Friday, December 12, 2008

We always knew that you can get there from here, but it turns out you can come from there and make it back, too -- and in a big way.

So warm congratulations to Angela Wanhalla, who has just been awarded the 2008 The Rowheath Trust Award and Carl Smith Medal from the University of Otago in New Zealand, where she holds an appointment in history.

Angela began life (we like to think) as a post-doctoral fellow in this very department, working with Canada Research Chair Jim Miller on matters of native-newcomer relations. Having lit up our firmament for a year, Angela returned to her native New Zealand to teach and research the histories of cultural encounter in that country’s colonial past, specifically gender, race and colonialism in 19th century New Zealand. She is also interested in the indigenous history of the North American West, and the history of intimacy, particularly interracial relationships.

For someone as outgoing and fun as Angela is, she gets a helluva lot of work done. The award and medal recognises her outstanding early-career research performance at Otago, as did a highly competitive and prestigious Marsden Fast-Start Grant that Angela was awarded last year for a two-year project on the history of interracial intimacy in New Zealand between 1769 and 1969. Way to go, Angela!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dreaming of Graduate School?

For those of you in the honours program who might be thinking of grad school, here is an opportunity almost too good to be true.

2008/09 Term 2 Arts and Science Research Learning Communities
Meets every Monday at 3:30 starting January 5th

The College of Arts and Science, in partnership with the University Learning Centre, will be piloting a term-two learning community targeted at 3rd year (or other upper-year) Arts and Science students interested in pursuing research careers in academia, industry or community.

Students with a background in any Arts and Science discipline are encouraged to join this Learning Community with the aim of growing their understanding of how to best navigate the research world. We plan to offer students concrete information sessions on graduate programs, funding opportunities in the first five years of appointment (SSHRC information sessions, information about Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships, etc.), applying to graduate programs at this and other great universities, writing research proposals and scholarship research statements, developing a CV, sorting out intellectual property, etc. This initiative aims to foster a community of diverse, self-directed learners by emphasizing some of the commonalities between different types of research, and drawing on the connections between a wide range of disciplines.

We plan to gather 3rd-year Arts and Science students together on a weekly basis throughout term two of the 2008/09 academic year. If you know of any students who may be bound for graduate school or thinking about a career in research, please let them know about this great opportunity.

Students must register in advance for this program.

For more information, a link to the registration page, and a one-page flyer suitable for distribution, please visit

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Congratulations to doctoral candidates Merle Massie and Heather Stanley, who took first and joint-second prize respectively in the Humanities and Fine Arts division at last Friday's first annual Arts and Science Graduate Student Exposition. Seventy posters representing the research projects of our best and brightest from departments across the College were presented in the Education Building gym, along with presentations and performances from students in Art and the Fine Arts. Merle, Heather, and Kevin Gambell held the History flag aloft. Hung their posters, anyway. And fine posters they are. You can see them for yourselves, mounted on the bulletin boards near the far end of our beloved seventh floor.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Keith Carlson will be delivering a short talk on Aboriginal veterans and war brides at Browsers following the Remembrance Day ceremony at the University Memorial Gates, Nov 11th at 12:45.

Meanwhile, word has reached the Incident Room of the What's Up Newsroom that Scout troop leader Geoff Cunfer, and Cub pack leader Keith Carlson, will be leading their troop and pack at the same 12:45 ceremony, where the youngsters, dressed in their Baden Powell uniforms, will lay wreaths at the Memorial Gates.
You, yes YOU! (assuming You are of legal pubbing age) are invited to the HUSA Bxxr Night, Saturday, November 8th, 2008 from 8-10pm at The Hose on 11th St (just off Broadway). Tickets are $10 and are on sale at the bottom of the arts ramp this week. Tickets will also be available at the door, though it would greatly assist the organizers to know in advance how many folk to expect. If you have any questions about the event, please contact Kristina at

What's Up provides the above message as a public service announcement on behalf of HUSA, the History Undergraduate Student Association. The event in question is not sponsored by the History Department or the U of S. I know that must disappoint you because you would rather mingle with faculty than do whatever it is you young people do at a bar these days when not chaperoned by your instructors, but we do nevertheless wish you all a fun and safe evening.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Bilson Lecture series was established by the Department of History to honour the memory of Dr. Geoffrey Bilson, a member of the department who died suddenly in 1987. In addition to his academic work on American history, Geoff Bilson wrote several acclaimed works of children's fiction: the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People was established in his honour by the Canadian Children's Book Centre. The Bilson Lecture series is intended to honour both sides of Geoff Bilson's writerly interests.

For the 2008 Bilson Lecture, we are delighted to present one of Canada's leading writers of historical fiction for children, Sarah Ellis
, whose talk is entitled The Historian As Chrysanthemum. The lecture will be held Monday, November 3 at 7:30 pm at the Radisson Hotel, Room Michelangelo C (reception to follow). EVERYONE WELCOME!

Sarah Ellis was born in Vancouver. During her ten years as a children's librarian she discovered a delight in performing—in puppetry and storytelling. At the same time she became interested in writing about children's books, spending a year at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College in Boston. She now writes a review column for Quill and Quire and lectures internationally on Canadian children's books. It seems inevitable that having had this much pleasure from children's books she would one day try her hand at writing juvenile fiction herself. A dozen books later she is well and truly hooked.

Click here to learn more about Sarah Ellis and her books.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Inaugural Dave de Brou Memorial Lecture in History

On October 22, 2008, Dr. Valerie Korinek, head of the History Department and author of Roughing It in Suburbia: Reading Chatelaine Magazine in the Fifties and Sixties, will be presenting a public history lecture titled “Re-orienting Prairie History: Three Portraits of Prairie Activism."
(click on image to enlarge)

Valerie Korinek's lecture introduces members of the general public and university community to the histories of gay and lesbian communities in the prairie provinces in the post-WWII era. “Re-orienting Prairie History” utilizes three case studies of four prairie residents – Norman Dahl, Lilja Stephanson, Evelyn Rogers and Maureen Irwin – to illustrate how a more inclusive social history of the contemporary prairies challenges our pre-conceived notions of the place and its possibilities. The lecture is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation.

The lecture promises to be marvelous in its own right, but it also represents the start of something very special for our department. It is the first in a new annual lecture series created and hosted by the History Graduate Students Commitee (HGSC) in honour of the late Dave de Brou, an inspirational colleague and teacher who died suddenly in 2004.

Admission is free and all are welcome to attend. The lecture will be held at the Frances Morrison Library Theatre, 311-23rd Street East. Doors open at 6:00pm and the lecture will begin at 7:00pm. Refreshments and snacks will be provided. Contact for more information.Link

Friday, October 17, 2008



The seventh annual HUSA
History Film Series!
Kicking off with...

Forty years before Gladiator… came the greatest Roman history film ever made. This 1960 epic about rebel slaves resisting Roman rule starred Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Peter Ustinov, and Tony Curtis. It was co-directed by Anthony Mann and a young Stanley Kubrick, who went on to create hits like Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Winner of the Golden Globe Best Picture and four Oscars, Spartacus is rivalled only by Charlton Heston’s Ben-Hur (1959) for grandeur of vision and historical drama. It perennially polls as one of the top 100 films of all time, not least because, in the famous "oysters and snails" exchange between Olivier and Curtis, it boasts one of the goofiest homoerotic slip-this-past-the-censor scenes ever filmed. EVER. Don't miss it!

How much of Spartacus is history? And how much is drama? Join the revolt and come find out!

Introduced by Angela Kalinowski, Dept. of History/CMRS

DATE & TIME: Thursday, October 23 @ 5:30 p.m.

PLACE: Arts 134

ADMISSION: free! (refreshments available for a small fee)

Everyone welcome!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bill Waiser's latest book, Who Killed Jacki Bates? (Fifth House, 2008) made all of here at What's Up cry, and it seems we weren't the only ones. We cried because we were moved, and we were moved not just by the profound sadness of the story but by the skill with which Bill told it. So it comes as no surprise to us to learn that Who Killed Jacki Bates has been short-listed for three Saskatchewan Book Awards this year:

· Non-Fiction Award

· Saskatoon Award

· Book of the Year Award

See our posting of September 2nd, below, for more details relating to the book, or click here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McNally Robinson is hosting a book launch for our own Erika Dyck, who will be reading from and signing copies of her excellent new book, Psychedelic Psychiatry: LSD from Clinic to Campus on Thursday Oct 23 2008 7:30 pm in the Art Alcove of the McNally Robinson bookstore on 8th Street. Everyone welcome. (Click here to see the full list of McNally Robinson's upcoming events.)

In case you don't have your copy yet, Psychedelic Psychiatry is the tale of medical researchers (many of them right here in non-halucagenic Saskatchewan!) working to understand LSD’s therapeutic properties just as escalating anxieties about drug abuse in modern society laid the groundwork for the end of experimentation out there (or rather, around here) at the edge of psychopharmacology.

Erika, who joined us this fall,
is an associate professor in our department.
This coming Monday at noon the College of Law is presenting a public lecture you might well want to catch.

Daniel Ish
, QC, Chief Adjudicator, IAP, Indian Residential Schools, will speak on the topic of "Redressing Historical Wrongs: Indian Residential Schools Compensation". That's 12pm, Monday October 20th, in the College of Law, Room 150, Macpherson, Leslie & Tyerman Lecture Theatre. Everyone Welcome.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ever wonder what that person in the elevator with a distracted but decidedly faculty-ish air about them who exits on the sixth, seventh, or eighth floor actually teaches?
Here's your chance to find out! Because.....

The anxiously anticipated umpteenth annual
Meet the History Profs Night
is upon us
you are invited!

Thursday October 9th from 6-8pm at Louis'.

Schmooze with faculty old and young!

Network, live and unplugged, with your peers!

Chew something deep-fried and raise a glass to whatever you like!

No need for a ticket! No need to reply to this invitation! Leave your furs at home! Just turn up!

Don't miss this priceless opportunity!

Priceless, in the sense that it is absolutely free* to any student enrolled in a History or CMRS class.

Especially you.

* Admission and nibbles free, assorted beverages available for purchase
Anyone with any history welcome
In one of its more extensive outreach operations, on October 22nd the University of Saskatchewan will host a reception at the eighteenth-century London (England) home of distinguished History alum and investment banker Calvin Redlick. Calvin has had a remarkable career since sailing off from this fair floor to pursue a law degree in Wales. Read more about Calvin, his Sask roots and extensive international branches, in this 2003 profile from Green & White, the U of S alumni magazine.

Given Calvin's History background, it makes perfect sense that the featured speaker that evening will be none other than our own Bill Waiser, who will speak on the theme of "Saskatchewan 101: Making Sense of Saskatchewan History".

Monday, October 06, 2008

The link, not to say collision, between the past and the present took on an alarming currency this past summer, when Russian and Georgian forces exchanged blows. Who better to provide Saskatoonians with an informed backgrounder than our own Russian history expert John McCannon, shown here August 18th, being interviewed by Jeff Rogstad of CTV.
History faculty and family members braved the wind and rain on Sunday, October 5, to take part in the 13th Race for Recovery, held annually to raise funds for Saskatoon's Hope Cancer Help Centre.  Larry Stewart, one of the event's top fundraisers, took part in the 10k run.  John McCannon also ran the 10k,finishing 5th overall and 3rd among male runners.  Martha Smith-Norris's husband Rob and daughter Jacqueline were out in force as well, completing the 2k walk.  Congratulations, and thanks, to all the participants.
Congratulations to Walter Klaassen (fellow in CMRS, adjunct professor in History, and proud father of Dr. Frank Klaassen) on the publication of his most recent book, a biography of Pilgram Marpek, the 16th century Anabaptist leader: Marpek: A Life of Dissent and Conformity (Herald Press, 2008).

McNally Robinson will be holding a book launch, with reading and signing, in honor of this event this coming Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 7:30. Everyone welcome.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This just in:

Our friends in the Library will be hosting
History Research Help Sessions
next week, as follows:

Wednesday, October 1 at 9:30 a.m.

and repeated on
Thursday, October 2 at 2:00

Both sessions will be held in room 161 Murray Library and will provide time for hands-on practice.
These are "drop-in" sessions -- no pre-registration; interested students should just show up.
Additionally, please note that there will be a number of other subject specific drop-in library help sessions which could also be beneficial to history students.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Congratulations to Mark Meyers, our new departmental webmaster, on the very successful rollout of the MARVELLOUS New DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY WEBSITE! The site, which Mark designed and and developed in conjunction with the College of Arts and Science web gurus, is already very cool and will continue to evolve over the next while.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Current developments on the political scene remind us only too forcefully that Canada's Next Great Prime Minister may not necessarily arise from the current generation of party leaders. So it is time to look at the rising generation. Yours, perhaps.

CBC Television is ramping up for the next installment of Canada's Next Great Prime Minister, which the Ceeb describes as "the competition of a lifetime."

"Young Canadians have the ears and eyes of the nation listening to their thoughts about what would make our country even better. The competition begins online. Young Canadians aged 18-25 are invited to apply for the show and campaign to be a finalist. Through debate and challenges, the candidates are narrowed down to four who appear on CBC Television, where they engage in a heated debate on the issues facing Canada today. The audience votes and the winner receives $50,000 and a paid internship at Magna International, The Dominion Institute and the Canada-US Fulbright program. Second, third and fourth place winners also receive cash and internship prizes. "

The show airs once a year on CBC Television. As you may recall, the first time the competition was held, our very own Omeasoo Butt (currently a doctoral candidate in our department) was one of the four finalists, and she done us all proud during the live broadcast.

Graham Cunningham from CBC-TV will be on campus drumming up support and answering questions on Wednesday, September 22nd. If you are fortunate enough to have a History class that day, you may hear Mr. Graham make a brief presentation at the start of class. Otherwise, keep an eye out for him around campus (check notices in the usual non-What's Up venues), and if you have a hankering for politics, service, and setting the world right, then why not throw your hat in the ring?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Speaking of Merle Massie's forthcoming History 395.3, New Directions in Historical Research. "Wheat and Wilderness: Canadian Regions, Boundaries, and the Places in Between", you should know that the course has been moved to a new time slot in Term 2. It is now scheduled to run, starting in January, on Wednesdays from 1:30-4:30.

We apologize to anyone adversely effected by the change, but we hope that more students will be able to avail themselves of this exciting new course, the first of a new series in which a different edition of History 385: New Directions in Historical Research will be offered each year by a senior doctoral candidate teaching a seminar in his or her research field in consultation with faculty teaching mentors. Merle's course, developed in consultation with Bill Waiser and Gordon DesBrisay, promises to be fascinating and provocative. There is still space available, so if you are on the look-out for a cutting-edge, pushing-the-envelope, out-of-the-box, down-with-cliches sort of course, or know someone who is, then sign right up!
Ph.D. candidate Merle Massie features in a recent profile published in the 5 September 2008 edition of OCN: OnCampusNews. Merle explains there that "history is about creating and shaping identity", and that she is interested in the identity of this, her home province—and how she might, in fact, change it. Merle is working on two main fronts, in fact. One concerns her own doctoral research on the "transition zone" between the borreal north and the prairie south of Saskatchewan. The other concerns her forthcoming teaching in her inaugural edition of History 395.3, New Directions in Historical Research. "Wheat and Wilderness: Canadian Regions, Boundaries, and the Places in Between" (about which more below) which will inform students that the regional concepts which divide Canada into easily described units like the prairies or the north actually over-simplify Canadian history. "Perception," she explains, "is the key. When we identify regions, we impose boundaries and create static geographies, lifecycles, and economics that really have no bearing on reality. When we define Saskatchewan as a 'prairie' province only, we allow one landscape to dominate our history, politics, and culture. I'm working to change this." And so shall her lucky students be.
Bill Waiser will be reading from his newest book this Tuesday, September 16th, at 7:30 pm in the Prairie Ink restaurant of the McNalley Robinson Bookstore. Who Killed Jacki Bates? (Fifth House, 2008) begins with events on the morning of 5 December 1933, when a young RCMP constable discovered a grisly scene in the Avalon schoolyard in rural Saskatchewan. A young boy lay dead in a rented car, an apparent victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. In the car with him were his parents, who would survive both the effects of the gas and self-inflicted knife wounds only to face murder charges in their son’s death. The subsequent trial of Ted and Rose Bates ranks as one of the most hotly debated in Saskatchewan history. Bill examines an incident long held up as an example of the sheer despair and bureaucratic heartlessness of the Depression and shows that the truth is much more complex. Bill's carefully researched take on the Jackie Bates story was first presented to the public as an episode of his celebrated "Looking Back" tv series on the CBC. One regular What's Up correspondent reports that he wept when he first heard Bill tell the story, though he went to add that the story will make you think and reflect as well as cry.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bring Out Your Money!

Professor John Porter is a desperate man.

Desperate, that is, to support the CMRS Program in the guise of his alter ego (that's Latin, by the way):

Professor Porter has signed up for Easter Seals Superhero Drop Zone 2008. If we can raise enough money in
the next little while, he will be joining others in rappelling off the top of the 22-story Carlton Tower in downtown Saskatoon on Sept. 12.

The people who do
this, do so in costume, so you will not only get to see Prof. Porter jump off a building (a wish that has occurred to many) but will see him do so in the guise of CMRS MAN.

We need to raise a good deal of money for this to happen, but it's for a good cause, so dig deep!
Easter Seals Canada is a registered charity dedicated to serving children, youth and adults with disabilities, striving to ensure that no one is left behind. More than 100,000 Canadians and their families annually access programs and services provided by Easter Seals organizations across Canada.

Its best known services are the Easter Seals camp programs. In 2008, 22 camps across Canada provided camp opportunities to more than 6,000 kids with disabilities. Since 1949, an estimated 160,000 children with disabilities have attended Easter Seals camps.

Help John Porter help Easter Seals and plummet in terrifying safety from a tall building. You can find the details at:

Please give generously.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Let's all give a warm What's Up welcome to Erika Dyck. Erika is a native of our fair town, and first gained fame, if not fortune, completing an MA here under the supervision of our very own Valerie Korinek. After earning her Ph.D. at McMaster University, Erika, a specialist in medical history, joined the University of Alberta on a joint appointment to both the Faculty of Medicine and the History Department. Her ship has now come in, however, and she returns to this department as an Associate Professor.

The fact that Erika has now joined us is reason enough for celebration. But wait! There's more!

Erika's new book is just out. Psychedelic Psychiatry: LSD from From Clinic to Campus (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2008). The book blows the lid off the spectacular counterculture myths about LSD, which turns out to have been very much a Saskatchewan product. It came about at at time when Saskatchewan's reputation as the North American home of universal health care, and the Tommy Douglas government's willingness to spend money on medical research, attracted skilled scientists from across Canada and beyond to this campus and to facilities around the province. The ultimate anti-establishment drug came about thanks to earnest and highly skilled medical researchers conducting well-funded research at the leading edge of psychopharmacology. Click here to learn more, and be sure to add terrific new book to your personal collection.

And in case you were wondering, you can rest easy (or disappointed, as the case may be): this book was printed on Acid-free paper.

Monday, August 11, 2008

This just in! A What's Up World Exclusive!

One of our very most loyal correspondents captured this action shot of our very own Dr. Lisa Smith just moments after she wed our dear friend (and, indeed, her dear friend) Mark Gudgeon this past weekend in London. Lisa and Mark have been a commuting couple for some time, plying the friendly skies from Saskatoon to Heathrow and back. This coming year Lisa is on sabbatical in, of all places, London. Needless to say (but we'll say it anyway) all of us here at What's Up wish the happy couple a very Merry Marriage!
It seems like not so long ago that star reporter Wendy Gillis, make that Star Phoenix reporter Wendy Gillis, was a History student. In fact, it was not so long ago at all. Wendy graduated this past May with a double honours degree in History and Something Else.

Believe it or not, writing essays was never enough for Wendy. Not enough writing, that is. Wendy always intended to parlay her History degree into a career in journalism, and she worked hard to get to where she has already got. As of June, she was still Editor-in-Chief of the Sheaf (in which capacity she appears here, lobbying for improved funding for the paper), and she is a former intern and frequent contributor to Explore: A Journal of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan published by our friends over at the Research Communications Office. These days, Wendy covers the city beat for the Star Phoenix. Her byline has appeared regularly on the front page in recent days, including today's sad lead on the death of a Saskatchewan soldier in Afghanistan, and last week's gut-churning review of the rides at this year's Ex. Just goes to show that with talent and hard work you can witness history unfolding and write for pay.
Congratulations to Steve Cavan, who for many years taught Classics at the U of S. Thousands of you will know Steve from his famous "Myths" class. Steve no longer teaches for us, but our loss is beers gain. Steve is the founder and commander-in-chief of the increasingly celebrated Paddock Wood Brewery, whose hand-crafted beers are made here and sold now in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC. Besides drinking real good, Steve's beers continue to garner awards. Not just those illegible little foil medallion thingys the Germans slap on their bottles, either, but real awards like Best Canadian Lager 2008, which the Calgary Beer Festival recently bestowed on Paddock Wood's wondrous Black Cat Lager, and the even more prestigious Best Locally Brewed Beer award from Planet S Magazine. As Steve says, "Think Globally. Drink Locally."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Diefenbaker Canada Centre of the University of Saskatchewan is looking for a few good students.

Our friends over at the Dief (located on our own fair campus) have part-time job openings available for museum interpreters.

They are looking for current U of S students in their second or third years of undergraduate study, generally, and since History Students are, by definition, good students, then that suggests that you might well be qualified for a job!!! And a rather nice and interesting (and indoor!) job, at that. Indeed, you might well be well qualified. (Please Note: as an equal-opportunity employer, the Diefenbaker Centre of Canada requires of applicants neither goose-stepping abillities nor a Communist Party affiliation. )

To learn more, check out the ad at the usask student employment website or just click here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

All hail the new chief!

Even by the relentlessly upbeat standards of this wee blog, it is worth noting that every single member of the What's Up team wishes to express their delight at news that Professor Valerie Korinek has agreed to serve as the new Head of the Department of History. Many of you already know Valerie, who is a distinguished historian of women in Canada with many publications to her name, and a fine teacher and colleague. Valerie's three-year term began July 1, and she has already moved into the Big Office and rolled her metaphorical sleeves up.

Excellence starts at the top in the History Department
, and Valerie's most immediate distinguished predecessor is Brett Fairbairn, an outstanding department head who left the seventh floor at the end of June to take on the more onerous and possibly almost as august post of
Provost and Vice-
President Academic
of the whole shebang, in which capacity he more or less runs this university. And rightly so.

Obviously, historians should always be in charge of everything, and so it is especially fine to report that a historian finally is.

Especially seeing as how its Brett. Brett Fairbairn led us from strength to strength and left us in fine shape -- to the extent that he has left us. He may wear a suit more often, but he remains, of course, a Professor of History and a fully paid-up member of this department. For his past and future service and for our ongoing ties, we are most grateful.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

We here at What's Up and all our colleagues in the History Department are delighted to welcome Robert Englebert as our newest faculty member. Robert joins us from the University of Ottawa, to which he will return briefly this fall to defend his doctoral dissertation, Beyond Borders: Mental Mapping and the French River World in North America, 1763–1805”.

Denizens of the French River World, flinging in earnest

We mention this partly by way of introducing Robert Englebert to the far-flung What's Up community, but also to alert the less flung among you to the possibility that you might like to take a fling with his History 450.6, "French Canada Before 1800".

History 450.6 is an honours seminar that explores French North America writ large, from the European settlements on the shores of the St. Lawrence River to a sprawling French Atlantic empire that included the marshes of New Orleans, the gateway to the West in St. Louis, the sugar islands of the Caribbean, and the winding river valleys of the Canadian northwest. Students will soak up life on the powerful river highways of this continent that captured the imaginations of thousands of young men, who set out seeking work and high (if sometimes damp) adventure. The rivers they traveled, the peoples they encountered, the women they married, and the settlements they built came to define much of the interior of North America for nearly two hundred years. The French and the British both came as strangers to strange lands, but they quickly developed far different patterns of settlement. Among the French, policies of alliance and accommodation underscored numerous mixed unions with native women, which solidified alliances and gave rise to new peoples. French North America was very much about new encounters and old friends, and thus this course will explore the processes of interaction and m├ętissage in its different forms throughout the French river world.

And speaking of new encounters .... Why not enroll in History 450.6 and see for yourself just how cooly the river runs through it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

History, like Rust, never sleeps. Which is why the History Department keeps on developing fresh new courses for your scholarly delectation.

A "Special Topics" course is a designation reserved for new courses being offered on a one-off or trial basis. Courses numbered x99.6 or x98.3 are Special Topics courses. Sometimes, Special Topics courses arise because a faculty member is new to the department, and once they settle in their x98.3 and x99.6 courses will be converted to permanent status. More often, a Special Topics course represents a new departure for an established faculty member, usually in line with their recent research. These courses (which are fully developed and pass through a rigorous approval system at the departmental, college, and university level before joining our other distinguished course offerings) offer students the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research and analysis, and give faculty the opportunity to present their latest ideas to a discerning audience of learners whose own inputs and responses are likely, in turn, to shape the instructor's thoughts on the matter. After all, teaching something is one of the best ways to learn something.

Having said all that, we have a number of fresh and exciting Speical Topics courses on offer for the coming regular season of 2008-09, including the following new, multi-media honours seminar that draws on John McCannon's expertise in bringing film, literature, art, and music to bear on the political, social, and historical realities of the USSR under Lenin and Stalin:


Enlist NOW for
History 498.2 (section 2)
Utopia in Power: Soviet Art and Culture, 1917-1953

2008-2009 Term 2 (winter 2009)
Monday @ 10:30-1:20pm
(note unusual time slot!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

(Left to right): Simonne Horwitz, Mimi Badamuti, Inez Stephney (Human Sciences Research Council, Cape Town) and Saruto Labbo. Photo by Pamela Parlapiano
“It’s very fitting that we are here in a site that’s linked to rebellion and resistance. In my own work on Westfort (a leprosy hospital that’s just outside of Pretoria) from about 1890-1948, one of the themes that I constantly find is that the authorities tried to segregate and oppress people by gender, by race and by their disease. They were constantly trying to segregate them to take away their identity. Yet, it was very clear that people fought against that . . . . Yesterday there was a talk about the political prisoners signing their names and it’s the same with Mr. Pipe who was at Westfort . . . . a man who wrote to the newspapers, not as a person affected by leprosy, but as a person . . . . There were a number of occasions where the women patients, for example, had a sit down strike and refused to work until they were called by their names . . .”

-- Simonne Horwitz, when she was based at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at Oxford
Those eloquent words are to be found on the website of the Oral History Project of the International Leprocy Association Global Project on the History of Leprosy, and they can serve as a good introduction to Simonne Horwitz and the work that she does.

Dr. Simonne Horwitz (Oxford D.Phil, 2007) is one of the newest members of our department. Some of you may know Simonne already, as she recently completed a two-year Canada Research Chair Post-doctoral Fellowship under the direction of Jim Miller, and has already taught a brilliant senior research seminar, History 488.3: Topics in the History of Development, in which she and her students explored the history of health care, including the AIDs crisis, in Africa. We here at What's Up are delighted to report that Simonne will be offering History 488.3 again this coming year, in Term 1.

Indeed, now that Simonne is a full-time member of our department, she has the privilege of teaching more classes. And if you are fortunate enough to be a U of S undergraduate then you might just be eligible for the privilege of taking her ground-breaking new course:
History 299.6
Africans on the Move:
The History of Voluntary and Involuntary Migration in, and from,
Africa between the Earliest Times and the Present.

History 299.6 marks a new era for the History Department, as it offers our first comprehensive survey of African history. Click here and scroll to page 20 of the 2008-09 Handbook of History Programs and Courses for a description of History 299.6, which runs Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 3:50.

Anybody, just anybody, can read about History 299.6 in the Handbook. But the following informal non-binding description comes to you by way of an exclusive scoop available only to What's Up readers and whoever they care to tell.

Sources close to What's Up recently obtained access to the following email from Dr. Simonne Horwitz herself, leaked here for the first time and presented in unedited form:

I'm very excited about teaching this class - it is the class I have always wanted to teach - a thematic history of Africa.*

It is basically an introduction to African history - from its inception (out of Africa thesis; hominids et al) through the development of the great Ancient African trading kingdoms of Songhay, Mali and Ghana (lots of gold and slaves and wives), we will look at slavery, colonialism and patters of labour migration. Of course there will also be a section on movement and health. We will end by looking at the brain drain from Africa and the refugee crisis. I'm bringing back primary documents from South Africa and promise quite a bit of group work - and some movies (if I can get my hands on them).
* When the always up-beat Dr. Horwitz says she is excited, she is really excited.

As this once-secret memo reveals, even as we speak Dr. Horwitz is in South Africa collecting primary documents, films, and other materials that students in History 299.6 can expect to encounter. (And on her honeymoon, to boot! Congratulations, Simonne & Dwight!)

There is a lot of buzz surrounding this newly approved course, and rightly so, because it opens up important new avenues of exploration for our students (and their cousins in adjacent fields, such as Anthropology and International Studies), and allows them to work with a dynamic instructor bursting with fresh and challenging ideas.

As of this posting there are still places available in History 299.6, "Africans on the Move: The History of Voluntary and Involuntary Migration in, and from, Africa between the Earliest Times and the Present." If you are reading this now you must already be online, which means that enrolling in History 299.6 could be just a hop, skip, and click away!
When historians engage in research that has an especially close connection to the here-and-now, the responsibility to enter into the public arena can sometimes loom large. Jim Miller is one who takes the role of 'public intellectual' very seriously. When Jim weighs in on contentious matters such as treaty rights or residential schools, he does so in an effort to and in the spirit of restoring historical context and accuracy to debates that, like so many on contentious issues, are inclined to degenerate into sloganeering, polemics, and mutual incomprehension. Jim's interventions are all the more effective for the straight talk, clarity, and concision with which he states a case. For the latest example of how historians can best serve the public interest, click here or here to read Jim's opinion piece in yesterday's Globe and Mail (June 27th): "The next residential schools chapter: No truth, no reconciliation".

Friday, June 20, 2008

Students fortunate enough to be taking History courses in the coming year have lots of fascinating options. Take (as it were) History 395.3, New Directions in Historical Research, a new (and, indeed, new kind of) course that we will offer each year with a different instructor and topic. The approval process for establishing History 395.3 as a regular offering was only recently completed, and we are now pleased to announce details of the inaugural edition, just in time for registration:

History 395.3 (T2)
New Directions in Historical Research.

Wheat and Wilderness: Canadian Regions, Boundaries, and the Places in Between

Unless you have an outrageously large monitor or freakishly good eyes,
click on image to enlarge

History 395.3, New Directions in Research is designed with two related goals in mind. One is to help top Ph.D. candidates prepare for careers founded on the teacher-scholar model by giving them the opportunity to design and deliver an upper-level course in their field of specialty. The other is to provide our senior History undergrads with a unique opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research and methodologies while gaining insight not only into the world of advanced graduate study, but also into the process by which a researcher becomes a teacher.

Teaching this class is a mark of distinction that ABD doctoral candidates in our department compete for via course proposals submitted to the department. ("ABD" or "all but dissertation" means that they have completed all their training and are engaged in researching and writing a book-length doctoral dissertation -- a.k.a. thesis -- based on original and ground-breaking research; the last step prior to being crowned with a Ph.D. and sent off into the world to become a professor.

This first edition of History 395.3 will be taught by Merle Massie and will build upon her own research in Western Canadian history. Many of you will already know Merle as a published author, experienced T.A., and a dynamic public speaker. At last month's Buffalo Province History Conference Merle won a 'best-in-show' award for a conference presentation based on material germane to this course.

The History Department calls History 395.3 a "mentored course", mainly because each year one or more faculty mentors will be assigned to advise the instructor on course design, assignments, and assessment, and to confer with them as the course unfolds. This year, Merle Massie will have the backstage support of faculty mentors Bill Waiser and Gordon DesBrisay. And that's not all. Merle will be in no danger of running short of advice and support, because History 395.3 is a decidedly bi-lateral affair. Students, it turns out, also know a thing or two about teaching, and so there will also be "mentoring from below" as students in the class observe, comment on, and participate in the development of the course.

Sounds like a win-win situation? That's the idea.

If you or someone you love (or even someone you are not all that fond of, but, you know, respect) are in the market for a history course that promises to connect you to the worlds of grad studies, cutting-edge research, and the craft of teaching, then be sure to consider History 395.3. You might also consider 395 as a useful companion to our methodology course for Honours students, History 397.3, Approaches to History (T1).

For the entire splendid array of History Department 2008/09 course offerings, click here.

Loyal readers will already know that What's Up holds the new online exhibition sponsored by the Library, Persuassion: Print Advertising and Advocacy on the Prairies, in high regard. Indeed, we couldn't resist posting another fabulous image from the site. But it turns our that it is even better than we thought! We sent one of our crack reporters to cover yesterday's gala opening of the exhibit, a ritzy shirt-and-pants affair attended by an array of campus luminaries. Gordon DesBrisay represented the History Department in a hotly contested quiz on Saskatchewan advertising trivia, a topic on which he is an acknowledged non-expert. Curator Neil Richards then made a presentation that revealed that Persuassion is much, much more than a pretty site. It is structured in such a way as to make it an ideal teaching and research tool, suitable for advanced high school students and way on up. Click here, for example, to explore the pull down menus for "themes", "strategies", and "educational resources", among others, or to search the site.

Monday, June 16, 2008

“I started research in the field of Native-newcomer relations because I was perplexed by what I saw around me. Like most Canadians who think about the matter today, I wondered why things were so messed up, why were relations so bad between us, and why do Aboriginal communities very often have such serious socio-economic and health problems? How did it get like this?”

Last week, Jim Miller (not for the first time) reminded us all of how historians can make a difference in the here and now, helping to shape the present and future by skillfully and thoughtfully unveiling the past. Through his research, writing, engagement with public policy debates, and appearances on radio and television, Jim has played an important role in helping to make the story of Canada's residential schools a central pillar of Canadian history and Canadian identities. And as the above words attest, Jim Miller brings clarity and a no-nonsense approach to a matter of enormous complexity and controversy in Canada.

Last Wednesday, Jim featured prominently in CBC Newsworld's live coverage of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's historic apology on behalf of Canada's government for more than a century of abuse inflicted on natives at the schools. In offering his thoughtful expertise and analysis of the day's events, Jim did our department and the university proud -- indeed, early returns suggest that Jim's comments on television and in print reached an audience of 15.4 million people.

Jim Miller not only analysed the news last Wednesday, he made some himself: on the very day that the Harper Government offered its apology for the residential school system, it also announced that Jim had been awarded $1.4 million from the federal Canada Research Chair (CRC) program to renew his senior research chair in Native-Newcomer Relations, and to advance his current study of the truth and reconciliation process, and how churches and the federal government have attempted to make amends with residential school victims.

The renewal of Jim's CRC follows a rigorous review process, and attests once again to the quality and impact of the work Jim and his graduate students and postdoctoral researchers have produced in recent years. The grant is for seven years, and will allow Jim and his team to continue to inform our national debates. Click here for further details contained in the official University of Saskatchewan press release.

Friday, June 06, 2008

“Historians and archaeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and the most faithful reflections that any society ever made of its entire range of activities.” Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), Canadian communications theorist.

Marshall McLuhan was himself a master of the provocative soundbite, and prouncements like the one above seemed designed not so much to state a case as to dare anyone to refute it.

McLuhan's words also serve as the starting point for PERSUASION: Print Advertising and Advocacy on the Prairies a marvellous new online digital exhibit curated by Neil Richards for the University of Saskatchewan Library's Special Collections Department, the University of Saskatchewan Archives, and the Diefenbaker Centre. Through the presentation of over 600 exhibits it explores how print advertising and advocacy influenced and/or reflected the West's social, economic and political development. A year in the making, the site was released to the public last week: Check it out at And once you have read all the fascinating text and explored the site, treat yourself to the "random images" selection, here.
Congratulations to Gary Zellar, current and as we speak still the undisputed newest member of our department, whose book African Creeks: Estelvste and the Creek Nation was recently (2007) published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

From the publisher: "Among the Creeks, they were known as
Estelvste—black people—and they had lived among them since the days of the first Spanish entradas. They spoke the same language as the Creeks, ate the same foods, and shared kinship ties. Their only difference was the color of their skin. Professor Zellar’s book tells how people of African heritage came to blend their lives with those of their Indian neighbors and essentially became Creek themselves. Taking in the full historical sweep of African Americans among the Creeks, from the sixteenth century through Oklahoma statehood, Zellar unfolds a narrative history of the many contributions these people made to Creek history."

For more information, click here for the publisher’s website.

Friday, April 04, 2008

As those of you heading into your fourth year of the History Honours program prepare to meet with a faculty advisor (see below!) and so forth, you should also know about a $1,700 scholarship that students must apply for in order to be considered for, let alone win . The Kathleen McKenzie Scholarship is awarded by the Department of History annually to student entering the fourth year of an Honours program in History who has received the highest cumulative average across all courses compared to others who apply.

Do you think for a moment that Lucas B. Lucre (B.A. hons), seen right, ever regretted applying? To this day, he likes to take out his scholarship money and count it just to remind himself of how very great he is. And that's the point, because for all you know you might be great, too! But you won't know unless you apply.
To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must have completed 90 cu applicable to their History Honours degree, including at least 18 cu in History. The minimum academic standard is a grade average of 75 overall and 80 or better in History. The recipient must enroll in at least 18cu in his or her fourth year. Deadline for applications is April 30th, and the selection will be made by June 15th. Click here for the application form, or pick one up next time you are on the 7th floor.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Department of History is home to the Prairie Region of the SSHRC-funded Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE), proud sponsor of tomorrow's public lecture by Dr. David Schindler, who holds the Killam Memorial Chair and is Professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta. Professor Schindler is one of Canada's leading researchers, and a fine public speaker to boot. In "Are the Prairies Running Dry? Western Canada's Freshwater Supply in the 21st Century", he will discuss how natural drought, climate warming, damage to drainage patterns, and human water demands will cause water shortages in the prairies in the next few decades. Thursday April 3, 2008 at 4:00p.m. in Convocation Hall on the question of Everyone welcome!