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  • The Sound of History: A Chronicle of Captain Eddie McKay

    University of Toronto Press commemorates 100 years since the end of the First World War by curating a selection of new and recent books that remind us of our nation’s history, courage, and sacrifice. Notable amongst these titles is One in a Thousand: The Life and Death of Captain Eddie McKay, Royal Flying Corps by Graham Broad.

    Broad’s lively chronicle of Eddie McKay, a varsity athlete at Western University, who flew with the Royal Flying Corps, doubles as an engaging meditation upon the historical process. The biography ends with four unsolved events in McKay’s life. These mysterious tales remind us that even the most detailed account of a person’s life is never complete.

    We’re proud to present a recording of Broad reading perhaps the most dramatic of these tales, “The Woman.” The short mystery has been divided into several instalments. Like the radio serials that were all the rage in McKay’s time, we will post a new audio track every day leading up to Remembrance Day – so you can enjoy the sound of history.

    Introduction

    Part One: The Woman

    Part Two: Who Was Maud Palmer?

    Part Three: An Unexpected Possibility

    Part Four: A Case of Mistaken Identity

    Part Five: The Mystery Returns

    Part Six: It's Not Impossible

    Coda

  • Witches, Charms & Rituals: Top Titles With Spirit For Your Halloween List

    Trick or treat? That depends on your reading list...

    This week, we’re counting down to Halloween with spirited titles on everything from ghosts to witchcraft to Canadian horror films. We've rounded up some of our favourites – just in case you want a couple of treats for your shelf.

    Ghostly Landscapes: Film, Photography, and the Aesthetics of Haunting in Contemporary Spanish Culture

    “To speak of ghosts is to always speak of a loss that returns. Loss can tell us something not only about the distant past but also how we live in the present and imagine the future.”

    Revisit twentieth-century Spanish history through the camera lens. Ghostly Landscapes reveals how haunting serves to mourn loss, redefine space and history, and confirm the significance of lives and stories previously hidden or erased. A significant re-evaluation of fascist and post-fascist Spanish visual culture from Patricia Keller.

    The Canadian Horror Film: Terrors of the Soul

    Welcome to a wasteland of docile damnation and prosaic pestilence where savage beasts and mad scientists rub elbows with pasty suburbanites, grumpy seamen, and baby-faced porn stars.

    Highlighting more than a century of Canadian horror filmmaking, The Canadian Horror Film offers a series of thought-provoking reflections that promises to guide both scholars and enthusiasts alike. Unearth the terrors hidden in the recesses of the Canadian psyche from editors Gina Freitag and André Loiselle.

    Magic in Medieval Manuscripts

    Exploring the place of magic in the medieval world through an exploration of images and texts in British Library manuscripts, Sophie Page reveals a fascination with the points of contact between this and the celestial and infernal realms. Find magicians, wisewomen, witches, charms, and rituals in Magic in Medieval Manuscripts.

    Ghostly Paradoxes: Modern Spiritualism and Russian Culture in the Age of Realism

    “The spiritualist trend played a significant role in the ideological and social life of the realist age. The reality of the soul was a major issue of the time. Physicists, physiologists, theologians, mystics, and, of course, writers all took part in this debate.”

    Surprisingly, nineteenth-century Russia was consumed with a passion for activities such as séances and summoning the spirits. Ghostly Paradoxes examines the relationship between spiritualist beliefs and the mindset of the Russian Age of Realism. Newly released in paperback – now that’s a treat!

    Awful Parenthesis: Suspension and the Sublime in Romantic and Victorian Poetry

    “Suspension rejects the impulse to cling to the known and the knowable.”

    Whether the rapt trances of Romanticism or the corpse-like figures that confounded Victorian science and religion, Awful Parenthesis reveals that depictions of bodies in suspended animation are a response to an expanding, incoherent world in crisis. Examining various aesthetics of suspension in the works of poets such as Coleridge, Shelley, Tennyson, and Christina Rossetti, Anne McCarthy shares important insights into the nineteenth-century fascination with the sublime.

    European Magic and Witchcraft: A Reader

    “Those who have picked up this book are about to fly through a mirror, back through time, and look down upon an unfamiliar terrain.”

    What’s really behind our fascination with magic and witchcraft? Editor Martha Rampton demonstrates how understandings of magic changed over time, and how these were influenced by factors such as religion, science, and law. By engaging with a full spectrum of source types, learn how magic was understood through the medieval and early modern eras.

    Astrology in Medieval Manuscripts 

    Medieval astrologers, though sometimes feared to be magicians in league with demons, were usually revered by scholars whose ideas and practices were widely respected. Explore the dazzling complexity of western astrology and its place in society, as revealed by a wealth of illustrated manuscripts from the British Library’s rich medieval collections.

  • New Book Broadens the Lens for Teaching About Gendered Violence

    With violence against women increasingly under the spotlight, we invited authors Chris Bruckert and Tuulia Law to discuss their new book, Women and Gendered Violence in Canada: An Intersectional Approach.

    Contemporary feminist actions – everything from Slut Walks to the #MeToo movement – are drawing renewed attention to the ongoing urgency of violence against women. This is certainly encouraging. All around us we see feminists ‒ socially engaged, mindful of intersectionality, and critical of essentialist presentations – build on the work of earlier socialist, working class, Indigenous, and racialized scholars and activists. But sometimes it feels like we keep having the same conversations, leading us to wonder: what has really changed?

    In Women and Gendered Violence in Canada, we balance celebrating the significant progress made ‒ certainly it would be unthinkable for today’s parliamentarians to laugh and jeer as they did in 1982 when Margaret Mitchell raised the issue of battered women in the House of Commons – with acknowledging that much remains to be done. Consider, for example, the compelling, emotion-evoking, and all too familiar representation of gendered violence ‒ a lone (often youthful and white) woman, bruised, dejected, looking away/down or staring forward with terror-filled eyes. This image, though deployed to admirable effect, obscures much – context, agency, resistance, diversity ‒ at the same time as it limits the frame to interpersonal violence (by individual men). Endeavouring to expand beyond these parameters, Women and Gendered Violence in Canada attends to a range of inter-related and mutually reinforcing sources, forms, and sites of gendered violence.

    Women and Gendered Violence in Canada mobilizes the concepts of intersectionality and interlocking systems of oppression to unpack the ways violence inflicted on women is rooted in social, political, and economic systems that work through and with patriarchy, including colonialism, neoliberalism, capitalism, and national and global economies. From this point of departure it follows that women’s vulnerability to, and experience of, violence is shaped by intersecting aspects of their identities, social location, and negotiation (or rejection) of gender norms. Our use of the term gendered rather than gender-based violence reflects our conceptual framing; while gender is the unifying thread, the diverse instances and forms of violence women experience are rooted in a multiplicity of factors intersecting with gender. This allows us to include violence to which women are vulnerable that does not originate in gender but is a more indirect outcome of gender inequity and scripts (e.g., nurses’ experience of violence from patients and their families, violence for which they are routinely blamed by supervisors). It also broadens the scope of perpetration beyond individual men to violence committed by agents of the state (e.g., the neglect and abuse of Indigenous women by police), by women (e.g., domestic workers at the hands of their employers), by co-workers and customers in the workplace (e.g., the verbal violence endured by call-centre workers), indirectly as the result of policies (e.g., austerity measures that culminate in ill health), and emanating from the criminal justice system (e.g., the deployment of psychotropic medications to regulate incarcerated women).

    At the same time we hold that recognizing gendered violence as embedded in our social fabric and acknowledging the complex ways it ripples through women’s lives is not tantamount to ascribing women the master status of victim. All too often the many ways women have contested, challenged, and subverted that which would oppress them is written out of history (an erasure that is, of course, another manifestation of gendered violence). In Women and Gendered Violence in Canada we pay homage to our resilient and brave foremothers – the Indigenous women who, in the face of violent assimilation efforts, kept oral history alive and safeguarded traditional teachings; the generations of Black women who fought tirelessly against segregated public spaces and services; the women garment industry workers who stood shoulder to shoulder with their union brothers to contest exploitative labour practices. We also highlight and celebrate the many faces of contemporary women’s resistance – from everyday acts, to subtle (and not so subtle) calling out of sexism, to clever social media campaigns, to dramatic protests ‒ simultaneously drawing attention to the ways intersecting identities and interlocking systems of oppression constrain (or facilitate) the tactics and strategies women can mobilize. For us, foregrounding individual and collective action, and the limits of what is possible, is part of a larger commitment to grounding the analysis in women’s lives and experiential knowledges. To that end we also spotlight first-person accounts throughout the book.

    Women and Gendered Violence in Canada is organized to reflect the progression of an undergraduate course while providing pedagogical flexibility. The introductory section lays out the conceptual and contextual framing for the remainder of the text. The following three sections (each with three chapters) are organized around types of violence: interpersonal, workplace, and structural. In turn, each of the substantive chapters highlights specific elements/manifestations of gendered violence. We have endeavoured to bring cohesion to the collection not only through consistent engagement with the contextual and conceptual framing presented in the introductory section but also via recurring themes that cut across the chapters, including: historical context; resistance, subversion, and agency; the impact of neoliberalism; critical consideration of criminal justice solutions and protectionist policy; reflections on feminist approaches; consideration of the dialectic relationship of myths, social judgement, and state responses; and the foregrounding of experiential evidence. Throughout, we draw on rich Canadian scholarship, illustrated using examples from regions across the country, and put the focus firmly on our unique legal and policy contexts. Inevitably this means harsh light is shed on the ways structural inequality and bias manifest in, for example, anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, and ongoing colonialism. It also means some beloved national myths ‒ multiculturalism, meritocracy, post-racism ‒ are challenged.

    In our experience, today’s students welcome the opportunity for critical engagement. They also welcome the opportunity to see themselves in the material they study. To that end we self-consciously sought to ensure the book feels relevant to university-aged students by examining topics they encounter in their daily lives (e.g., sexism on campus, routine intrusions on the street, school dress codes, cyber bullying); this helps to render the links between everyday occurrences, social structures, and gendered violence visible and positions readers to appreciate the ways we are all caught up in systems that create the conditions of possibility for gendered violence.

    Like teachers everywhere we dream of classrooms that are dynamic learning environments filled with engaged students as excited about the material as we are. All too often our experience falls short; we find ourselves trying to lay the groundwork with little opportunity (or time) for nuanced engagement to manifest. In writing this book we sought to make theories accessible through application, as well as to introduce students to key concepts, pivotal ideas, and foundational knowledge upon which instructors can build to make the material fresh and timely. After all, in the perpetually-shifting terrain in which gendered violence occurs there are (sadly) always emerging issues to explore: a new provincial government that promises to revitalize neoliberal policies, a novel and exciting (or depressing) social media campaign, a pivotal court ruling. In this way the book can be useful for educators who are interested in integrating active learning and student-centred pedagogy into their classrooms through exercises and activities that facilitate deep learning. To that end, we included a suggested activity at the end of each chapter that teachers may wish to use or adapt. The last activity asks readers to consider how their thoughts have evolved since beginning the text. This reflects our (admittedly lofty) goal of contributing to what we are seeing all around us ‒ contemporary feminists (and others interested in social justice) taking on gendered violence, stubborn stereotypes, and tired tropes in creative and innovative ways.

    Chris Bruckert is Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa, and Tuulia Law is Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Science at York University. To find out more about their new book Women and Gendered Violence in Canada: An Intersectional Approach, click here.

  • An Interview between the CJH/ACH and Kate M. Burlingham

    Photo of Kate Burlingham

    Kate M. Burlingham is an expert in US foreign relations and global history, and an assistant professor of history at California State University, Fullerton. Her article, “From Hearing to Heresy: The Temporary Slavery Commission, the Congregational Church, and the Foundations of Anti-Colonial Organizing in Angola,” appeared in the most recent issue of the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire, a themed issue discussing New Histories of Twentieth-Century Decolonization.

    We asked Dr. Burlingham what prompted her to pursue a career in history.

    “Throughout much of my early schooling, I had excellent history teachers. In high school, we took frequent field trips to the Boston Public Library to comb through microfilm. Those were experiences I loved and that shaped my course decisions when I arrived at college. It helped to be surrounded by beautiful libraries; I grew up in Cambridge MA at a time when anyone could walk into the Harvard libraries to do research or study. I also grew up in a family that valued history as a field of study and as a way to understand the present.”

    Dr. Burlingham notes that this is not always the case. “As a professor, I’m often having to ‘sell’ the major for the skills it gives you, regardless if students intend to pursue a career in history. That was never a justification I had to make.”

    Dr. Burlingham told us that her historical interests are wide-ranging, but she is particularly interested in the actions of Americans outside of the United States and the sometimes unexpected results of these actions. “[T]his [interest] really began in graduate school when I observed that I was the only American historian taking classes in non-western history. For example, most of my colleagues in African history courses who weren’t Africanists were Europeanists or from other disciplines. Given the role of the US in the world, I think it is imperative that US historians also be compelled to take global history and area studies courses.” These classroom experiences made her curious as to how the US looked to outsiders. “Such a perspective,” she explained, “has allowed me to move in and out of the categories historians usually use to label themselves. For me, it makes things more interesting because I’m constantly learning from a wide body of scholars who aren’t always talking to each other but should be.”

    Dr. Burlingham’s article in the CJH/ACH examines the importance of Congregational Missions and Mission schools in creating a political network in Angola that became central to the nation’s independence movement. She notes, however, that this was not the intent of the Congregational Mission. “Missionaries, at least at this early date, were not discussing the end of colonial order but rather its reform. It’s not until decades later that you get a post-WWII generation of missionaries who have more ‘revolutionary’ ideas about the end of European colonialism and even then, often for practical reasons, they tended to be relatively cautious in calling for an end to the colonialism.”

    Another key aspect to the narrative told in “From Hearing to Heresy” is the Report on Employment of Native Labor in Portuguese Africa, also known as the Ross Report. This report was presented to the League of Nations’ Temporary Slavery Commission and exposed the inhumane forced labour policies of Portuguese Angola to the growing international community. We asked Dr. Burlingham what brought her to the Ross Report.

    “I came across references to the Ross Report when I was doing research for my dissertation in Portugal and Angola on the larger history of the Congregational Missions in Angola. The Report itself, and references to it, linger in official Portuguese government correspondence for years after it happened. I think for government officials it demonstrated to them all the things they feared would come from Protestant missionary work in Angola [and] so was a useful reference point for them to come back to over and over.”

    Portugal’s reaction to the report, and their subsequent embarrassment on the international stage, prompted them to react violently in Angola. The state blamed the Congregational Missions and Protestant Angolans for the report and set out to diminish the missions’ influence and presence. Asked if she thought there was any way to avoid the heavily nationalistic response Portugal had to the Report, Dr. Burlingham replied, “That’s hard to say with any certainty but I’d be inclined to say no. At the moment when discussions in the League of Nations were occurring there is extreme European concern that the League would become an extra-national power that would dictate what should happen within nations’ domestic affairs. It’s that kind of fear that eventually kept the United States out of the League. Add to that concern, the image of a rising US superpower and a decline in European hegemony, of which Portugal owned a smaller piece at this point, and you have a recipe for a nationalist backlash.” She added that it is also possible that Portugal was “doubtful whether other European powers would come to their rescue or if they would use them as a sacrificial lamb on the path toward trying to convince the world that colonialism was truly humanitarian.”

    Kate M. Burlingham’s article, “From Hearing to Heresy: The Temporary Slavery Commission, the Congregational Church, and the Foundations of Anti-Colonial Organizing in Africa,” is available FREE to read for a limited time: https://doi.org/10.3138/cjh.ach.52.3.02.

  • Marking Ten years of UNDRIP in Indigenous Historical Perspectives

    Written by guest blogger Mary Jane Logan McCallum.

    I was invited to write this blog in celebration of International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, August 9th. August 9th was chosen for this commemoration because on that day, in 1982, the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights held its first meeting.  This event did not make it into public memory; indeed, until last week, I did not know that International Day of the World’s Indigenous People even existed. In this blog, I want to use it as an entry point for contemplating recent Indigenous history. This year’s celebration theme honours the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), adopted by the General Assembly on September 13th, 2007. While UNDRIP made a lot of sense to Indigenous people here, Canada did not sign UNDRIP without qualification until May 10th, 2016.

    Critical and evocative moments in modern Indigenous history coincide with this decade, 2007–2017. For example, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, implemented September 19th, 2007, included a number of individual and collective measures to address the legacies of residential schools including the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Over the years that followed, the Commission studied the history of the Indian Residential School system, Indian policy, and their long-term impacts.  It also produced an incredible archive of Indigenous history and its recommendations, in part informed by UNDRIP, have inspired many historians like myself, in our work.

    Over the years that followed, the Commission studied the history of the Indian Residential School system, Indian policy, and their long-term impacts. It also produced an incredible archive of Indigenous history and its recommendations, in part informed by UNDRIP, have inspired many historians like myself, in our work.

    Halfway through UNDRIP’s 10-year history, in November 2012, one of the most significant waves of activism in recent North American history, the Idle No More movement, was initiated by Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdam and Jessica Gordon, and quickly taken up by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across Canada and beyond.  Unlike the TRC, the Idle No More movement, and quite a lot of the writing and teaching that arose out of it, often turned away from the state.  It described and analyzed urban and rural racism in Canada, Indigenous principles of stewardship and sovereignty in cases where oil and gas pipelines threatened water and land, the vulnerabilities face by Indigenous women at the intersection of racial, gender and colonial dispossession and discrimination, Indigenous participation in provincial and federal elections and shameful inequity in Indigenous child welfare and education.  In Winnipeg, it seemed like there were new possibilities and over 2014 and 2015, the University of Winnipeg Students Association (UWSA) and the Aboriginal Student Council worked on a proposal for a new Mandatory Indigenous Course Requirement (ICR). During this past academic year, 2016-2017, the ICR was implemented.

    While there has been some change with regards to Indigenous-state relations over the course of the decade 2007-2017, there has also been inertia.  In the months before UNDRIP was adopted by the General Assembly, Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations and Family Caring Society, along with the Assembly of First Nations, filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against Ottawa, arguing that the federal government discriminated against Indigenous children living on reserves. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal agreed, and in January 2016, ordered that the government remedy the situation. Since the ruling, however, the tribunal has had to issue three compliance orders to the federal government, with the latest being in May 2017; the federal government continues to unilaterally make child welfare policy.[1]

    In a recent issue of the Canadian Historical Review[2] I look at how historians have analyzed and evaluated the history of federal Indian policies related to Indigenous health. (The article was also featured on Rick Harp’s Media Indigena: Weekly Indigenous Current Affairs Program.) There are, I show, four key words that emerge from this recent work that help to understand Indigenous-state relations in health history in Canada: starvation, experimentation, segregation and trauma.  These words characterize embedded systems of thought and identify the ways in which racial inequity, substandard health care, and Indigenous inferiority became common-sense in Canadian health care and health research. My article was part of an occasional feature called “Historical Perspectives” that provides multiple perspectives on particular issues, events and topics in Canadian history. Our installation of essays, written also by Brenda MacDougall, Lianne Leddy and John Borrows, indicates yet another important shift afoot, this time in the discipline of history. As CHR editors Suzanne Morton, Mary-Ellen Kelm and Dimitry Anastakis note, our essays in the March 2017 issue are among the only pages of the Canadian Historical Review to have ever been authored by Indigenous people over the course of its near 100-year history (Brenda MacDougall’s September 2006 article “Wahkootowin: Family and Cultural Identity in North-western Saskatchewan Metis Communities,” being likely the first).[3]

    This year has been marked by many anniversaries.  We often use such events in history to discuss how we see our past selves and who we think we would like to become; we also use anniversaries to leverage change. In that light, consider reading or re-reading UNDRIP alongside Indigenous historical scholarship to learn about Indigenous people’s priorities and hopes for the present and future.

    Endnotes

    [1] Of the federal government’s new “Ten Principles guiding Indigenous-state relations” released earlier this summer, Blackstock and Sebastien Grammond argue, “Unless there is a strong political will to implement them, these principles risk joining, in the dustbin of history, other noble policy statements that had little practical impact.” Cindy Blackstock and Sébastien Grammond, “Reforming child welfare first step toward reconciliation: Opinion,” The Star 1 August 2017.  Accessed August 1, 2017 at: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/08/01/reforming-child-welfare-first-step-toward-reconciliation-opinion.html

    [2] Mary Jane Logan McCallum, “Starvation, Experimentation, Segregation and Trauma, Canadian Historical Review, 98:1 (March 2017): 96-113.

    [3] Dimitry Anastakis, Mary-Ellen Kelm, and Suzanne Morton, “Historical Perspectives: New Approaches to Indigenous History,” Canadian Historical Review, 98:1 (March 2017): 61.

    Logan McCallum's article of "Starvation, Experimentation, Segregation, and Trauma: Words for Reading Indigenous Health History", appears in Volume 98, Issue 1 of the Canadian Historical Review, available to read here.

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