Unwritten Histories

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Tag: pedagogy (page 1 of 5)

Canadian History Roundup – Week of September 10, 2017

Image of a man and a woman standing at a well. They are dressed in an 18th century style, and are supposed to represent characters from the poem Evangeline. This is a travel poster advertising a trip to Nova Scotia via Canadian Pacific.

Canadian Pacific Railway Company. 1920. “Spend Your Vacation in the Land of Evangeline.” Posters. Chung Oversize and Graphic Materials. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.14288/1.0216284.


The latest in blog posts, news, and podcasts from the world of Canadian history.


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Film Favourites: Recommended Films on Canadian History

Film posters for The War of 1812, Been There Won that; Forbidden Love; Action.

Let’s face it, our favourite classes are the ones with movies. If you’re around my age, you remember being excited by the sound of squeaky wheels and rattling, since it usually meant you were watching a movie in class. The same is still true in university, whether you are a student, a TA, or a professor. However, it can be hard to find good films to show in classrooms that are engaging for students, but also historically accurate. A couple of months ago, there was a fascinating discussion on Eryk Martin’s Facebook timeline about recommended films for teaching pre-Confederation Canadian history. So, inspired by that discussion, and with his permission, I have put together a list of recommended films for teaching Canadian history.

This list is broken down into two parts: my personal recommendations, and recommendations from fellow history professors. I would especially like to thank Stephanie Pettigrew, Donica Belisle, Carmen Nielson, Matthew Hayday, Ian Mosby, Adele Perry, Jenny Ellison, Janis Thiessen, Kesia Kvill, Sarah Dowling, and Liz Huntingford for their fantastic suggestions. Also, I have roughly organized the films and videos chronologically. In my recommendations, I have further divided the films and videos from each other, and included some additional ones I would like to show in class, but haven’t yet.

A couple of important notes or warnings: please make sure that when you are showing a feature film in a classroom that you have the appropriate license to do so. In other words, make sure the copy of the film you are screening has been approved for classroom or public screenings. If you are using the film through your institution’s library, you should be fine, but it’s always good to check. Second, as a recent discussion on Twitter initiated by Tina Adcock has shown, content/trigger warnings are important. I have listed the ones that I think are relevant below, but always use caution when screening films to avoid doing harm to your students.

Also, my husband wanted to name this blog post “Class-y” films, but my better sense vetoed. 😉


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Canadian History Roundup – Week of August 20, August 27, and September 3, 2017

Hostesses from different countries posing for a group photo at Expo 67

Hostesses from different countries posing for a group photo at Expo 67. Library and Archives Canada, e000990931. CC BY 2.0

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Reflections on a Summer Course

Screenshot of my syllabus

Summer: time for sunny days, blue skies, lazy days at the beach….

LOL Yeah right….

Let’s face it: no one likes teaching or taking summer courses. Not only does the weather make you want to spend all of your time outside, but the sheer pace of summer courses is just exhausting. With that in mind, and considering that I just finished teaching one, I thought that I would use this blog post as an opportunity to reflect back on my experiences and talk about what worked and what didn’t, in the hopes that we might all learn a thing or two.


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Best New Articles from July 2017

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:


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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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Canadian History Roundup – Week of July 16, 2017

A group of six Inuit girls singing, one of them playing the guitar.

Group of girls singing, Richards Island, N.W.T. July 1956. Photo by Rosemary Gilliat Eaton. Library and Archives Canada 4731522


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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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CHA 2017: Reflections

CHA Reflections


I’m back! Did you miss me? For those who missed last week’s programming notice, the blog and my Twitter feed have been a little quiet as of late because I was off attending this year’s Canadian Historical Association’s Annual Meeting. As with most conferences, this year’s CHA was a blast, and totally exhausting. Before we let this year’s CHA fade gently into the night, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on my experiences, what I learned, and what we and I can take forward for CHA 2018. Enjoy!

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CHA Reads: Group Discussion

CHA Reads 2017


What is CHA Reads? Find out here!


UPDATE: Now includes the conversation that happened on Twitter! Scroll to the end to see.

Welcome to the seventh and final post in CHA Reads 2017! This post features the discussion that took place all week long between the other scholars and myself.  In order to make the discussion easier to follow, questions are in green and names are in bold.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series as much as we have! We will definitely be doing this again next year. Don’t forget to check us out all day on Twitter, where we will be continuing this discussion using the hashtag #chareads2017. And I’ll see you back here tomorrow for an early roundup!


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