The History Slam is a conversational podcast from ActiveHistory.ca that features discussions and debates around various historical topics or issues relevant to the understanding of history. Whether we talk with a historian about their new book or a musician about including historical references in their songs, History Slam focuses on the stories of the past, how those stories influence us today, and their role in shaping our shared culture. Within a relaxed environment we’re going to try and have some fun with history while highlighting stories from the past. We’re always looking for new suggestions for topics and guests so any ideas or feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
All episodes were originally published at ActiveHistory.ca (Date of Publication in Brackets)
In this episode of the History Slam, our first ever episode with a live audience, I talk with Beth about her book Science of the Seance: Transnational Networks and Gendered Bodies in the Study of Psychic Phenomena, 1918-40. We talk about the scientists who conducted the research, how they connected with each other, and the ways in which the space became gendered. We also open the floor to questions from the audience and discuss the challenges of researching such a unique topic.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with the podcast’s most frequent (starting with the never released pilot episode) guest Aaron Boyes. We talk about the podcast’s origins, how history has changed over the past five years, and the adoption of digital tools by historians. We also talk about the job market for historians and the pros and cons of doing a PhD in history. As an added bonus, we talk with Megan Reilly-Boyes about the benefits and challenges of doing history in the 21st century.
In this episode of the History Slam, I venture to the University of Ottawa’s Digital History Open House. I talk with the Open House’s organizer, Jo McCutcheon, about her digital history class, teaching students to use digital tools, and the challenges associated with non-traditional projects. I then speak with two of the presenting students, Chris Pihlak and Chloe Madigan, about their respective projects. The episode finishes with my conversation with Carleton University’s Shawn Graham, the Open House’s keynote speaker. We chat about failing in public, creating spaces where it’s ok to productively fail, and how to assess non-traditional history work.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with high school teacher (and friend of the show) Ashley Baine. We talk about preparing students for international travel, incorporating experiential learning into the trips, and getting back into the classroom upon their return to Canada. We also talk about memorable teachers and incorporating new strategies into our own courses.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Professor Jeremy Schmidt about his new book Water: Abundance, Scarcity, and Security in the Age of Humanity. We talk about the origins of western water management, the exportation of that structure around the world, and the ways in which water has become a commodity. We also talk about individual efforts to challenge that structure and ensuring access to clean water for everyone.
In this lost episode of the History Slam (recorded back in 2014) we come up with fake historical explanations for everyday things. Despite originally not posting the episode, given the fervour around Fake News we decided to run it to show just how easy it is to come up with fake content. As a result, we hope you take this episode as a reminder of how we all need to be skeptical of the content we consume.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Sylvia Smith, one of Project of Heart’s coordinators. We talk about the project’s origins, the learning process, and the different steps classes go through. We also talk about reconciliation in the classroom and the challenges of presenting difficult material to students.
In this episode of the History Slam, Aaron Boyes and I count down the 10 most shocking deaths from the 20th century. We give our rationale for what constitutes ‘shocking,’ describe the events that made the list, and round out the episode by pointing out some that could have qualified.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Trevor Herriot about his new book Towards a Prairie Atonement. We talk about the Prairie landscape, the challenges in telling the story of displacement, and his relationship with Norman Fleury. A self-described Prairie naturalist, Trevor also writes about these issues at his Grass Notes blog, which you can find here.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Gregory Klages about his new book The Many Deaths of Tom Thomson: Separating Fact from Fiction. We talk about Tom Thomson’s life, the various conspiracies, and the research method for exploring such divergent theories.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Dorothy Verkerk from the University of North Carolina about the experience of teaching in the summer program at UIBE. Recording while we waited for our flight to Toronto at the end of the program, we chat about the challenges of teaching a condensed summer session, some of the highlights of the summer, and how much we enjoyed teaching our UIBE students. We also debate the pros and cons of teaching abroad and discuss my ambivalence towards Chinese beer.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Matt Pressman about his forthcoming book on American journalism in the 1960s and 1970s. We chat about the definition of journalism, the state of newspapers, and the inclusion of ‘soft’ news into journalism. Matt is also a former JEOPARDY! champion, so we talk about his experience on the show and what you don’t see on television.
In this episode of the History Slam, I welcome Paul Kahan back to the show to talk about his new book Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War. We chat about researching the Civil War, Cameron’s personal character, and the behind-the-scenes machinations of the Lincoln administration. We also examine 19th century American political culture and the separation between politics and personal relationships.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Nicole Nolette, author of Jouer la traduction: Théâtre et hétérolinguisme au Canada francophone, winner of the 2016 Ann Saddlemyer Award for as the best book on Canadian theatre. We talk about translating for theatre, the challenge of overcoming regional dialects, and the nature of bilingualism in Canada.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Gavin Benke of Boston University about his research on Enron. We chat about the company’s origins, how an energy company got involved in complex financial management, and Enron’s relationship with 1990s culture. We also talk about how 9/11 influenced public perception of the company and George W. Bush’s place in the story.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with friend-of-the-show-Tracy-Neumann about her book Remaking the Rust Belt: The Postindustrial Transformation of North America. We talk about the Canada Program at Harvard, industrial redevelopment in Pittsburgh and Hamilton, and some of the major differences between Canada and the United States.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Alison Mountz of Laurier and Harvard. We talk about the Canada Program at Harvard, the Canada Research Chair program, and the origins of the group’s efforts at slow scholarship. Around the 20 minute mark we get into slow scholarship in greater detail and discuss what it means, how it can be practiced, and the gendered and racialized environments in which we all work.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with the author of General Idea: Life and Work, Sarah E.K. Smith. We talk about the differences between traditional history and art history, the legacy of General Idea, and the challenges and benefits and digital publishing.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Jacob Remes about his new book Disaster Citizenship: Survivors, Solidarity, and Power in the Progressive Era. We talk about doing trans-national research, North America diaspora, and responses to disasters.
In this episode of the History Slam, Aaron Boyes returns to the show to talk about the best and worst people after whom you can name a child. Taking into account both the person’s achievements and the name’s aesthetic values, we offer some unique options about which you may not have thought.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Paul Kahan about his book The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicolas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance. We talk about the challenges of writing popular history, the history of America’s financial structure, and the role of personalities in early American history.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Professor Alicia Yamin about her book Power, Suffering, and the Struggle for Dignity: Human Rights Frameworks for Health and Why They Matter. We talk about her personal experiences, defining human rights, and what constitutes health policies. We also talk about colonial mentalities and the challenges of combating the commodification of life.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Peter Suber, the Director of Harvard’s Office for Scholarly Communication. We chat about his book Open Access, the challenges of getting faculty on board, and questions of funding. We also explore some of the generational challenges associated with open access and the benefits of public scholarship.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Professor Hillary Chute of the University of Chicago and Visiting Professor at Harvard University about her new book Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form. We chat about the perception of comics as a medium for children, the tradition of subversive comics in American history, and comics in the digital age.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with friend of the show Aaron Boyes, who is currently working with Prime Ministers’ Row to create a street museum in Ottawa. We chat about the centralization of Ottawa’s tourist attractions, the geography of a street museum, and the challenges of researching a localized project that is also national in scope. In addition, we address the gender and diversity gaps inherent in studying Prime Ministers and Fathers of Confederation and the group’s efforts to be inclusive in their research.
Last year, we did an episode on curling in Canada and how the sport has achieved its status as part of Canadian society and culture. In this episode of the History Slam, we follow up on that episode by exploring curling’s international presence and some of the key issues facing the sport. To do so, I traveled to Las Vegas and had the opportunity to talk to some of the players about representing their countries, the addition of mixed doubles to the Olympics, and the regulation of new technology and sweeping methods.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Kirsten Weld of Harvard University about her book Paper Cadavers: The Archives of Dictatorship in Guatemala. We chat about the uncovering of the archives, the process of reclaiming the material, and the contested nature of building memory.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Meagan Froemming, managing editor of SHARIAsource. We talk about Sharia Law, the purpose of the website, online accessibility, and the place of academics in contributing to public debates. We also explore the challenge with translations and their legal ramifications.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Professor Susan Pedersen of Columbia University about her new book The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire. We chat about the establishment and structure of the League, international diplomacy in the inter-war years, and the legacy of colonialism.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Lynne Marks about her research on religion. We chat about the differences between Ontario and British Columbia, the extent to which belief alters religious participation, and the challenges of studying such a topic that is so personal for so many people.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Francesca D’Amico about her research on rap in North America. We chat about the differences between Canadian and American artists, gender representations, and race construction.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Susan Joudrey of Dalhousie University about Stampede and the 1923 Raid on City Hall. We talk about the logistics of the raid, representations of First Nations people, and the complicated legacy of colonialism.
In this episode of the History Slam, I chat with Bronwyn Graves, Education Manager for Historica Canada. We chat about the Stories of Sir John A. Heritage Minutes contest, Historica Canada’s role in promoting history, and the challenges of getting students interested in history.
In this episodes of the History Slam, I talk to Professor Brookfield of Laurier University – Brantford about Grindstone Isle. We talk about the nature of non-violence resistance, the Quaker presence in Canada, and the legacy of the Grindstone experiment.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Jodi Giesbrecht, manager of research and curation at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We chat about the geography of the building, the creation of the exhibits, and the challenges of presenting difficult material in an engaging manner.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Lara Campbell of Simon Fraser University and one of the editors of Worth Fighting For: Canada’s Tradition of War Resistance from 1812 to the War on Terror about the book. We chat about the process of putting together an edited collection, the challenges of studying war resistance, and the various methods through which Canadians have resisted war.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with co-directors of the Canadian Mysteries project, John Lutz and Ruth Sandwell, about Canadian Mysteries. We talk about how they put together the mysteries, the site’s audience, and the Franklin Exhibition. We recorded the episode right before the launch of the Franklin Exhibition mystery at Library and Archives Canada.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Joel Girourd, the Director of State Ceremonial and Protocol and at the Department of Heritage. We chat about how things become official national symbols, the protocols that surround national symbols, and policies surrounding the flag.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Professor Michel Hogue of Carleton University about his book Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People. We chat about the construction of borders, the treatment of Metis people in Canada and the United States, and the challenges of researching without a paper archive.
In this episode of the History Slam, I chat with Michel Duquet, executive director of the Canadian Historical Association, about his experience at Congress. We also discuss the CHA’s role in promoting history as well as its efforts to address the linguistic imbalance at the annual meeting and the lack of papers looking at non-Canadian issues. I also talk to Benoit Longval, a graduate student at the University of Ottawa, about the graduate student experience at Congress, the pros and cons of roundtables, and the logistics of the CHA.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Nicola Longford, Executive Director of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. We chat about the museum’s roots, the JFK assassination’s impact on the city of Dallas, and the challenges surrounded a museum dedicated to such an emotional issue. We also cover how the museum addresses the conspiracies surrounding the assassination and its efforts to preserve living memories of that day.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with A.J. Ortega from the University of Houston-Victoria about studying professional wrestling in an academic setting. We chat about the challenges of legitimizing the industry in the eyes of academics, problems associated with the use of stereotypes, and his experience as a professional wrestling referee. In addition to his work on wrestling, you can find his writing at www.ajortega.net.
In this episode of the History Slam I revisit some of my conversations with curlers over the past year. I’ve talked to Olympic Gold Medalists like Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris, world champions like Mary-Anne Arsenault, national champions like Lisa Weagle, and mainstays on the tour like Chelsea Carey and Stefanie Lawton. We address the state of curling in Canada, the introduction of relegation to the Brier and Scotties, the concept of professional curlers, and the sport’s general diversity problem.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Professor Richard Reid about his book African Canadians in Union Blue. We chat about the challenges of researching African Canadians in the Civil War, the tasks given to black regiments, and the domestic policies that shaped British North Americans’ participation in the conflict. We also examine the legacy of African Canadians fighting in the war and the historical oddity of Civil War pensions being paid into the 21st century.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Isabel Campbell about her book Unlikely Diplomats: The Canadian Brigade in Germany 1951-1964. We chat about the people who were chosen to serve, the strategic benefits of maintaining a presence in Germany, and the day-to-day challenges for the troops. We also discuss the mission in the wider context of the Cold War and the legacy of Canada’s German mission.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Franca Iacovetta about the Berks and her role as chair of the conference. We chat about the process of organizing the conference, the place of inclusivity in the event, and how women’s history has evolved over time. We also look at how younger scholars have been welcomed into the event and try to get to the bottom of the weird clown posters at the University of Toronto.
In this episode of the History Slam, I chat with various participants in the Celebrating Canada about their contributions to the project. I start by talking with Lee Blanding, Sessional Lecturer at Langara College, about issues of multiculturalism during centennial celebrations. I then chat with Anne Trepanier of Carleton University about the contested terrain and conflicting celebrations that occur on the final Monday before the 25th each May. This is followed by my conversation with CDCI’s Gillian Leitch in which we discuss representations of British identity during parades in Montreal. Marcel Martel of York University and Joel Belliveau of Laurentian University stop by to talk about the evolution of Empire Day. I then chat with Peter Stevens of York University about the changing meaning of Thanksgiving in Canada. The episode concludes with Cristina Ogden and the 2005 Alberta Centennial celebrations.
In this episode of the History Slam – the first installment of our first ever two part episode – I talk with Matthew Hayday, Marc-André Gagnon, and Robert Talbot about the Celebrating Canada Workshop, which took place at the Canadian Museum of History in September. We chat about the purpose of the workshop, the nature of commemoration in Canada, and the efforts of historians to reach wider audiences.
In this episode of the History Slam, Aaron Boyes and I are joined by Laurie Campbell to discuss ‘What to Wear to the Birth of a Nation.’ We chat about the writing and researching process, the challenges of doing a period piece, and the reception of audiences on PEI. The show toured across PEI this summer and if you are interested in bringing it to a town near you, do not hesitate to contact Laurie.
In this episode of the History Slam I chat with Professor Enloe about her book. We chat about who gets taken seriously, strategies to implement a feminist approach, and the possible backlashes to that approach. This is the final episode recorded at the 2014 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Anne Millar of the University of Ottawa about the History of Women in Science and Engineering. We chat about systematic barriers and the efforts of early pioneers to break the glass ceiling, conceptions of gender and their influence on these fields, and the emerging field of the history of women in science and engineering.
In this episode of the History Slam, I chat with Katharine Rollwagen of Vancouver Island University about her research on childhood consumerism. We talk about marketing towards kids during the Depression, the impact of the Baby Boom, and the methodology of studying consumerism. This is the final episode in our series recorded at this year’s Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting in St. Catharine’s, Ontario.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Justin Bengry about his article Coming Out in the Classroom: When the Personal is Pedagogical. We chat about the utility of revealing personal information in the classroom, the role of the university in fostering discussions on these issues, and voyeurism in the study of sexuality.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Ian Mosby about the media storm that surrounded his article on nutritional experiments at Residential Schools. We chat about the research, the public reaction, and what has happened since the initial article was published. We recorded this episode in February, since which Ian has moved from the University of Guelph to McMaster University where he is the L.R. Wilson Postdoctoral Fellow.
In this episode I talk with Professor Greg Stott of University College of the North. The episode was recorded at the CHA Annual Meeting in May just before his presentation on William Port, the postmaster of Lucan, Ontario during the 1880 Donnelly Massacre. We chat about the massacre, his research on Lucan, and the culture of small towns in Canada.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Mike Commito of McMaster University about Ontario’s spring bear hunt. We chat about the government’s decision to re-institute the hunt, the history of the bear hunt in Ontario, and the principles of wildlife management. You can check out Mike’s research on the bear hunt at MikeCommito.com.
In this episode of the History Slam podcast, I talk with Professor Verene Shepherd of the University of the West Indies about women’s history in the Caribbean. We chat about how women’s history is taught in schools, efforts to get more women in leadership positions, the impact of the region’s nationalist movements on the women’s movement, and concepts of race.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Robert Englebert about the Pierre Savard Conference, returning to Ottawa, and his research on French North America. We also talk about the book he co-edited with Guillaume Teasdale entitled French and Indians in the Heart of North America, 1630-1815.
In this episode of the History Slam, we recap the CHA Annual Meeting and Congress 2014 while addressing the future of conferences. We bookend the episode with Madeleine Kloske and Aaron Boyes, two conference rookies. I chatted with them before we left for St. Catharines and following the festivities. In the first part we discuss their expectations of Congress and their feelings about presenting for the first time. In the final part, we discuss how their experience compared to their expectations and the overall usefulness of conferences. In the middle I talk with Jonathan McQuarrie from the University of Toronto. We compare the CHA and the Berks, chat about the value of conference presentations, and discuss his research on the history of tobacco.
In this episode of the History Slam, I chat with Professor Frenette about his article “Conscripting Canada’s Past: The Harper Government and the Politics of Memory.” We talk about the history of commemoration in Canada, the politics of commemoration, and the place of history in Canadian life.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Robert Chafe about Oil and Water. We chat about Lanier Phillips’ legacy, the challenges of representing a true story on stage, and the development of Newfoundland culture. In particular, we discuss the Newfoundland accent and the rare occasions when it is presented in Canadian culture outside of comedy.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with three members of the University of Western Ontario contingent at the recent Pierre Savard Conference about the First World War. First I chat with Ryan Flavelle about the Alberta remittance men. That’s followed by my conversation with Jordan Chase about self-inflicted wounds, while Jeremy Garrett describes burial policy. The four of us conclude by discussing commemoration and Canadians’ commemoration of the war.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with director Bronwyn Steinberg and actor Daniel Sadavoy about Corpus. We discuss issues of memory, the challenge presented by the play’s subject matter, and connecting with audiences.
In this episode of the History Slam, I chat with James McHugh about the Senate, its intended purpose, and the people who get appointed. We also compare the Canadian Senate to the British House of Lords, analyze options for reform, and examine the possibility of abolishing the upper house entirely.
In this episode, we invited back popular History Slam regular Aaron Boyes and tried and put together some reality shows featuring historical figures that we would want to watch.
In the first part of this three-part episode, I talk with a grade 10 student about her changing perception of history. That is followed by my chat with a grade 12 student who is interested in teaching history as a career. The final part features my conversation with two teachers about teaching history, the methods they use in their classes, and the barriers to reaching students. We also discuss the content vs. skills debate and the pros and cons of digital tools in the classroom.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Ryan Anderson, founder of Northern Army and the Northern Army Preservation Society of Canada, which has just launched a new website devoted to preserving Canadian logos. We chat about the site, the process of collecting the logos, and the challenges of designing logos in Canada. You can check out the site here and, as Ryan says in the podcast, if you have any ideas of logos that can be added to the collection, do not hesitate to let them know.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch about her new book Underground Soldier. We talk about the origins of her love for books, writing historical fiction, and her research methods. We also chat about shining light on forgotten elements of the past and literature’s ability to heal old wounds.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Brian Payton about his new book The Wind is Not a River. We chat about the history of the Aleutian campaign, his research methods, and the challenge of telling a love story in wartime. I also ask him about writing on unpleasant matters and thoughts of self-censorship.
In this episode of the History Slam – with Aaron Boyes as co-host – we talk about some of our favourite historical anecdotes. In addition, we welcome James Morgan, Madeleine Kloske, and Sean Nicklin, who provide some entertaining tales. And as a special bonus, the podcast features its first ever musical interlude.
In this episode of the History Slam podcast, I talk with Don Cummer about his book Brothers At War. We also chat about the place of historical fiction, how the past is taught in schools, and how to get people interested in history.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Scott Crawford, Director of Operations for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. We chat about the Hall of Fame’s holdings and archival collections, its exhibits, and the induction process. We also have a lively discussion over who is the best Canadian player of all time and I reveal my plan for baseball’s return to Montreal. If you’re in or around St. Mary’s, Ontario, be sure to visit the Hall of Fame – it is well worth the trip!
This episode of the History Slam features my conversations with the people I met on the train. Given its popularity as a tourist attraction, I was able to talk with folks from around the world and across Canada. Starting just west of Edmonton, I talked with 12 people as we crossed the country, concluding as we sat just north of Sudbury.
In this episode of the History Slam (the final one recorded at Congress 2013) I talk with Sabine Wieber of the University of Glasgow about her work on death masks, with a particularly focus on Vienna in the early 20th century. We chat about the artistic meaning of the masks and how they affected people’s understanding of death. We also talk about the material culture nature of the masks and how she deals with what would generally be considered a dark topic.
In this episode of the History Slam, I talk with Professor Murray about concepts of family, evolving notions of sexuality, and questions of community. We also chat about the idea of private as public and public as political.
In this episode of the History Slam podcast, I talk with Dawn Flood of Campion College at the University of Regina about Fred Hampton and his visit to Saskatchewan. We chat about racial discrimination in Chicago, the reputation of the Black Panthers, the reason for coming to Saskatchewan, and Fred Hampton’s death. An expert on Chicago’s history, Professor Flood is the author of Rape in Chicago: Race, Myth, and the Courts.
In this episode of the History Slam podcast I talk with CHA President Dominique Marshall and CHA Past President Lyle Dick about budget cuts that have had such a significant impact on the study of history in Canada. We chat about the situation at LAC, the CHA’s response, and how historians can increase their presence. While this was recorded at Congress in June, last week’s events speak to the issues we talked about and provide a major example of the importance of historical research in general –and of LAC in particular.
In this episode of the History Slam podcast, I talk with Simon Fraser University’s Mary-Ellen Kelm about her A Wilder West: Rodeo in Western Canada, one of my favourite books of the past couple years. We chat about the rise and professionalization of rodeo, its role in western Canadian development, and the treatment of animals. We also discuss the creation of contact zones in local rodeos and the inclusion aboriginal and women athletes.
In this episode of the History Slam we recap the week that was and chat about some of the issues surrounding Congress and conferences in general. First I talk with Daniel Ross of York University of the President of the CHA Graduate Student Committee about some of the challenges and benefits facing grad students. Then I chat with Jo McCutcheon, treasurer of the CHA and from the University of Ottawa, et al. Finally I catch up with my former high school classmate Jodey Nurse, now of the University of Guelph, about her experience as a first time Congress-ee.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Madeleine Kloske from the University of Ottawa about the four films. In addition to the films, we also chat about preconceptions and stereotypes of the North as we wrap up Northern History Week.
For the first four days of Northern Scene, the Panorama Room at the National Arts Centre was transformed into a marketplace featuring some of the region’s top artists. In this episode of the History Slam I talk with three of those artists about their work and the changing face of the northern art scene. First, I chat with Lyn Fabio about her use of intestine to create artistic works. I then talk with Shirley Moorhouse about northern Labrador and questions of what constitutes Inuit art. That is followed by my conversation with John Sabourin as we discuss his ability to weave narratives into his work. While Marketplace at Northern Scene has closed, be sure to google each of them up and check out some of the phenomenal work coming out of the North.
In this episode of the History Slam, we examine the story of the Nantucks Brothers. First, I talk with Leonard Linklater, the playwright of Justice, a theatrical production part of Northern Scene that examines the story of the brothers. I then chat with Greg Hare, the Chief Archaeologist for Yukon, who led the dig following the discovery of the remains. Finally, I ask osteologist Susan Moorhead Mooney about the process of identifying those remains.
In this episode of the History Slam I chat with Sandra Dyck and Leslie Boyd, co-curators of Dorset Seen, about the exhibit. We talk about Cape Dorset’s strong artistic foundation, the changing conceptions of northern art, and art providing an outlet for social commentary. While Dorset Seen is part of Northern Scene, its run at the Carleton University Art Gallery continues until June 2 and is definitely worth checking out.
As we kick off Northern History Week, we thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of the earliest films depicting life in northern Canada. In this episode of the History Slam podcast, I chat with Tom McSorley of the Canadian Film Institute about one of the most famous films of the 1920s, Nanook of the North, and one of the lost films of the 1920s, Nell Shipman’s Grub-Stake. We talk about each film’s legacy, issues of cultural appropriation, and problems associated with film production in the industry’s early days. We also talk about how each film has been reframed as part of Northern Scene.
In the first part of this two-part episode of the History Slam I talk with Kelly Erby of Washburn University about the rise of the American restaurant industry in the middle of the 19th century. Largely a product of the industrial revolution, restaurants fundamentally changed patterns of consumption and led to the construction of the meal as a significant part of familial relationships. We chat about the race and class factors that influenced restaurants, the concerns from social reformers, and the socializing nature of food in American life. In part two, we discuss Northern History Week here at activehistory.ca with Heather Moore of the National Arts Centre. Heather is the Producer of Northern Scene, a ten-day celebration of northern artists and performers at the NAC. She talks about what people can expect from the festival and how her perception of the North has changed in putting together the line-up.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Katrina Srigley of Nipissing University about the state of women’s history, the legacy of Sylvia Van Kirk, and her own work on women during the Depression. Given my limited background in women’s and gender history, it was really interesting to sit down and discuss the issues and learn about growth of the discipline. We also touch on the perception of women’s history being hostile to men and discuss the pedagogical challenge it presents in a classroom setting.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Jim Opp and John C. Walsh of Carleton University about their work Placing Memory and Remembering Place in Canada. What I found particularly interesting about the book was how the ideas and concepts are at work in our everyday lives – oftentimes without us being completely conscious of them. We touch on this in the episode and also chat about the meaning of place, the development of collective memory, and what it’s like to collaborate on a major project.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Timothy Stanley, author of Contesting White Supremacy: School Segregation, Anti-Racism, and the Making of Chinese Canadians. Professor Stanley provides a unique take on the social construction of race and the power dynamics that lead to racism. We also chat about the Victoria school strike and the creation of a Chinese community in the region. The conversation also touches on the “history wars” as we debate how regional and national histories interact.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with singer/songwriter Del Barber about the use of history in his songs as well as how history has influenced his career. Apart The Party Song, we chat about personal histories and how the past plays a role in our daily lives. Given my affinity for the Prairies from my days in Regina and Del’s Winnipeg roots, we also talk about the changing face of the West.
In this episode of the History Slam we review three of these new dramas. First, I talk about Downton Abbey with Megan Sanderson, the biggest fan of the show who I know. Then I chat with my brother Scott about Titanic: Blood and Steel, the 12-part miniseries that the CBC aired in the fall. We end with the instant analysis (we recorded right after the movie) of Lincoln with Dave Hyde.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Arthur Carkner and Rosemary Warskett about both the project and the history of family leave in Canada. Both Arthur and Rosemary were involved in the struggle for family leave and offer some terrific insights into the process. In listening to them it becomes clear that the word ‘struggle’ is apt to describe the history of family leave in this country. The film itself is available for purchase and institutions can display the exhibit for free (if you’re outside Ottawa you have to provide shipping), both of which can be obtained by contacting the Workers History Museum. You can also follow
them on Twitter at @workershistory.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with Glenn McKnight and Bob Bell from the Foundation for Building Sustainable Communities, a local historical group from Oshawa, Ontario. We chat about the group’s projects, which include the re-creation of a WWII Victory Garden, geocaching, and their new War of 1812 project, which included a dinner featuring regency dancing and “Kentucky militia” kidnapping the Queen’s representative. After talking about the American perspective of the war in an earlier podcast, it was fun to look at it from a local perspective. As an added bonus, we also re-assemble the Prime Minister Fantasy Draft for a short recap. We talk about the responses to the draft – good, bad, and indifferent – and announce the big winner – even though it’s been pointed out to me that perhaps nobody can be a winner in a PM Fantasy Draft.
Canada has had twenty-two people serve as Prime Minister and in this podcast Aaron Boyes, Patrick Fournier, Mike Thompson, and I sit down and each draft teams of four.
In this episode of the podcast, I chat with Aaron Boyes about anti-Americanism in Canada. We talk about anti-Americanism as a founding principle of the country, the use of anti-Americanism in Canadian politics, and try to identify some the American most disliked by Canadians. Given that November 1 is perhaps my favourite day of the year (cheap candy!) it’s fitting that we’re talking about one of my favourite historical issues. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your sugar high while you listen to the latest episode of the History Slam.
In the first half of the podcast I chat with Jim Dean of Ottawa’s Haunted Walk about how they put together their stories and the importance of historical accuracy. In the second half, I sit down with one of the tour guides, Denis Lamoureux, and talk about how history is incorporated into the tours.
The History Slam has gone international! In this edition I chat with John Resch of the University of New Hampshire – Manchester and get the American perspective of the War of 1812. So while people across the country commemorate the Canadian point of view of the war, Professor Resch describes how the Americans feel about the conflict. We talk about the American desire to obtain Canada, national sovereignty, and William Henry Harrison even makes a cameo!
In this edition of the history slam I talk to Laurie Bertram about her upcoming exhibit Pioneer Ladies [of the evening], which opens this week at the Human Ecology Gallery at the University of Alberta and has previously been on display in Winnipeg. We chat about material culture, the role of trauma in history, and perhaps the coolest research trip in the history of the discipline. The exhibit is open until November 5 so if you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!
It’s the History Slam Fall Book Preview! Emily Harrington, the podcast’s official ‘publishing guru,’ stops by to talk about some of the new books coming out in the next few months. We also talk about what we’d like to see in new history books and give a bit of insight in the production of the podcast.
In this episode of the History Slam I talk with the author of Booze: A Distilled History, Craig Heron from York University. We chat about the place of alcohol in Canadian history, changing patterns of consumption, and what we think about our politicians’ drinking. Special thanks to the history department at the University of Toronto for allowing us to record in the best seminar room I have ever seen!
In this edition of the History Slam I talk with Victoria Lamb Drover about the history of Participaction. Discussion includes Body Break, the use of the media, and Hal Johnson’s mustache. Got any personal stories of your involvement with Participaction? Let Victoria know at email@example.com and be sure to subscribe to the History Slam on iTunes!
In our first episode I was happy to welcome the great Ian Milligan as the inaugural guest. We chat about his new project, the state of the digital humanities, and the place of history in society, plus we preview future editions. A big thank you to Heather MacDougall, Adam Wonder, and Donna Lang at the University of Waterloo for their help and providing the recording space! So without further ado, here is the premier edition of the History Slam!