Lessons of the Past: Equity, Equality and Education

"'Fancy step' around the classroom," ca. 1899. From the Frances Benjamin Johnson Collection, Library of Congress; this photo is licensed for reuse under Creative Commons.

As a new school year fast approaches, I’ve been reflecting on this past year of teaching and thinking ahead to a new one.  My teaching philosophy has been inspired by my past experiences as both student and teaching assistant, my interests and studies, and some good (and not-so-good) models I’ve encountered along the way. 

Seminars and tutorials vary across time and space.  Within my cultural context, tutorials often involve teaching assistants leading small group discussions on assigned readings, held in conjunction with weekly lectures.  Tutorials also differ significantly depending on who is doing the teaching.  Some tutorial leaders will assign mandatory presentations to each student, while others might prefer a more informal discussion sparked by question and answer sessions.  Others still deploy a wide variety of creative strategies in the classroom, a few of which have been discussed in some outstanding contributions to this site on teaching historyContinue reading

Memories of L’Anse aux Meadows

      No Comments on Memories of L’Anse aux Meadows

Benedicte Ingstad at the 50th Anniversary Ceremony (Photo by Author)

By Megan Arnott

The main story of L’Anse aux Meadows occurred 1000 years ago, when Leifr Eiriksson (or some other intrepid Norse explorer) and his crew journeyed across the North Atlantic and landed on the shores of North America. It is this story that continues to bring in national and international visitors by the thousand, and it is this story that Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism continues to present to a watching world.

But there is another prominent story at L’Anse aux Meadows, one that is tied to the 1000 year old tale, but which happened in living memory and which continues to shape the lives of the people of the Northern Peninsula. On Wednesday July the 21st, 2010 L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site celebrated the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Norse archaeological site. Continue reading

Can We Redeem File-Sharing After the Download Decade?

The term “download decade” is an effective description of the first ten years of this infant century and the first rising chapter of the so-called Information Age.

It accurately distills the blind conspiracy between the exponential availability of high-speed Internet, the gradual decrease in the cost of personal computers, the rise of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and websites like Napster and its clones (built largely on BitTorrent protocols) and, of course, the generation of youth at the centre of it all.

This evolution in communications has changed consumer habits, challenged traditional media, and kindled still-raging debates about ethical use and legislative reform. Continue reading

History Matters: A lecture series connecting Toronto historians with the city and its people

by Lisa Rumiel

Runnymede Branch Public Library ca. 1930 (City of Toronto Archives)

On Tuesday, September 14th the Toronto Public Library (TPL) will kick off its 6 part History Matters lecture series.  As you might have guessed from the title, the idea for the series was inspired by what’s been going on over the past couple years with the folks at Active History – both at the blog and the 2008 conference.  My goal for organizing the series with the library was to encourage the development of community and exchange between active Toronto historians and the broader Toronto community.

Continue reading

In Search of the Franklin Expedition

      2 Comments on In Search of the Franklin Expedition

Franklin Expedition, 1845

In 1845 the Franklin Expedition disembarked from coastal England in search of the Northwest Passage, but instead of achieving this goal, the voyage became the source of one of history’s most enduring stories that would continue to spark interest over 150 years later.

This summer Parks Canada has announced its intention to continue its search for the wrecks of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror – the two lost ships of the Franklin Expedition – that it began in 2008. Continue reading

Historical Preservation in Comparative Perspective

Last week, two media items caught my attention.  The first story was the discovery of remains from an 18th-century ship found during construction at the World Trade Centre in New York City.  The second was a short debate on CBC’s Metro Morning between Toronto City Councillors Mike Feldman and Adam Vaughan on heritage designation of historic homes.

As I reflected on these two news items I was struck by their differences in tone.  In New York City, the discovery of this ship seems to have sparked significant interest (especially given the global significance of the site).  The New York Times followed up on this with an interactive summary of other archaeological finds in the city.  In Toronto, the tone was quite different.  First, there was debate about the merits of historical designation of private property.  But more concerning was Adam Vaughan’s critical point that only four people work in the City’s Heritage Preservation Services department. [editors note (July 27 2010): there are actually 14 people currently employed at Historical Preservation Services see the comments section below for more information] Continue reading

Active History Annoucements: July 25-31

      No Comments on Active History Annoucements: July 25-31


The following upcoming events may be of interest to our readers (click on ‘continue reading’ below for full descriptions):

1)  CFP: We Demand: History/Sex/Activism in Canada – deadline: 30 Sept 2010

2) ActiveHistory.ca is looking for a co-book review editor

3) CJSW: Today in Canadian History still looking for submissions

4) Digest of this week’s blog posts

AH Announcements will be on vacation for the month of August.  AH announcements will return on August 28th.  If you have an announcement that you would like included in this weekly dispatch, please e-mail info@activehistory.ca. Continue reading

Canadian Census Data: A Lost Resource

      3 Comments on Canadian Census Data: A Lost Resource

Statistics Canada is making significant changes to the way that the Canadian census is conducted.  Beginning in 2011 the long census form will no longer be distributed to Canadians. Previously, this portion of the census collected information on topics such as ethnicity, religion, employment, education, income, and various other social concerns.  Information on some of these topics will now be gathered by a new voluntary National Household Survey (NHS).  Unlike census information, data gathered through the NHS is not subject to the same laws regarding release of information to the public.  Statistic Canada does not currently release information gathered through surveys, meaning that a valuable resource for researchers is essentially being eliminated. Continue reading

Active History Annoucements: July 18-24

      No Comments on Active History Annoucements: July 18-24


The following upcoming events may be of interest to our readers (click on ‘continue reading’ below for full descriptions):

1)  CFP: We Demand: History/Sex/Activism in Canada – deadline: 30 Sept 2010

2) ActiveHistory.ca is looking for a co-book review editor

3) Responses to the end of the mandatory long-form census

4) Digest of this week’s blog posts

Newspaper article of note: Washington Post: Lessons from Exxon Valdez spill have gone unheeded

If you have an announcement that you would like included in this weekly dispatch, please e-mail info@activehistory.ca. Continue reading

Protect Your Copyright

      10 Comments on Protect Your Copyright

By Adam Crymble

Keep it, sell it or release it to everyone?

Copyright isn’t a topic of which many young academics have a strong understanding. But, as a writer, it’s something to which you should pay attention. And you shouldn’t be afraid to assert your rights when it comes to assigning copyright when you publish.

Your copyright is your ownership over the fruits of your labour. You did the research and the writing, so you have a right to benefit from that writing. Copyright is the only thing that legally protects you from people who want to steal your work and make money from it.

The catch is, it only works if you don’t give it away carelessly.

When you publish something, the editor of the publication has to obtain your permission, and you can count on each publication having a set of rights that they require you to sign over in return for publishing your work. There are thousands of combinations of rights publishers can and will ask for. Here I’ve put together the four most common types: Publication Rights, Grant of Rights in Exchange for Compensation, Pressure to Relinquish Rights, and Releasing Rights. Continue reading