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History News

Susan Nance on Ringling Brothers' Centre for Elephant Conservation

This week Dr. Susan Nance is interviewed in a piece on VICE, "Ringling Bros. Elephant Sanctuary is Hardly a Paradise." The story explains the nature of and controversy over the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circuses' decision to retire the company elephants and keep them at a facility in Florida in which the animals will be bred with artificial insemination and employed in cancer research. 

Matthew Hayday Interview Marathon on Prime Ministers, Post-politics

matthew haydayOn Wednesday, Dr. Matthew Hayday spoke with eleven different CBC Radio One shows, from Cape Breton to Whitehorse! On the shows, Matthew discussed the post-politics careers of various 20th century Canadian Prime Ministers.

Here's a sample from On the Coast, CBC Vancouver - Matthew's interview is at 2:06:00

Tourism in Canadian History: Alan Gordon, Susan Nance featured in Histoire sociale/Social History

book cover for social history


This June, Alan Gordon and Susan Nance are featured in a special issue of Histoire sociale/Social History on tourism in Canada with articles on pioneer vilages as living history museums, and on horses of the 1920s Calgary Stampede, respectively.

The special issue is the result of a Fall 2014 workshop on Canadian tourism history sponsored by Jack Little and Ben Bradley, held in Vancouver BC. Other departmental participants included our own Linda Mahood, who featured some of her forthcoming research on hitchhiking and youth cultures, and Kevin James, who delivered a keynote speech on the culture hotels and inns in 19th century Ireland.

get the postcard .pdf

Rural Diary Archive Radio Show Summer Schedule

History graduate students in HIST6280 - Canada: Community and Identity, an MA course taught by Dr. Catharine Wilson, have each created a half-hour radio show on CFRU Radio 93.3 FM featuring a diarist from the Rural Diary Archive website. See the schedule below!

The Rural Diary Archive website is funded by the Francis and Ruth Redelmeier Professorship in Rural History. For more, visit the Rural Diary Archive

The project has also been featured in The Ontarion


Thursday June 2, 1:00-2:00 pm 
“Rural Diary Archive: James Carpenter, Lambton County, 1880-84," by Joanne Ryan

Thursday June 9, 1:00-2:00 pm 
“Rural Diary Archive: Samson Howell, Brant County, 1868-69," by Karley McLinden

Thursday June 16, 1:00-2:00 pm 
“Rural Diary Archive: James Bowman, Guelph, World War I," by Kyle Pritchard

Thursday June 23, 1:00-2:00 pm 
“Rural Diary Archive: John Phenix, Simcoe County, 1896-97," by Marissa Gareau

Thursday June 30, 1:00-2:00 pm 
“Rural Diary Archive: Elizabeth Simpson, Dufferin County, 1878-82," by Nicholas VanExan

Thursday July 7, 1:00-2:00 pm 
“Rural Diary Archive: William Standen, Simcoe County, 1879," by Jodey Hodgins

Thursday July14, 1:00-2:00 pm 
“Rural Diary Archive: Matilda Hill, Wellington County, 1884-85," by Katrina Gale

History Alumna Dr. Cathryn Spence - New Job at VIU

Dr. Cathryn Spence (MA '06) has just accepted a teaching position at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, BC. After her time with us, Cathryn earned a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, then came back to Guelph as a SSHRC-finded post-doctoral researcher here in the Department. At VIU, Cathryn will be teaching medieval and early modern history.

This past February, Cathryn also published her first monograph, Women, Credit, and Debt in Early Modern Scotland (Manchester University Press, 2016). Cathryn's research is the first full-length consideration of women's economic roles in early modern Scottish towns. Drawing on tens of thousands of cases entered into burgh court litigation between 1560 and 1640 in Edinburgh, Dundee, Haddington and Linlithgow, she explores how Scottish women navigated their courts and their communities, especially as merchants, merchandisers, producers and sellers of ale, landladies, moneylenders and servants. 

Congratulations from all of us!

Catherine Carstairs in The Guardian on the Fluoridation Debate

image of protestorsThis week Dr. Catherine Carstairs is interviewed on the history and politics of water fluoridation:

... Even the history of water fluoridation is a toxic subject, as Catherine Carstairs, a professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, recently discovered. Carstairs was taken aback by the “fierceness” of the responses to her paper in the American Journal of Public Health last year. It was attacked as “an attempt to reignite and legitimise the unsubstantiated claims of anti-fluoridationists”. The journal’s editor was forced to defend his decision to publish “an article that does not unconditionally support community water fluoridation or its glorious history”, as well as the journal’s right “to publish strong pieces of research even when they do not fit well with our preconceived ideas."

"You don’t usually get this kind of attention as an historian,” says Carstairs. “It was like, how dare you say anything against water fluoridation.”

Social media has inured us to the bloodsport of “calling out” or “shutting down” opponents whose views are unorthodox or contrarian. But the people calling out Carstairs and Peckham were university academics, not bedroom-residing teenagers.

Tooth decay is the most widespread chronic disease...

Read the rest of the story at The Guardian

Time Travel: Alan Gordon's New Book is Here!

Congratulations to our own Dr. Alan Gordon for his new publication with UBC Press, Time Travel: Tourism and the Rise of the Living History Museum in Mid-Twentieth-Century Canada (2016)

from the jacket:
In the 1960s, Canadians could step through time to eighteenth-century trading posts or nineteenth-century pioneer towns. These living history museums promised authentic reconstructions of the past but, as Time Travel shows, they revealed more about mid-twentieth-century interests and perceptions of history than they reflected historical fact. The post-war appetite for commercial tourism led to the development of living history museums. They became important components of economic growth, especially as part of government policy to promote regional economic diversity and employment. Time Travel considers these museums in their historical context, revealing how Canadians understood the relationship between their history and the material world.

McDougall on Cold War Soccer in the East

Our own Dr. Alan McDougall is interviewed this week at the New Books Network. In The People’s Game: Football, State and Society (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Alan McDougall looks at football from the top-down and bottom-up: as a tool of the state, as forming regional identities in East Germany and in a reunified Germany, and as a popular pastime. Although characterized by mediocrity compared to other sports in East Germany, McDougall demonstrates the ways in which football gave people a means of expressing identities that were separated from and even opposed to that endorsed by the state.

read the rest of the story at the New Books Network.

History Society - Membership & Arts Week Archive Tour


History Society 

Final meeting of the semester - March 22nd

The History Society is having it's final meeting of the year on March 22nd at 5:30pm in Mackinnon 307. If you're interested in being involved in the History Society for 2016-17, please come out! There will be opportunities to plan for next year's events, and if you're interested, to serve on the executive.

The History Students Society has also organized an Archives Tour as part of Arts Week on Monday, March 21st.  Get the poster .pdf


Gregory Klages New Book is Here!

Dr. Gregory Klages, a long-time instrutor for the Department on our main campus and at the Guelph-Humber campus, has just published a new book. Published with Toronto's Dundurn Press, The Many Deaths of Tom Thomson: Separating Fact from Fiction weighs in on the mysterious death of a well-known painter associated with the famed "Group of Seven" artists.

from the jacket:  How did Tom Thomson die in the summer of 1917?

Was he shot by poachers, or by a German-American draft dodger? Did a blow from a canoe paddle knock him unconscious and into the water? Was he fatally injured in a drunken fight? Did he end his life out of fear of being forced to marry his pregnant girlfriend?

Commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the death of the renowned Canadian landscape painter, The Many Deaths of Tom Thomson offers an authoritative review of the historical record, as well as some theories you might not have thought of in a hundred years. Cultural historian Gregory Klages surveys first-hand testimony and archival records about Thomson’s tragic demise, attempting to sort fact from legend in the death of this Canadian icon.