Unwritten Histories

The Unwritten Rules of History

Category: The Academic Life (page 1 of 3)

CFP: Beyond the Lecture: Innovations in Teaching Canadian History

Hey folks! Super excited to be co-editing a new series on best practices in teaching Canadian History with Krista McCracken. Check out the CFP at the link below!


Call For Submissions – Beyond the Lecture: Innovations in Teaching Canadian History

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Historians

Macro shot of a snowflake crystal, with extraordinary detail.

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!


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Canada Before Confederation: Early Exploration and Mapping. The Conference, Exhibit, and the Book

Exhibit opening image - Canada Before Confederation. Photo taken by author

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.)

Cover of Canada before Confederation

Cover of the book written and edited to accompany the exhibit, Canada Before Confederation: Maps at the Exhibition. Vernon Press, 2017.

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.

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The Historical is Personal – Redux: Positionality

Image of a maple tree canopy. Behind is a blue sky, the sun shining through the shadowed leaves.

The maple tree that used to stand outside my parents’ place. Photo by author.

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.[1] 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,”[2] 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.


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An Introduction to Calls for Papers

A network of black wires ascending in a polygon formation into the sky.

A few months ago, Matthew Hayes tweeted the following at me:



What I love about my conversations with Matthew is that his questions always make me think about the insider knowledge that I have about how the historical profession works.  While I ended up answering Matthew on Twitter, along with help from the equally awesome Keith Grant and Tina Adcock, I thought that this topic definitely merited a blog post. When this question came up again last week on Facebook, I knew that I needed to get on this quick. So that’s what we’re going to talk about: CFPs and where to find them!


Quick note: while I am speaking specifically in reference to Canadian history, these guidelines apply no matter what field you are in!


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History Slam Podcast

Check out an interview that I did with Sean Graham for the History Slam Podcast! Find out about all my secrets, including what my voice really sounds like!

History Slam Episode 102: Andrea Eidinger of Unwritten Histories

Beyond 150 Twitter Archive


Clearly I am bad at vacations. 😉


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Interview: Creating a Collaborative Syllabus with Mary-Ellen Kelm

Screenshot of article on Kelm.


Some of you may remember that  back in April, SFU published a feature with Mary-Ellen Kelm, interviewing her about her recent experience co-creating her syllabus with her students. My interest was immediately piqued, since you know how much I love learning about new pedagogical techniques and methods for facilitating student engagement with history. While the article provided a little bit of information about how this worked, I was dying to learn more. Thankfully, Mary-Ellen Kelm was extremely gracious, and agreed to be interviewed about her process! So I am super excited to be able to bring you this interview today, especially since we’re in the middle of prime syllabus-writing season (I’m crying with you)! Enjoy!


CHA Reads - Mary-Ellen Kelm

Mary-Ellen Kelm is a professor of history at Simon Fraser University specializing in settler colonial and medical histories of North America. Her first book, Colonizing Bodies: Aboriginal Health and Healing in British Columbia 1900-1950 (UBC Press, 1998) won the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize and the Clio award for British Columbia both awarded by the Canadian Historical Association. In 2007 she received the second place award in the BC Historical Federation’s annual history writing competition for editing The Letters of Margaret Butcher: Missionary-Imperialism on the North Pacific Coast (University of Calgary Press, 2007), which tell the story of the Elizabeth Long Memorial Home, an Indian Residential School in Kitamaat, BC, from the perspective of an English teacher and nurse at the school. Her history, A Wilder West: Rodeo in Western Canada (UBC Press, 2011) is an illustrated examination of rodeo’s small-town roots, and a look at how the sport brought people together across racial and gender divides. She is currently examining the ideas and methods medical researchers brought to the study of Indigenous health in North America from 1910-1990. She is co-editor of the Canadian Historical Review.


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How Do We Start? Beginning a New Project; Or, lessons from my preschooler

Note from Andrea: As promised, today we have a special guest post from Claire Campbell! As many of you already know, Claire Campbell is an environmental historian who has been featured several times on the Roundup for her fantastic articles on NiCHE and Borealia. So I’m super excited to be able to present a new blog post from her — a meditation on beginning a new research project. Enjoy!


Claire Campbell headshot

Bucknell University’s Claire Campbell – Faculty Profile Shoot
Michael Kubel

Claire Campbell is an associate professor of history at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.  She is interested in the environmental history of North America and the North Atlantic world. She has taught at universities across Canada and in Denmark, in the areas of history, Canadian Studies, and Environment and Sustainability. Publications include Shaped by the West Wind: Nature & History in Georgian Bay (2004), A Century of Parks Canada, 1911-2011 (2011), and Land and Sea: Environmental History in Atlantic Canada (2013) with Robert Summerby-Murray. Her most recent work, Nature, Place, and Story: Rethinking Historic Sites in Canada (forthcoming 2017), uses environmental history to expand public history and discussions of sustainability at national historic sites.


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(Re)learning Indigenous History in Canada

Indigenous Canada

At the beginning of 2017, I came across a note on Twitter from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native studies about a new course they were offering, called “Indigenous Canada.” Curious, I clicked over to their website, and discovered that the course was designed to teach a non-specialized audience about Canadian history from an Indigenous perspective. Even better, it was being offered fully online, and it was free to audit. I had been looking for opportunities to learn more about Indigenous history in Canada, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I quickly signed up. Since I was one of the history nerds who actually looked forward to school (I really never understood the irony behind the Staples campaign, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” since I literally looked forward to returning to school all summer long), I was super excited to have the chance to be a student again. The prospect of finding some good resources that I could use in my own teaching seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up. But, to my pleasant surprize, the experience was far more enriching and transformative that I could have possibly imagined.

With the new session for the course beginning on July 10th, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to tell you about my experiences, and why I believe that everyone should take “Indigenous Canada.”


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