The latest in blog posts, news, and podcasts from the world of Canadian history.
Welcome back to our regular favourite series, Historians’ Histories! If you’d like to see more posts from this series, you can do so here. This week we have an interview with the lovely Michelle Desveaux, a fellow historians and lover of stories! Enjoy!
Michelle Desveaux is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Saskatchewan studying historical consciousness. She has previously published ““Twenty-First Century Indigenous Historiography: Twenty-Two Books That Need to be Read,” co-authored with Patrick Chassé, Glenn Iceton, Anne Janhunen, and Omeasoo Wāhpāsiw, in the Canadian Journal of History.
I recently re-read Pamela Sugiman’s wonderful article, “A Million Hearts from Here,” in preparation for a discussion group on WW2. If you haven’t read this piece yet, I highly recommend it. I often find myself rereading texts, whether they are academic articles or novels, and each time I do, I always find something new to think about. This time, I was particularly struck by Sugiman’s personal connection to her research. As the daughter and granddaughter of Japanese-Canadian internees, she is closely connected to her own research on this subject. And now, as a mother, she is an active “maker of memory” for her daughter. As Sugiman was working on this project, her daughter also wrote a short story about a little girl who was interned. She selected the title, “A Million Hearts from Here,” explaining
“I called it “A Million Hearts from Here” because it is about a million people, well, a lot of people, that were interned. And they all had a heart somewhere. And “from here”? They were a long way away [from home]. And how would you feel if you were away, for about four years?”
Sugiman goes on to explain how her own research was in turn influenced by her grandmother, an internee, who, though she has passed, lives on in the memory of Sugiman’s daughter.
While Sugiman uses this story to set up her argument about “the ways in which our memories of historical injustices travel across generations and are strongly shaped by our most intimate relationships,” to my mind it also speaks to an unspoken truth about much historical research: its personal connection to our own lives. So, in today’s blog post, I am going to share my own personal connection to my research, talk about subjectivity/objectivity and, and the importance of positionality.
I have to tell you, I had a really hard time figuring out what to write about this week. Between the current strike by college professors in Ontario, the attacks online against feminist and socially progressive scholars, and the latest insanity happening down south, there are so many current events emerging right now that it seemed impossible to figure out a place to start. But two not completely unrelated events stand out in my mind. The first is the passage of Bill 62 in my home province, and the other is the disciplinary action faced by Masuma Khan, a student at Dalhousie, for speaking out against Canada150 on Facebook. To my mind, these events have something important in common: they are both based around particular narratives of history and identity. So in today’s blog post, I’m going to talk about the events in question, imagined communities, the backfire effect, and why it is important that we teach history responsibly.
Because, let’s face it – who has time to catch up on all the journal articles published in Canadian history?
Welcome back to the Best New Articles series, where each month, I post a list of my favourite new articles! Don’t forget to also check out my favourites from previous months, which you can access by clicking here.
This month I read articles from:
Here are my favourites: