This image is of a woman sitting in bed. She is wearing a cozy grey sweater and socks, and she is holding a cup of coffee or tea with milk. In her hands is an old book with text and illustrations in black and white. The photograph was taken from above, showing the woman from the chest down.

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:

John S. Long, Richard J. Preston, Katrina Srigley, Lorraine Sutherland, “Sharing the Land at Moose Factory in 1763,” Ontario History 109, no. 1 (Autumn 2017): 238-262.

Author’s Twitter: @KatrinaSrigley


What it’s about: In this article, Long, Preston, Srigley, and Sutherland experience 1763 in the area around Moose Factory, the traditional territory of the Mushkegowuk or Cree peoples. In doing so, their goal is to present a model for the future, based upon historical precedent, whereby settlers and Indigenous peoples could share the lands in a peaceful and productive manner. This paper is grounded first and foremost in the land; this includes a detailed discussion of the landscape of Mushkegowuk territory, and its animal, human and more-than-human inhabitants. This extends even to the framing of the article, since it is divided into four seasons, in accordance with the Cree annual cycle. In each season, the authors describe and how HBC officers and servants, the Resident Cree, the “Home” Cree, and Uplanders interacted.

What I loved: This paper is a model for how to do Indigenous history well. Seriously. In the past year and a half that I have been doing this series, I cannot tell you how many articles I have read on Indigenous history that rely solely on historical sources produced by settlers and have been done without any interaction at all with the communities under study. This paper is one of the few exceptions. It is, to my mind, a beautiful marriage of western scholarship and Indigenous ways of knowing, deployed in such a way that is a benefit to all parties involved. There is so much that we can learn from the past, and I think this article embodies the best that history has to offer the present.

Favourite quote: “This view of the year from James Bay gives us much to reflect on as we reconcile the present with the history of colonialism in Canada and learn to build respectful relationships that allow us to share the land and its resources in a good way.” Pp 262

Suggested uses: Anyone with an interest in decolonization and//or reconciliation should read this article. Individuals who research or teach 18th century history in North America/Turtle Island, settler/Indigenous relations, the fur trade, and the HBC would also want to read this article.


Sasha Mullally, “Marginally Relevant?: The “Fathers of Confederation” and Canadian History,Canadian Historical Review 98, no. 4 (December 2017): 727-741.


What it’s about: This article is one of three in a special section of this issue of the CHR, looking how Canadian history surveys handle the subject of Confederation. In this particular contribution, Sasha Mullally discusses her approach to teaching about Confederation. She critiques the heavy emphasis that continues to be placed, particularly in public history narratives, on the “Fathers of Confederation,” and the idea that Confederation was somehow inevitable. Rather, she contextualizes Confederation in a global setting, with an emphasis on how people on the margins experienced the event. She does this largely through a focus on how individuals in different parts of what became Canada viewed Louis Riel.

What I loved: First of all, this was a fantastic idea for a series, and the two organizers, Dimitry Anastakis and Mary-Ellen Kelm, as well as the other contributors, Bradley Miller and Bill Waiser, also deserve equal credit. I absolutely believe we need to spend some time as a community rethinking how the surveys are taught, though I am glad to see that this is already being done at UBC and UNB. Mullally’s piece spoke to me the most. I too have taught Confederation for many years, though my approach has typically been to do a social history of Confederation. Mullally’s transnational/local approach is fascinating, and definitely one I will be integrating into future courses. The care and thoughtfulness that goes into her course planning is extremely impressive.

Favourite quote: “The fact of increasing regional disparity after Confederation notwithstanding, jurisdictions in Atlantic Canada have exercised an importance and political power far beyond the intrinsic value of their resources, geographic size, or population base. In fact, we retain it by virtue of our history, and history is powerful. Students need to understand it to understand the exercise of power within Canada.” p. 741

Suggested uses: Anyone who teaches, or is thinking of teaching, a Canadian history survey course, as well as any lectures on Confederation.


Christina Ann Burr, “Why the Flapper Still Matters: Feminist Pedagogy, the Modern Girl, and the Women Artists of the Beaver Hall Group,” Historical Studies in Education 29, no. 2 (Fall 2017): 113-136.


What it’s about: Grounded in a reflection on her experiences teaching a fourth-year seminar on The Modern Girl over five years, Christina Ann Burr explores the Flapper from a historical, historiographical, and pedagogical perspective. She focuses specifically on how the course has evolved, her interactions with a group of international and interdisciplinary scholars who all work on the same subject, and the Fall 2016 version of the course. This course happened to coincide with an exhibition of the Montreal’s Beaver Hall Group, a collection of male and female artists who worked together between 1920 and 1922, allowing for an in-depth consideration of Canadian art history, female Canadian artists, issues of representation and modernity, and a critical perspective on visual culture.

What I loved: Ok, let’s be real for a second. If there is such a thing as Andrea click bait, this is it. That said, trying to be conscious of my obvious bias, I do still think this is a great article for people who are not as fascinated by social/women’s/gender/feminist/Montreal history. This article is a beautiful example of how one’s research, the historiography, and fellow scholars can shape one’s approach to teaching. It doesn’t sound like it should work, but it absolutely does. I also greatly appreciated how Burr explained the evolution of the course, the changes she made, and even problems she encountered. I also loved that she included feedback from her students on the course as well as their visit to the exhibit. Finally, I am so impressed by Burr’s thoughtfulness, particularly with respect to her emphasis on experiential learning, and how engaging with 1920s visual culture can give students the skills needed to deal with an increasingly digital world. Finally, can we get some appreciation for the full colour images? They’re just gorgeous.

Favourite quote: “Another student remarked, “These portraits, such as the Newton self-portrait… were definitely my favourites of the collection, as they produced the image of strong, feminine women, that to be perfectly honest, I had never associated with the early twentieth century.” “While I had learned from previous history classes that first wave feminism occurred,” she continued, “I had never heard of any feminist activity after women were given the vote until the 1960s, though it seems obvious now that women would have still fought for equal rights.”47 For this student, the portraits posed a significant challenge to the male gaze and expressed something powerful about women: “I felt each portrait done by the women of Beaver Hall were [sic] looking directly at me, almost as if they were daring me to judge them.”p. 128.

Suggested uses: Anyone who teaches social, women’s, gender, body, or feminist history will of course benefit from reading this article. It is also a great addition to the growing body of literature on Montreal, the 1920s, citizenship, and art history. Finally, I think anyone with an interest in pedagogy and experiential learning would appreciate this article.


Also recommended:


Holy reading Batman. Remind me to never skip a month again. Have you read these journal issues yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this monster edition of Best New Articles. If you did, please consider sharing this post on the social media platform of your choice. And as always, don’t forget to check back on Sunday for a brand new Canadian history roundup, which will also be the last roundup of 2017! See you then!

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