The latest in blog posts, news, and podcasts from the world of Canadian history.
It’s always a little strange being Jewish around Christmas. When I was growing up, Chanukah wasn’t really a big deal. My sister and I would each get a gift (just one, not eight), some chocolate money, and we would light the menorah. My mother would make latkes, but I never really liked them (turns out the problem was her recipe, not latkes in general). Christmas wasn’t really a big deal. We did put out milk and cookies, though in hindsight, this was mostly for my dad. I do remember being convinced by my dad that Santa had to be real, since CTV News was tracking him via radar. But this was pretty much the extent of it. Because Santa didn’t give presents to Jewish girls.
But one year the impossible happened: Santa came! My mother, for reasons that I still don’t know, put out presents on the two living room chairs. One chair was for me, and the other was for my sister. They contained a board game, some other little things, and a chocolate advent calendar. It was magical. I was so excited. Santa didn’t forget me! And while from that point on my mother would always give my sister and I chocolate advent calendars on Christmas, our Christmas chairs remained empty. And yes, my mother is very well aware of how advent calendars work. She’s just repurposed them for our family tradition.
These days, in shopping centres, online stores, and social media, you’ll find a wide array of gifts and decorations specifically for Chanukah. From strings of lights with Stars of David and menorahs, to the hilarious Mensch on the Bench, the options are really quite endless. But this is a very recent phenomenon, as I mentioned last week. I just couldn’t keep you guys hanging like that! So in today’s blog post, we’re going to take a look at the emergence of Chanukah as an important holiday celebration in North America, its relationship to Christmas, and the religious aspects of Canadian identity.
Do you know a Canadian historian? (::nods::) Are they impossible to shop for because they already own all the books? (::nods vigorously::) Then have we got just the thing for you!
Welcome to the Second Annual Unwritten Histories Holiday Gift Guide for Canadian Historians! Once again, I have compiled a list of gift suggestions for historians and other history professionals!
Some important caveats: this guide does not (with one exception) include books. However, if you do want some book suggestions, check out my previous blog posts on upcoming publications in Canadian history). If you are shopping for a history buff, I would highly recommend the 2017 Book and Gift Guide from Canada’s History.
Second, while I am Canadian, and many of the recommendations I’ve included down below are specific to Canadian history, this list should be helpful to history professionals no matter their country of origin or residence.
And third, I haven’t repeated any of my suggestions from last year, because well, where’s the fun in that? So, for even more suggestions, make sure to check out last year’s gift guide!
Without any further ado, let’s get brainstorming!
Hi everyone! Stephanie here. I recently had the chance to attend the Canada Before Confederation: An Exhibition of Maps conference. The conference itself was held at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and we were surrounded by large model ships (and a giant squid) for all of our talks – I can’t think of a more perfect setting, considering most of the talks featured early modern European explorers and mariners. Organized by Lauren Beck, associate professor of Hispanic Studies at Mount Allison and editor of Terrae Incognitae, and Chet Van Duzer of the Library of Congress in Washington DC, the conference itself was the culmination of an enormous effort that involved organizing pre-confederation map exhibits across Canada as part of Canada 150. These maps were included in a book written and edited by Lauren and Chet. The volume was published by Vernon Books and includes full-colour images of the maps, essays contextualizing them, and amazing bibliographies, all of which I can easily see using as a teaching tool in the future. Oh, and the best part – these books were handed out for free to conference attendees! Handing out free books with pretty pictures of old maps is definitely the best way to get my attention at a conference, it turns out. (If you’d like to check out the book for yourself you can find it here.)
The conference was absolutely wonderful. But since most of you couldn’t be there with me, I put together this blog post so that you too can experience some of the fantastic presentations I saw! I’d like to thank Lauren Beck for going out of her way to invite me to this conference, Carolyn Prodruchny for sending me her and Alan’s paper, and Sarah Beanlands, for sending me her entire powerpoint presentation when I requested some images to include in this summary. This just proved once again how amazingly supportive the historical community can be! Finally, I’d especially like to think Elizabeth Mancke, my supervisor, for sponsoring my attendance at this conference. Ok, without any further ado, let’s get to the history!
Note: Except where noted, the images of this blog post are published with the permission of their creators. Please do not reproduce.
Welcome back to our monthly series, “Upcoming Publications in Canadian History,” where I’ve compiled information on all the upcoming releases for the following month in the field of Canadian history from every Canadian academic press, all in one place. This includes releases in both English and French. To see the releases from last month, click here.
***Please note that the cover images and book blurbs are used with permission from the publishers.***
N.B. This list only includes new releases, not rereleases in different formats.