2e journée: la nostalgie au rendez-vous

Ma deuxième journée au SHC a été très intéressante.  Par chance, j’ai rencontré plusieurs de mes collègues et professeurs.  J’ai rencontré ma superviseure et des collègues de Winnipeg que je n’avais pas vu depuis le mois d’août et même des collègues datant de mes années à UNB.  Après une réunion assez rapide, je suis allée à ma première session du matin.  Je vais vous fournir un petit indice concernant le sujet de la session.  J’espère bien que la nostalgie était au rendez-vous pour vous autant que pour moi en écoutant le petit clip.

Le panel («L’histoire des émissions de télévision canadiennes pour enfants : le nationalisme, la réglementation et la formation des identités canadiennes ») présenta, en examinant des sources peu utilisées, des questions concernant l’éducation des enfants, la télévision et des questions de nationalisme à travers l’histoire de programmation télévisés pour enfants.  Malheureusement, Daniel Macfarlane, qui allait présenter sa recherche concernant l’émission de télévision, The Raccoons, n’a pu être présent.  Par contre, la chanson thème de l’émission fut joué en début de session.  La session consista donc de deux merveilleuses présentations.  En première place, Katharine Rollwagen présenta l’histoire des émissions pour enfants et surtout des débats concernant la qualité du contenu.  En 1961, d’après le recensement canadien, il y avait plus de maisons avec des télévisions qu’avec des toilettes ! Selon sa recherche, la télévision et la programmation pour enfants était en fait encouragé par les parents.

Matthew Hayday, nous présenta un regard à la programmation pour enfants à travers l’évolution et la « Canadianisation » d’une émission spécifique, Sesame Street.  Les parents Canadiens insistèrent pour la continuation du programme, malgré un contenu majoritairement américain.  Certaines des meilleures anecdotes de la présentation inclurent un petit vidéoclip du contenu canadien inclus dans la programmation américaine, une promotion par la Compagnie de la Baie d’Hudson qui encourageait les clients de donner leur opinion concernant Sesame Street et une lettre adressée au premier ministre Pierre Trudeau. Heureusement, pour la francophone en moi, il y a eu une petite discussion de cette merveille de ma jeunesse.

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Parents et enfants qui protestent l’annulation de Sesame Street. Le lendemain, le programme a fait son retour à la television à Kingston.

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Lettre d’un parent concernant l’importance de Sesame Street comme programme éducatif.

Après la session, je suis allée écouter plusieurs historiennes renommées – Sarah Carter, Lara Campbell, Tarah Brookfield, Heidi MacDonald, Denyse Baillargeon, Lianne Leddy, Joan Sangster et Darcy Cullen – présenter leur recherche concernant une collaboration pour une série de livres qui réexaminent le suffrage des femmes au Canada dans un contexte impérial, colonial, Britannique, et régional.  La session (« Les femmes canadiennes, le suffrage et les droits de la personne ») a certainement piqué mon intérêt et j’attends avec impatience la publication de la série.  Heidi MacDonald, qui étudie la question du suffrage dans les provinces de l’Atlantique oppose l’historiographie passé et propose que le suffrage des femmes a été un processus, long, ardu, et difficile.

Après cette session, durant l’heure du midi, j’ai eu la chance de rencontré Tarah Brookfield, qui avait présenté son projet dans la session précédente.  Tarah avait enseigné un de mes cours d’histoire de l’enfance cette année.  Elle m’a indiqué qu’il y avait une réunion pour le groupe d’histoire de l’enfance et de la jeunesse.  Étant donné mes intérêts, j’ai décidé d’y participer et eu le plaisir de rencontrer plusieurs autres académiques étudiant la jeunesse.

L’après-midi m’a vu considérer la place du corps et des politiques du corps dans l’histoire à la session «Nationalités incarnées : la race, le genre et l’appartenance dans une perspective historique.»  Pour Donica Belisle et Amy Shaw, les politiques du corps, que ce soit à travers la mode (Belisle) ou la description de l’armée Canadienne lors de la guerre Boer (Shaw), sont liés à la représentation du Canada idéal.  Dans le contexte Américain, Sharon Romeo, présenta un cas intéressant pour les femmes esclaves Africaines américaines recherchant asile à St. Louis, Missouri lors de la guerre civile aux Etats-Unis.

Terminant une longue journée, j’ai décidé d’assister à la réunion annuelle des membres de la société.  La rencontre fût un peu longue, naturellement, mais m’a certainement donné une bonne idée du travail que la société fait pour encourager la recherche dans le domaine des humanités.

La fin de la réunion, pour moi, marqua la fin de ma journée.  Je suis retourné à l’hôtel afin de me reposer un peu, donc j’ai manqué Cliopalooza.  En tout, ce fût une journée remplie d’aventures, de nostalgie et belles rencontres.

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Première journée – SHC à Calgary

Bonjour à tous !  Je suis Vanessa Quiring et pendant les prochains jours, je vais vous présenter mon expérience au Congrès et surtout en ce qui concerne la conférence annuelle du SHC !

Laissez-moi vous dire quelques mots à propos de moi et de mes intérêts, ce qui vous aideras certainement à comprendre les choix de sessions auxquels je vais assister. Je viens tout juste de terminer ma première année en tant qu’étudiante au doctorat en histoire à l’Université de Waterloo intéresser par l’histoire de la médecine et de la jeunesse au Canada.  Le programme de cette année est plein de sessions concernant la santé et la jeunesse, qui fera de moi une étudiante bien contentée !

C’est la première fois que je participe au Congrès en tant qu’étudiante.  Il y a quelques années, je travaillais à la bibliothèque de l’université du Nouveau-Brunswick lorsque le Congrès était tenu à l’université.  Disons que j’ai certainement eu de l’expérience du côté de l’organisation et de la préparation pour un événement de cette taille et que l’organisation par le SHC et le Congrès jusqu’à date est à point jusqu’à date.

Cela fait déjà deux jours que je suis à Calgary car j’ai participé aux sessions de la Société Canadienne pour l’histoire de la médecine.  C’est donc avec plaisir que j’ai pu lire sur le programme que la SCHM et la SHC ont collaborés pour nous apporter deux sessions sur la médecine !  Cela ne fut pas trop compliqué à choisir les sessions auxquelles j’allais participer.

J’ai donc passé la première partie de mon avant-midi dans une session – Histoires personnelles et récits institutionnels racontés par des médecins, des scientifiques et des universitaires germanophones éxilés 1930 – 1960 –  avec un thème qui abordait la question de psychiatres et autres pratiqueurs de médecine dites, psychologique ou neurologique, qui furent obligés ou décidèrent de quitter le pays et leurs emplois pour travailler ailleurs essayer de reconstituer leurs vies.  Les présentateurs – Aleksandra Loewenau (Université de Calgary), Paul Stortz (Université de Calgary) et Guell Russell – ont réussi à mettre en contexte l’expérience de neuroscientifiques quittant l’Allemagne pour d’autres pays, souvent sous une initiative afin d’éviter d’être obligé de travailler avec le régime Nazi pendant les années 1930 et 1940.  Une deuxième présentation observa la position de réfugiés juifs pendant et après la deuxième guerre mondiale à l’université de Toronto tandis que la troisième présenta le parcours d’un médecin dans trois pays.

Étant donné que la SCHM était encore en cours, j’ai participé à une autre session le matin qui discutait et analysait l’histoire de l’hémophilie et des traitements pour l’hémophilie avec l’histoire du VIH/SIDA intitulé Reflection.  Le panel fût principalement organisé par des médecins – Robert Card, Man-Chiu Poon, et Nicole Shedden – ce qui nous rappelle l’importance d’étudier l’histoire de la médecine non seulement afin d’étudier l’histoire mais afin de comprendre le contexte qui encadre les discussions des méthodes utilisés pour traiter l’hémophilie.  Carol Nash à même offert une idée de l’importance de participé à un projet de réflexion de soi en tant qu’historiens.

Nous avons pris une pause pendant l’après-midi.  J’ai fait mon chemin à l’expo de livres et pris le temps de parcourir tous les rayons pour observer les livres en histoire et santé publiés récemment.  Un retour à l’hôtel après une longue journée et fin de semaine m’a permis de me reposer et on recommence le trajet aujourd’hui.  Jusqu’à date, j’ai rencontré ce que je qualifierais de mes héros en histoire, ceux qui m’ont influencé à poursuivre mes études.

Je vous laisse avec ça pour l’instant car je vais être en retard pour une autre session ce matin si je continue.

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Day 1 – CHA in Calgary

Good evening from the first full day of this year’s Canadian Historical Association (CHA) Conference at Congress 2016. This year we’re on the University of Calgary (U of C) campus and I’ll be your Graduate Student Anglophone blogger for this year.

First, a bit about me. I’m a PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan focusing on trains and grains or to be more formal grain transportation history during the Pierre Trudeau-era and the associated environmental and human implications. As you might have guessed my interests lie primarily in Canadian, Environmental and Transportation history. Looking through this year’s program I saw a diverse array of panels that are of obvious interest to me and others that sound like they would provide me with a glimpse into a new area of scholarship. When I attend any conference I always try to find a balance between seeing panels that are within my areas of interest and trying those that might point me in new directions.

I arrived at Congress after having the opportunity to participate in NiCHE’s  CHESS program which was an intensive weekend of learning about bison around Banff National Park and the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. After registration with Congress, a process that included a tantalizing peak at the offerings from various publishers, I picked up my CHA program. Fortunately the CHESS group I was with included some U of C alumni who acted as tour guides for those of us who were new to campus.

CHESS participants arrive at Congress. From @anneriitta

CHESS participants arrive at Congress. Courtesy of @anneriitta

Sunday evening I looked at Andrea Eidinger’s great Beginner’s Guide to the CHA (if this is your first CHA definitely take a sec to check it out!) which also came with her recommendations for panels to see.

I like to tweet the panels I’m at so you can always scroll through my twitter feed (@triticum_red) but here’s a quick overview of the panels I saw today.

Monday morning I had an early start with a panel that started at 8:30 am. Thanks to the help of the Congress volunteers it was easy to find my way to Science A-13 and the morning’s first panel Limited Identities, Limited Loyalties: Western Canadian Agriculture, Exhibition, and Empire in the First World War. Will Pratt (University of Lethbridge) opened the panel discussing agricultural production on the Treaty 7 Reserves that included communal equipment and successful harvests. Shannon Murray (Calgary Stampede) followed with an examination of how the messaging of the Calgary Exhibition (yes, the famous Stampede wasn’t in Calgary for a time!) during the war years and Andrew McEwen (University of Calgary) closed the panel by showing the issues, including prices and transportation distances, surrounding the purchases of remounts in Canada. To me this was a great example of a panel were the presentations had obvious ties to each other so that the information from one presentation complimented other presentations.

I had wanted to also see Canadian History Blogging: A Conversation Between Editors and was lucky to find that attendees to that panel were live-tweeting it. Following the #CHASHC2016 hashtag was the closest I could get to being in two panels at once. For me, following #CHASHC2016 is a great way to find out about other sessions where there may be ideas or people who I want to try to follow up with.

Next up was the keynote address Memory and Mobility: Grandma’s Mahnomen, White Earth with Jean O’Brien (University of Minnesota). I think the sign of great talk is when the floor is opened for questions the audience needs a second to gather their courage to ask and then the questions come quickly. Judging by that metric this was definitely an excellent key note! O’Brien deftly intertwined her family’s personal history – as recorded by her Grandmother – with the larger narratives in USA history about Indigenous labour, dispossession, and mobility.  It was a reminder that family histories can be just as important as the “big” histories and that those family histories can speak to them.

Lunch was spent in the Congress social area with friends. As one would expect at lunch time the social areas was bustling with activity and I caught bits of a lot of conservations that were commenting on the morning’s presentations from many different associations. This was our lunch time conversation too along with a hearty dose of agonizing over what panels to see in the afternoon. We all wanted to make the 1:00 pm start so lunch was done quickly as we hurried back across to the Science A building. Having gone the same way in the morning the route was starting to feel a little familiar!

Having my own experience trying to request access to documents I really wanted to see Information Commissioner of Canada Suzanne Legault’s presentation. It did not disappoint! We got a clear overview of the recommended changes her office is suggesting to the Access Act. The Canadian Access to Information Act is considered the grandfather/mother of Access Acts. Greg Kealey (University of New Brunswick) and Bill Waiser (University of Saskatchewan) provided commentary on Legault’s talk and they both emphasized that access to information is critical not just for historians but for Canadians as a whole. Legault noted that there are public consultations on access to information happening now that need input. Bill Waiser reminded the audience that the CHA has been advocating on our behalf about access but it’s important that CHA members also raise their own voices to show support for better access. As Kealey pointed out access to information is important to democracy.

After that it was obvious that the best follow up would be Hot Docs: The Politics of Archives, Ethics, and Protocols with Steve Hewitt (University of Birmingham), Patrizia Gentile (Carleton University), Isabelle Perreault (Université d’Ottawa), Christabelle Sethna (University of Ottawa) and Marie-Claude Thifault (Université d’Ottawa) discussed archival documents they’ve worked with that have sensitive information or potentially upsetting revelations in them. It was a provocative panel and Sethna suggested that perhaps a best practices guide needs to be developed for how to work with declassified or sensitive documents.

Science A building at U of C where I spent a lot of the day.

Science A building at U of C where I spent a lot of the day.

I’m grateful to all the other CHA attendees who were tweeting from panels because the afternoon was filled with panels that I was curious about. Through twitter I got to see snippets of panels on Dominion Experimental Farms, Acadian Soldiers, Energy use in Canada, and Indigenous land use to name just a few examples.

If you want to see where I’m at during the day without waiting for the blog follow me @triticum_red. Cliopalooza is tomorrow evening and I hear it’s always fun. Until then I’m spending the last of the evening trying to pick tomorrow’s panels.

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One week later: a retrospective

Hello once again and welcome to the last instalment of my blog!

Firstly I would like to apologize for the tardiness of this final post. My trip to Winnipeg that came right off the heels of my participation at Congress was a hectic combination of air travel, archival adventures & mishaps, and long awaited family reunions. Writing this now, having been back in Ottawa for less than 24 hours, I am finally taking a moment to be retrospective about my experiences at Congress.

Thinking back to Day 3, my final round of panels seems to fall under the broad category of history education; another near & dear interest of mine. Why do and should we teach and learn history? How do and should we teach and learn it? These are the (relatively vague) questions that keep me up at night. And it is my interest in finding answers to these questions that stop me from ditching the historical discipline for greener, more lucrative pastures.

The eclectic group of panelists presenting at the panel Practicing the Discipline of History had some interesting responses to these questions. Though less concerned with history education per se, they had much to say in relation to how they personally practice “history” and how they believe others should or should not practice it themselves.

For example, Carleton University archivist Patti Harper encouraged a rapprochement between archivists and historians. Not only that, but she called for a renewed effort to once again problematize and historicize the role of the archive as a filter and gatekeeper of documents and materials and its role in the creation of historical narratives. Already somewhat familiar with the issues that she brought up, I could not have agreed more with Harper. That being said, I would go a step further and say that everyone, not just historians and archivists, should be concerned with understanding the archive as a political institution that has immense power over what sources are available for us to use. Going forward from this understanding, we are better placed to hold those who collect and guard these sources to account and to question their practices.

Self-described “Jill of all trades” Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail, while not as analytical as Harper, pushes us towards involving the public in our discipline’s endeavour to think critically about our work and practice. Though a good portion of her work as Edmonton’s third Historian Laureate involves using history as a form of light-hearted entertainment for residents of the city, she has attempted to incorporate a certain level of critical reflection into her many different community driven projects. In this way and in others she strives to create as many bridges as she can between residents and academia.

Why should history education research matter to historians?, which was put on by students involved with the History Education Network known as Then/Hier, looked directly at the field of history education. Though they study a varied set of topics and contexts, the panelists seem to agree that whether it’s at elementary or secondary school, Cégep or university, a heritage site or museum, history education in Canada could stand to be improved. What would this improvement look like?: A combination of creative teaching styles (by way of new media, stronger student participation and collaboration, etc.) and an emphasis on critical thinking (having both instructors and students actually think about how/why historical narratives are constructed and why they are teaching/learning about history in the first place). Cynthia Wallace-Casey for example encourages her students to deconstruct museums’ narratives and hold them to account not only for how they choose the stories that they tell or not, but also how they tell them. Using popular myths about feminism as a case study, Marie-Hélène Brunet pushes her students to challenge received knowledge about the past (from the media, family members, figures of authority) and think about history as a holistic and interconnected process as opposed to a set of separate and individual anecdotal facts. Another one of the main points running through all of the presentations was that that history education needs to be more than content; more than the date of confederation, the name of the first Prime Minister, and the one-sided story of Canadian state-building. This education instead needs to be about critical and lateral thinking, challenging authority and received knowledge, and actually practicing history for oneself.

Upon my return from lunch and before running back off to work I attended my last panel, History in the Classroom. Once again, teaching students critical thinking was an important focus of the discussion. Caroline-Isabelle Caron’s presentation was particularly poignant in this regard. Discussing a fourth-year seminar course that she taught in 2014 called “History Vs. Pseudo-History,” Caron underlined just how much work is left to be done by educators prior to (and especially during) students’ university careers. Through the experience of teaching this course Caron discovered that her students, mostly in the fourth and final year of their history degrees, could still not properly differentiate between the pseudo-history expounded in popular literature & television programs and the factual history created through a combination of holistic research, deliberation, and rigorous attention to the sources. Caron went on to discuss a host of reasons why this is horribly problematic and listed an array of skills that students should be acquiring to remedy this, yet ended on a somewhat bleak note by stating that she doesn’t really know how to fix the problem.

Of course there’s no easy solution, though the insights provided by the many panellists that I had the pleasure of listening to will be a start. Looking back at Day 3 and the rest of Congress, I know that the many lessons I have taken away will be directly applicable to my future work, both academic and professional.

Should you be reading this and have not had the chance to attend Congress, I highly recommend you do so the next chance you get. I promise you won’t regret it.

This is Brad signing off!

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Congress 2015: First Impressions Part II

Any good sequel has twice the action, twice the romance, and twice the fun… Just not this time.

Day two’s post will be a bit shorter than the last because I had to run back into work after lunch. Much like the second Subway sandwich I’ve bought this week, I had to cut my day at Congress in half. That being said, there is still plenty to chew on and digest this time around (I hope you are cringing to my poor attempts at food humour as much as I am).

Half-awake but bright-eyed & bushy-tailed, I coincidently got to spend my first panel, Contesting Indigenous Schooling: Education History, Historiography, and Interdisciplinary Methodologies, in the company of my academic supervisor. We both agreed firstly that 8:30 is too early to commence an academic conference; secondly, that despite the ungodly hour many people showed up anyway; and finally, that I had better hand in my slightly overdue research proposal before the next time we see each other. Let’s just say I might just have to avoid certain panels tomorrow…

Though they may be studying extremely different places, times, processes, events, and people, the first set of panelists all agreed on the importance of looking at the history of indigenous schooling widely, in a more concerted fashion, and from a multitude of angles. As well, they agreed that educational instruction, along with the kinds of encounters, exchanges, violence, and adaptations that went along with it, is a fundamental part of Canadian colonialism. Whether by the containment of perceived indigenous violence through behavioural regulation or by pidgin and writing development to facilitate communication and further missionary efforts, educational instruction has been an intrinsic and insidious part of the theft of indigenous land, culture, and lives in northern North America. One insight that will really stick with me is that the “civilizing” practices of this system of schooling had long been held up by colonizers to demonstrate the supposed benevolence of their colonial project (at least in relation to the United States) and by extension legitimize their theft of land and downplay the brutality that accompanied it. So while the TRC and many others before it have been demonstrating to the Canadian public the absurdity of the discourse of benevolence, we should of course remain vigilant and critical of contemporary discourses that promote the continued appropriation of land and, as the Globe and Mail headline held aloft at the panel stated, any further cultural genocide.

Following this, I attended Quebec City in the 19th Century: A forgotten Site of Interethnic Contact and Conflict. Here I enjoyed learning about the complexities of the violence taking place in Quebec City, whether between Sailors & Crimps or Catholics & members of the Salvation Army. Truly intriguing was Alex Tremblay’s research question “Existe-t-il vraiment plusieurs bourgeoisies à Québec?” Surveying their multiple interactions, comingling, and commonalities, Tremblay attempted to determine whether or not various socio-economic elites in Quebec transcended their linguistic and religious divisions enough that we might describe them as just one single “bourgeoisie.” Cracking inside jokes in Latin, attending the same clubs and sports, and even marrying one another’s sisters, male elites in Quebec often had more in common with each other than they seemed to have with their poorer brethren, despite the anglo- / francophone & Protestant / Catholic divides.

These panels and presentations not only had me reflecting on their content but also on the role of the historian in interrogating the ignored, remembering the forgotten, and challenging long-held historiographical practices. Not just that, they also had me considering the role of conferences in stimulating conversation, cooperation, and collaboration.

The indigenous schooling panel seems to have been the result of efforts on the part of a couple of the panellists to come together and encourage a broader reflection within the CHA on the history and themes that their cumulative research brings up. And in the context of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s closing ceremonies (“a beginning” as opposed to an ending) and the release of its final report, not many topics could be more timely and pertinent than these panellists’ collective work.

The Quebec City panel was of the same kind of mould. It would appear that the panel’s leader, Donald Fyson, is currently supervising the research of the other two. So, using Congress as their stage, the three of them worked together to shine a light on what they see as a neglected part of Canadian history. It wasn’t hard to see within this group from Université Laval the intergenerational influences that occur been supervisor/supervisee. I could tell that Fyson had left his mark on the research approaches and interests of his students, but also that he had learnt from them in the process as well. And isn’t that what Congress is about? Challenging and learning from one another, old or young, tenure or MA student? Funny enough, the panel facilitator & commentator happened to have been Fyson’s old MA supervisor years ago. After sharing some playful criticism and banter at the end of the presentations, the two acknowledged that they have been crossing swords ever since they first met.

In light of our earlier conversation this morning (and many prior conversations) I have a feeling that my own supervisor and I are in for the long haul too.

I look forward to telling you about my last and fullest day of Congress tomorrow. It will be nice to get off of the conference diet of Subway and croissants.

Given that I’ll be heading out to Winnipeg on a work trip tomorrow night, my last post might be a little late (and probably written on a plane). Please stay tuned!

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“What room was that panel in again?”: Public History, Subway lunches, and Networking at Congress, 2015

Hello one and all! The name’s Brad Wiebe and over the next couple of days I will be walking you through my experience of Congress 2015!

To start off I’ll let you know a little about myself. I’ve just finished the first of two years in Carleton University’s MA in Public History program and am completing a summer research internship at one of Ottawa’s many national museums. My interests lie in Canadian & Aboriginal history, so as you’ll soon see, many of my panel choices reflect my academic background. And after perusing this year’s programme, chock full of presentations on topical, public-centered issues facing the discipline and on controversial institutions like the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, I got extra excited about what will be the largest and longest conference I have attended to date. It’s like the program committee knew I was coming!

 

Opting for the extra sleep, I unfortunately missed the GSC’s social event at the Royal Oak. Although, I did hear through the grapevine that fun was had, so I am thoroughly jealous of those who made it out.

Already being in the city and familiar with the uOttawa campus, with little time to spare I rode my bike over to sign in at the Desmarais building and catch my first panel Recordkeeping/Archives, colonizers/colonized: creating/using records about indigenous peoples. Having to say good morning to all the fellow Carleton grad students I ran into, like any good conference attendee I was very nearly late to the first presentation.

Maybe it’s because I’m not a morning person or maybe it’s because I find the legacy of colonialism in Canada and the problems associated with bureaucracy so infinitely exasperating, but the very first presentation, “The Duty to Remember, the Right to be Forgotten: Records of the Independent Assessment Process,” at this panel left me extremely frustrated. Though Ry Moran of the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation and his colleagues appear to be doing their utmost to ensure that whatever action taken in regard to the documents created under the auspices of the IAP (preservation or destruction) respects moral and ethical obligations to both Residential School survivors and the historical record, their current legal problems seem like they could have been easily avoided. I had to turn to my friend at the end of the panel and rhetorically ask whether the trouble of now having to ask survivors for their consent to preserve the record of their experiences could have just been prevented by simply asking the survivors for this consent when they were first interviewed. Alas, as a wise man once said, hindsight is 20/20.

Following this was Dean Oliver’s keynote address Isn’t all history public? Knowledge, wisdom and utility in the great age. Echoing much of what we’ve discussed throughout this year in our Public History courses at Carleton, I really appreciated and agreed with Oliver’s framing of historians as storytellers and especially his focus on the visitor of museums and the need for these institutions to partner with and listen to their audiences. I wholeheartedly agree that “Who is this for? What purpose does it serve?” should be questions that we all ask of our own work and projects every single day.

 

Hungry after all of the intellectual stimulation, I crossed Laurier Avenue over to Subway to have lunch with a few other panel-goers. Discussing the programme and the panels we wished to attend over the next few days, we got into an oft-repeated argument over the practice of naming historical articles, books, and presentations; an argument I’m hoping you might weigh in on.

As it stands most historical literature follows this title format:

“Cheeky, interesting quote from one of the authors’ sources to get you hooked”: A few categories of analysis, found in a particular place, around these particular dates.

Just a few presentation titles from the programme that match this format are:

  • “Sexual Abstinence is Every Soldier’s Duty!”: Prostitution, Disease and Nationalism in First World War Germany
  • “Indians on White Lines”: Land, Law, and Trapline Registration in Northern British Columbia, 1925-1945
  • “The counterfeit principles of a free enterprise system”: Roots, Region, and Resistance in the Sydney Steel Crisis of 1967

My friend (who will remain unnamed to protect their identity) finds the trend unnecessary and uninspired, whereas I love it. What do you think?

 

Next up was (Un)disciplining Human Rights History at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Having already visited the museum this past winter I did not learn much about the exhibits and galleries themselves that I did not know already know, but it was very helpful hearing about the museum’s interpretative practices and processes from the curators and researchers themselves. With its ideas-based format and user-centred experience, not to mention the controversy surrounding its content and construction, the CMHR is an innovative and problematic addition to our collection of national museums and an absolute must-see (I promise I’m not just saying that because I’m from Winnipeg).

Between Dean Oliver and the presenters from the CMHR, it would appear as though public historians cannot agree on whether or not visitors follow the walls of an exhibit or if they’re attracted directly to the center of an exhibition space!

I wish I had been thinking of this during my next stop, the Public History Speed Networking event, because I’m sure I could have gotten some interesting answers from the diverse set of public historians I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting. A governmental historian, private consultant, herald, international advocate for academia, and professor gave me such career advice as how to: cold-call potential employers for jobs; develop an effective and unique gimmick; game the computer software that filters government job applicants; embellish personal experiences on a resume; and find the people with the skills that I lack and convince them to do my bidding. I am both encouraged and disparaged about the inevitable job hunt that will follow my 2016 graduation…

With the day wrapping up I had a beer and appetizers with some friends at the Royal Oak and let the day’s presentations and activities sink in. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

If you’d like to tweet at me during the rest of Congress about your own experiences, go ahead and follow me @ClioExposed.

Finally, I’d like to thank the GSC for allowing me to attend Congress and blog about my time here.

Until tomorrow night’s blog, stay classy fellow CHA-ers!

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No French This Year (2015) / Blogue unilingue en 2015.

ENGLISH FOLLOWS.

Pour la troisième année consécutive, le Comité des étudiant(e)s diplômé(e)s (CÉD) de la Société historique du Canada (SHC) travaille d’arrache-pied afin de trouver un volontaire capable de combler le poste temporaire de blogueur ou blogueuse francophone durant la réunion annuelle. En 2013, on a demandé au webmaitre d’incarner ce rôle n’ayant pas reçu d’intérêt pour le poste. L’année suivante, toujours sans volontaire francophone, le CÉD a recruté quelqu’un qui a heureusement accepté de présenter cette perspective à ses membres. En 2015, l’appel a été lancé ce printemps et encore une fois, personne ne s’est porté volontaire. Nous offrons pourtant de rembourser les frais d’inscription au Congrès et nous savons que le côté anglophone de la médaille se porte fort bien.

Qu’est-ce qui cloche? Quel est le danger d’affirmer l’unilinguisme de notre comité en reconnaissant que l’objectif de trouver une personne francophone par année n’a jamais réellement été réalisé? Lorsque cet unilinguisme perdure dans la profession de l’historien, quelles en sont les conséquences sur sa production intellectuelle?

Il est grand temps que la relève discute de l’état des choses. La réunion de travail du CÉD (le 2 juin à midi DMS 1120) serait possiblement un bel espace pour poursuivre cette discussion. Au plaisir de vous y voir.

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For the third year in a row, the Graduate Students’ Committee (GSC) of the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) tried as best it could to find a francophone volunteer blogger that would share their experience of the annual meeting on our blog. In 2013, we asked the Webmaster to fill in, since no one expressed interest in the role. The following year, again with only Anglophone candidates for the position, the GSC recruited a person that kindly accepted to represent the francophone viewpoint for the meeting. This year, the call for bloggers was sent in the spring, and once again, while many people expressed the desire and ability to blog in English, none came forward for the French position. When we contrast this to the increasing number of volunteers for the English position, we have to ask ourselves: what’s going on?

What is the danger in affirming the evident unilingual nature of our committee in light of this reality?

Future professional historians of Canada need to engage with this question and discover both the root of this problem and what it means for our intellectual production. The GSC’s business meeting, (June 2 at noon in DMS 1120), could be a great space for the genesis of this much needed discussion. Join us.

EDITED TO ADD: Were you selected by our co-presidents to be the Anglophone blogger this year? Please email pigeone (at) yorku dot ca ASAP for your invitation to this blog, and apologies for the mis/communication issues.

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