Monthly Archives: May 2014

93e Réunion annuelle de la SHC: un bilan

Et voilà! Après cinq jours assez bien remplis à St. Catharines, Ontario, mon aventure lors de la 93e Réunion annuelle de la Société historique du Canada a pris fin. Depuis jeudi soir, je suis de retour à Québec (juste à temps pour voir les Canadiens de Montréal être éliminés par les Rangers de New York…) et, deux jours plus tard, il est temps de dresser le bilan de cette expérience.

Il s’agissait de ma quatrième Réunion annuelle. J’y avais été en 2009 (Ottawa – où j’étais d’ailleurs dans une séance avec Éric Bédard et Michael Gauvreau, à une époque où je ne réalisais pas encore qui ils étaient!), 2010 (Montréal) et 2011 (Fredericton). Deux ans ont passé, et j’effectuais mon retour à la SHC.

D’entrée de jeu, j’ai fait une erreur; j’ai décidé de ne pas me loger aux résidences universitaires (c’est-à-dire sur le campus) mais dans un hôtel, en ville (assez loin du campus). Pourquoi une erreur?

L’hôtel était à 1h30 de marche du campus (si l’on se fie à Google, ce que je fais, je dois le reconnaître!), c’est donc dire qu’il fallait soit utiliser la navette fournie par le Congrès des sciences humaines (5$), navette qui prenait plus de trente minutes sur l’aller, environ une dizaine de minutes sur le retour. Et la dernière navette quittant le campus partait à 20h00 le soir.

C’est donc dire que j’ai mis une croix sur toutes les séances du matin, à 8h30; et qu’il m’était impossible de profiter pleinement des activités sociales qui se tenaient dans le cadre de la Réunion annuelle (pour ne pas la nommer, la fameuse Cliopalooza).

Ce n’est pas nécessairement très palpitant que de loger aux résidences universitaires (les joies d’utiliser des chambres de bain communes!), mais lorsque le congrès se tient dans un campus tel que celui de la Brock University (loin du centre-ville; à l’écart… très semblable à cet effet au campus de l’Université Laval, ou de la Carleton University, notamment!), ça en vaut amplement la peine!

 

Participer à un colloque tel que celui de la Société historique du Canada peut être profitable, il va sans dire, pour de multiples raisons. C’est ainsi le moment d’élargir son réseau de contacts, de prendre connaissance des recherches les plus récentes (à la grandeur du Canada, d’un océan à l’autre), entre autres choses. Il ne faudrait pas oublier les “à côté”, non plus, qui en valent la peine.

 

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C’est l’occasion, par exemple, de découvrir des talents inédits en photographie!

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Ou de s’arrêter à la “tente à bière”, une véritable institution du Congrès des sciences humaines!

Que l’on recherche du soleil ou de l’ombre, si ce n’est un appui de la pluie (mardi soir, brièvement), c’était l’endroit tout privilégié pour découvrir des bières locales, relaxer, poursuivre des discussions sérieuses (ou pas) après une séance bien chargée. Chaque année, il s’agit d’un endroit couru par les conférenciers, ainsi que par les historiens.

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J’en ai déjà parlé dans mon message précédent, mais je dois dire que j’ai vraiment aimé cet étang… Un petit coup de coeur du campus de la Brock University! Un endroit paisible, frais, où je ne manquerai pas de retourner l’an prochain, soyez-en sûrs!

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Un autre classique du Congrès des sciences humaines est la Réception du président. Une consommation gratuite est offerte à tous les conférenciers, ainsi que des petites bouchées à volonté. Trois ou quatre réceptions de ce style se tiennent tout au long du congrès. Cela étant! Les conférenciers ne sont invités officiellement qu’à l’une d’entre elles… “Officiellement”, dis-je… mais chut!

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L’an prochain, le Congrès des sciences humaines (ainsi que la prochaine Réunion annuelle de la Société historique du Canada) se tiendra sur le campus de l’Université d’Ottawa, aux alentours des mêmes dates, soit fin mai, début juin.

 

Enfin, je termine ce bilan par une réflexion qui se veut à la fois une question, et un commentaire…

Tout au long du colloque, j’ai vu bien des historiens des plus actifs sur leur tablette, ou sur leur ordinateur, en train de tweeter sur les conférences. #chashc2014 était le hashtag choisi pour l’occasion: bilingue, il renvoyait à l’acronyme de la Société historique du Canada / Canadian Historical Association, en plus de donner l’année du congrès. Pour la forme, le hashtag est impeccable!

Cela dit… Je me pose une question. Cette utilisation proactive des historiens sur Twitter (plus anglophones que francophones, il faut le spécifier), à qui profite-t-elle?

Ou pour le dire autrement… À qui les historiens parlent-ils sur Twitter?

J’ai suivi ce hashtag de loin, et j’ai l’impression qu’avec Twitter les historiens ont trouvé un autre moyen de communiquer entre eux, dans le silence relatif du pianotement sur le clavier de leur tablette/ordinateur durant la conférence d’un des leurs.

Tout dépend, en somme, de ce que les historiens cherchent à accomplir sur Twitter. S’ils cherchent à communiquer directement avec leurs confrères et consoeurs (y compris tous ceux et celles qui ne sont pas sur place), très bien. Cela me semble même une manière plutôt efficace, dans les circonstances, en voyant combien de plus en plus d’historiens possèdent un compte Twitter.

Mais s’ils ont l’ambition, sinon la volonté de rejoindre un plus large public qui ne soit pas historien… Alors là, je reste plutôt perplexe devant les résultats obtenus.

Qu’en sera-t-il pour #chashc2015? C’est à voir…

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Stephanie goes to Congress: Why should YOU go?

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Brock University

 

Congress 2014 map

Congress 2014 map

 

  1. To catch up with old colleagues/professors/friends/rivals
  2. To learn something valuable
  3. To network
  4. To expand your area of study
  5. To plan panels for the following year
  6. To challenge someone to a dance-off at Cliopalooza
  7. To present your work
  8. To receive an award
  9. To stay up to date with the current work in your field
  10. To question, to challenge, and to push your ideas further than you ever have before

I am so thankful for the opportunity that the Canadian Historical Association Graduate Students’ Committee gave me. Writing these blog posts allowed me to focus my attention on the experience I had and reflect on what was done right and what could be improved in the future, in particularly for graduate students. I believe that the CHA annual general meeting is a valuable experience for any graduate student at any level of their education. Even though I am an MA in Public History student, I was still able to attend panels that related closely to my interests of Aboriginal history, and archives and museums. It was excellent to witness academic historians engaging with the public as well as the discipline of public history in their work. There really is room for both of us under the umbrella we call history.

I suggest that if you are on the fence about attending the CHA annual meeting, you should go. Stop being a typical historian and TRY SOMETHING NEW! I lost nothing by attending this conference and think that all graduate students in history at all stages of their graduate work can benefit from such a large and diverse program of panels and events.

Hope to see you next year in Ottawa!

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Stephanie goes to Congress: WHOOSH and she is gone

Last day of CHA

Last day of CHA

 

First I attended panel 86 “Housing History in Archives and Museums”. If that title doesn’t sound like Public History to you, I don’t know what does! This panel explored the social lives of specimens/artefacts, the limits of non-archivists working within archives, and historical falsities creating a space for critical thinking. This panel was quite intriguing and inclusive, adding the Public History sphere to the academic.

Panel 86

Panel 86

After the panel I hurried over to the book expo, where of course I bought another book. I left the book expo before I could make my debit card cry any more than it already had and picked up some lunch. I noticed a familiar face (a political science professor from my university) and ended up have a great discussion about what Public History is and the practice of having more than one person officiate a wedding (random I know).

Book Expo!

Book Expo!

Next was the “Canadian Historians and the Media: Roundtable Discussion” facilitated by Ian Milligan. This roundtable was my favourite part of the entire conference. It reinforced a lot of the things we learned this year in the Public History program such as how to write for the media and to ensure you have an online presence. This discussion, or one similar to it, should be on the program every year.

And last but not least, panel 111 “Epilogue to War: Demobilization and Material Culture after Canada’s World Wars”. This panel included two Western students which was an extra bonus. This panel explored disposal efforts after the First World War and souvenir firearms in relation to the Second World War and the subsequent violence that followed.

After the panel I had to begin my journey back to Ottawa for work on Thursday. It was a challenge but I made it home before eleven, leaving a little time to blog.

Although May 28th was the last day of the conference, I think that organizers selected some excellent topics for the final day, ensuring lots of people would stay until the end.  Wednesday was quite exhausting, but wonderful nonetheless.

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Stephanie goes to Congress: A Whirlwind including lots of Walking

The nice thing about so many Western colleagues attending the CHA is that I got to (finally) hear about their dissertation research! It surprised me how little I knew about my fellow graduate students’ work. Bright and early on Tuesday I attended “Exploring Heterosexuality in the Postwar Period: Policing Politics and Practice”. The panelists presented on unmarried pregnancy in postwar Canada, sex instruction in London Ontario, and contraception controversy in Lethbridge.

Western University PhD Candidate-Michelle Hutchinson Grondin

Western University PhD Candidate-Michelle Hutchinson Grondin

Since my MA program is in Public History, a lot of the graduates from the program go on to work in museums and archival institutions. My professor and I were invited for a tour of the St. Catharines museum by a former student, so of course being the museum nerds we are, we said yes! We were given the grand tour and we were very impressed by the level of conservation and preservation that is going on there. Their collection storage is one of the nicest I have seen. Yes, I get excited about Hollinger boxes.

St. Catharines Museum

St. Catharines Museum

St. Catharines Museum

St. Catharines Museum

St. Catharines Museum- A Christmas Story Exhibit!!

St. Catharines Museum- A Christmas Story Exhibit!!

Upon our return I had lunch with another former Public History student and met some of his colleagues. After lunch we were off to the book expo. Attending a book sale for me is more extreme than taking a child to a candy store. I want to buy everything in sight. Regardless of how much it costs because there is so much more I can learn and I want to learn it all! But I soon come to realize that I am not made of money and I need to conserve. Surprisingly, I only purchased one book, “The Nurture of Nature: Childhood, Antimodernism, and Ontario Summer Camps, 1920-55” written by Sharon Wall. I love niche subjects and this struck a chord with me because I was a Girl Guide and loved the camp aspect of Guides.

Dr. Reid's new book at the Book Expo!

Dr. Reid’s new book at the Book Expo!

We kicked our speed walking into high-gear to get back to the International Centre in time for the afternoon panels. I attended “Beyond the Document: The Role of Life Histories and Community Consulting in Aboriginal History”. This panel used oral history interviews and maps as examples of ways that they can extract information about the past to find out more about the present. Again due to my interest in Aboriginal history, this panel was certainly a favourite.

After the previous panel we speed walked back across campus to attend the CHA Annual General Meeting. The meeting was interesting, very much like a students’ council meeting: minutes read, new business etc. I wish that everything was presented in both English and French. I also wish I spoke/read French better than I do. I felt that it would have been helpful to provide the minutes for the meeting to the CHA membership ahead of time in both languages so that they could be read and questions could be raised during the meeting.

CHA Annual General Meeting

CHA Annual General Meeting

The CHA awards and dinner came next, in yet another building. I certainly got my workout for the month! The food was fabulous, included a nice variety and CAKE! The award ceremony recognizes tremendous work in the history field through articles and book publication. There were many awards and a great variety in topics. The MC was one of the best I have heard; quick, snappy and to the point. He moved the ceremony along quickly, efficiently, and with lots of humour.

Award Ceremony

Award Ceremony

After the award ceremony the tables were cleared for the dancing to begin! Cliopalooza allows for historians to let down their hair, take off their corduroy jackets and dance the night away. It was lovely to see. I also checked out the beer garden where a playoff hockey game was on. I chatted with old friends and made lots of new ones.

Overall, it was a long day full of challenging sessions, good food, and lots of laughs.

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Stephanie goes to Congress: Holy Intellectual Stimulation Batman!

Today (May 26th) I ensured I got up early to get a good helping of breakfast (good ol’ cafeteria food) and made my way over to the Conference Centre to pick up my registration kit. The line was nice and fast which allowed me to jog over to the International Centre about 5 minutes into the first presentation that began at 8:30. Below is my agenda for May 26th:

8:30-10: Exploring Aboriginal Institutional Histories

10:30- 12: Keynote Address: Ian McKay “A Half-Century of Possessive Individualism: C.B. Macpherson and the Twenty-First-Century Prospects of Liberalism”

12-1:30: The CHA Graduate Student Committee business meeting

1:45-3:15: Biographies from the Bottom Up

Work on blog

4:45-5:45: The Public History Group general meeting

BBQ

Work on blog

Sleep

Breakfast in Lowenberger Residence

Breakfast in Lowenberger Residence

As I am currently completing an internship at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and have a keen interest in Aboriginal history, I thought that “Exploring Aboriginal Institutional Histories” would be an excellent way to begin my CHA experience. And it most certainly was. Papers on Elders within a prison setting, Treaties 3 and 9, and culture bound syndromes allowed for interesting discussion in this panel.

Exploring Aboriginal Institutional Histories

Exploring Aboriginal Institutional Histories

Next I attended that Keynote panel: “A Half-Century of Possessive Individualism: C.B. Macpherson and the Twenty-First Century Prospects of Liberalism”. Although interesting, I was lost in the content as I am not a political historian. I think that it was a useful presentation for a lot of people but I was not as engaged as I would have liked.

Keynote Ian McKay

Keynote Ian McKay

Thankfully the Graduate Student Committee held off on starting the meeting until those of us that attended the Keynote could make our way over to the International centre where the CHA Graduate Student Committee business meeting was held. I enjoyed meeting more graduate students and appreciated the recognition for blogging this year’s Congress. I wish I could be a part of the CHA GSC longer, but alas I will be graduating in October. I think this committee can do and will do a lot of neat things (searchable database to help find people to join panels for conferences). I liked the inclusive style presentation during the meeting, switching between French and English.

Next I attended the panel: “Biographies from the Bottom Up”. This panel was animated by one of the best animators I have had the pleasure of listening to: David Wilson of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. If you ever get a chance to have a conversation with him, do so. This panel dealt with the boundaries associated with research into Aboriginal peoples, specifically individuals. As well as struggles with commemorating women at Parks Canada, and collaborative social circles. This panel was of particular interest to me because of my Public History background and my current dabbling in the writing of biographies.

After working on this blog, I attended the Public History Group business meeting. I was able to meet a lot of similarly minded people and see what the group has planned for the coming years. Plans were made to add more Public History to the CHA next year so fingers crossed we can reach our goal!

After a long day of mental stimulation I was able to attend a barbecue put on by some of my colleagues from Western University. It was a much needed break. On the way home from the barbecue I was lucky enough to see a ship passing through the locks with the bridge high in the sky. Yay for new and exciting experiences!

Western does the CHA

Western does the CHA

Overall, my first full day at the conference was exhausting. I tried to attend as many panels and groups as possible to get the most out of my time here. I do suggest trying everything because this type of event only happens once a year. But try not to wear yourself out! Until the next installment of “Stephanie goes to Congress,” adieu!

To learn more about any of the panels I attended, please visit my twitter @1StephanieJohns

If you would like to learn more about the panelists themselves or their topics, you can visit the CHA Annual Meeting page and check out the program.

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C’est aussi ça, Brock University…

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Un moment de tranquilité, près de l’étang…

(Et en tant que blogueur, j’apprends à insérer des images!!)

 

 

 

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Stephanie goes to Congress: I have arrived! (Sunday May 25th)

My name is Stephanie Johns and I am a Public History MA student at Western University. Being an MA student gives me a slightly different perspective when attending conferences. The MA is only one year so there is not a lot of time for me to be involved in events such as the CHA Annual Meeting. I will not be able to see the changes implemented by the Graduate Students’ Committee first hand or see an impact on my academic future because I will no longer be a graduate student. However, the opportunity to attend and blog about the event gave me the ability to be a part of the GSC without requiring a long-term commitment. I want to thank the GSC for giving me the opportunity to attend Congress and share my experiences with the wider GSC that could not attend.

After a short drive from Woodstock Ontario, I arrived at Brock University not sure what to expect. I have attended two other conferences this year, but none that compared in scale to that of Congress 2014.

I went to the wrong building initially forcing me to find my way back through the labyrinth of Brock U’s campus and find my way to Lowenberger residence. I approached the desk where the volunteer began the search for my room key. As we soon found out, there wasn’t one in any of the baskets. I was sent to another desk where the volunteer searched my name on the computer to verify I had registered. The baskets were checked again, she returned to the computer where she found my envelope but with no key inside. After approximately 30 minutes of waiting, they were able to find me a different room and provide me with a key. I then headed to my residence. Upon arrival I found my room, dropped my belongings and looked in my envelope which was supposed to contain my breakfast meal tickets. You can probably guess that they were not in the envelope. After this I returned to the desk where the same girl provided me with breakfast tickets. Crises averted!

I unpacked and began my tweeting frenzy for the Congress. Afterwards I headed to the Graduate Student Social held downtown at the Merchant Ale House. I thought there may have been a few students from Western University attending but I was blown away to see lots of familiar faces! At first I didn’t really talk to many people I didn’t already know but after a while the different school affiliations began to mingle. I met the other student blogger and other interesting people. And who knew we could actually have conversations about something NOT related to our historical interests! The free food was an excellent addition to the selection of beer offered at the Merchant Ale House.

Graduate Student Social

Graduate Student Social

Overall, my first few hours as a grad student at Congress went splendidly. I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to other students that normally I would never have the chance to interact with! Thanks to the Graduate Students’ Committee for sponsoring such a well-attended event. I’m looking forward to some intellectual stimulation tomorrow!

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Graduate Student Social

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Graduate Student Social

Bloggers Extraordinaire!

Bloggers Extraordinaire!

If you want to find out what is happening in the sessions that I attend, you can follow my live twitter feed @1StephanieJohns

Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of “Stephanie goes to Congress!”

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