduct

Will Langford Congress 2020 is cancelled. But before the conference is forgotten, let’s ponder the anti-racism Congress that never was. At last year’s gathering, in a brazen act of racial profiling, a participant harassed political scientist Shelby McPhee and falsely accused the Black graduate student of theft. Following an investigation, the perpetrator was issued a ban for violating the Congress… Read more »

Covid-19: An Unprecedented Militarization of the Canada-US Border or a Return to the Old?

By Benjamin Hoy On March 26, 2020, news reports circulated across Canada and the United States that President Donald Trump was considering deploying more than a thousand military personnel near the Canada-US border. The decision seemed baffling to many. Who President Trump hoped to protect Americans from was not altogether clear. Within a few days of the proposal going public,… Read more »

Debating Hate Speech Regulations in Canada: A History

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Jennifer Tunnicliffe On December 13, 2019, Justin Trudeau sent out a series of mandate letters to his newly appointed Cabinet ministers, outlining their policy objectives for the upcoming session of Parliament. In several of these letters, Trudeau urged initiatives to combat online hate and counter hate speech.[1] Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault was instructed to develop new social media guidelines requiring… Read more »

Remembering Air India Flight 182

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By Laura Madokoro Dear readers, Sometimes the present appears in the history classroom. And so, this post is a reflection about being sad and being a historian more than anything else (though I have a few words to say about pedagogy), and so I thank you in advance for your indulgence. Like many others, I was deeply saddened to learn… Read more »

Countering White Disbelief with Historical Knowledge: Racism and Racial Profiling in Nova Scotia

Jill Campbell-Miller Racial profiling has lately been in the news in Nova Scotia. In September, Dr. Lynn Jones, a well-known champion of civil rights and a labour leader, was stopped by police while out with friends watching deer. Someone had called the police to report “suspicious people” in the neighbourhood. To add insult to injury, Jones was stopped in a… Read more »

University Donations and the Legitimization of Far-Right Views

by Asa McKercher In 2016, Western University’s Department of History announced the establishment of a variety of graduate awards and scholarships named for Kenneth Hilborn, who had bequeathed $1 million to the university in his estate. A faculty member at Western from 1961 to 1997, Hilborn (PhD, Oxford) was of a generation where one could apparently secure tenure without having… Read more »