Thursday, March 27, 2008

Historians established some years back that our Victorian fore-parents did indeed have sex.

Now, in the course of the Jessie Caldwell Memorial Lecture to be delivered to the Saskatoon Archaeological Society this Friday, March 28th, at 7:30 in room 132 of the Archaeology Building here on campus, our very own
Chris Kent (seen left in dapper modern garb) aims to take counter-intuitive scholarship a well-heeled step further. In "How To Dress Like a Victorian Gentleman", Chris will explain that "the Victorian gentleman was not eternally clad in a tubular outfit of boring bourgeois basic black." [Which, now that we think of it, may help to explain how they managed to have sex, after all.] "In fact gentlemen's dress styles varied widely, more so than they do today in colour, cut, and detail. It was the mark of a gentleman to demand distinctive features in his clothing, and the gentleman's tailor was only too happy to oblige, since such features generally added to the cost of the clothes, and were a mark of their being custom tailored." Drop by the Archaeology Building on Friday evening to learn more. Everyone welcome.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Introducing the

History Undergraduate Program & Course Guide


The Spring and Summer 2008 Course Offerings

As a special favour to our loyal What's Up readers, we are providing you with a sneak preview of the online edition of the regular season Handbook and the Spring and Summer supplement at no extra cost! Truth be told, this online edition will be updated whenever the Handbook is tweaked, and so watch this site!, because the Handbook you click on here will actually be even more up-to-date and authoritative than the pretty-darn-authoritative-and-rather-more-portable printed version set to appear early next week at a History Department General Office near you!

Just imagine how jealous your friends will be when they learn that you not only already know what courses will be offered by the History Department next year, but that you even know when they will be offered! That's right! Next year's Timetable is included in the Handbook at no extra cost! We ask only that you play fair and resist the temptation to take undue advantage of the power this knowledge unleashes in you.


The release of THE BOOK means, of course, that ADVISING SEASON is upon us!

The History Department will be primed and ready to go when you turn up at the appointed time to meet with a friendly faculty advisor.

What's that, you say? You don't have an appointed time?

It's not too late. History Faculty will be slopping advice around like opinionated drunken sailors during designated morning and afternoon hours from Monday March 31st to Friday April 25th.

So don't miss out. Go to the 7th Floor, follow the signs, and SIGN UP for an appointment with a faculty advisor. Your future in the past awaits you!

Bill Waiser, as seen on radio: Earlier today Bill Waiser was interviewed on CBC Radio's nationally broadcast Sounds Like Canada program with regard to the book he edited of Everett Baker photographs that captured everyday people doing everyday things in Saskatchewan in the 1940s and 1950s. To hear the interview in Real Player, click here and scroll down past the baby with colic.
The final CMRS Colloquium of the year will be held this Friday, when CMRS Fellow Ryan Pederson (B.A. hons, M.A. U of S, Ph.D. SUNY Binghamton), will present
"Instantiating an Ethos: Noble Violence & Chivalric Discourse in Early Modern France"
The Reception gets uncorked at 4 pm, the Talk begins at 4:30, and it all happens in STM 344B

All are welcome.

Exclusive! These action pics from the recent History Graduate Banquet held at Boffins convey just a pale sense of the fun and conviviality of the event, as this image of beaming students and proud faculty attests. Not, however, that the event was without a darker side, as captured below when Undergrad Director G.R. DesBrisay had his grandmother's famous shortbread recipe snatched by unknown assailant Margaret Robbins. Click on either photo to enlarge.

And Click Here to see more scenes of that happenin' scene.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This one is worth getting all bold about.

Those of you who know your First World War may have heard about Lord Kitchener's
Pals Brigades. That was a recruiting campaign to lie down and avoid. (Don't mention the Somme!) Thankfully, this recruiting campaign isn't like that at all.

As many of you already know, there is a fairly huge discrepancy on campus between the number of work/study employment opportunities available to students in the sciences and the scant few such opportunities available to history students. That may be about to change.

The University Learning Centre is looking for a few good students to serve their fellow students and generally advance the cause of university civilization by undertaking to work as PALS, Peer Mentors engaged in Peer Assisted Learning.

PALs work with ULC coordinators and professors on a variety of academic support projects and initiatives serving U of S students, including:
  • providing guidance for Learning Communities for first-year Arts and Science students
  • leading Structured Study Sessions for traditionally difficult courses
  • organizing and leading Communication CafĂ© sessions for ESL and EAL students in the Global Commons
  • leading small-group Study Skills workshops for undergraduate students
  • contributing to the development and delivery of Community Service-Learning events
  • working with the Math and Stats Help Centre programs
Ok, so that last bit might not be required of the likes of you. Where strong history students might come in especially handy, PALS-wise, is in
  • assisting junior students with their writing in a discipline-specific way.
As our friends (pals, even) over at the the PALs Recruiting Office put it, "Strong students can offer support to their peers, and, in so doing, bolster the quality of student commitment and effort in the courses we teach." Amen to that.

As for what your university can do for you, in return for working with the ULC to help other students succeed, PALs receive valuable experience, ongoing training, a support system and a place to prepare their work or collaborate, and an honorarium equivalent to (Canadian) tuition for one or two 3CU classes.

In an ideal world, wouldn't all historians be pals? And wouldn't all PALs be historians?

The deadline for applying for a PAL-ship is fast approaching. Very fast. Like, tomorrow, Friday, March 28th (extended from an earlier deadline.)

To learn more, click here or here or call Donna at the ULC, 966-2886. Do it now!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Historians are creatures of chronology, so you are no doubt accustomed to reading this blog from the bottom up. In which case, you could be forgiven for thinking that grad students have all the fun. But that is not necessarily the case. Or not necessarily always the case, at any rate.

Why, this very month, the Department of History and the History Undergraduate Students Association are hosting the annual
History Graduation Banquet
Thursday, March 13th, 6:30 pm
Boffins Club*
(Located at Innovation Place, here on campus.)

Come celebrate your impending graduation! Or that of your friends and/or loved ones! Celebrate whomever you like! Whatever you like! Just don't miss it.

Family and Friends and Faculty Welcome!
Fun for the whole posse!
(Or crew, if people still have crews.)

Tickets are $25 each, and can be reserved in advance by emailing

buy or reserve in advance and in person,
this Thursday, March 7th from a pizza-slinging HUSA rep posted outside Arts 156
from 10:am to 2pm.

* Artists conception. Boffins Club, fine though it is, is not exactly as pictured above.

As you can imagine, the grad student community is all aflutter over the impending momentous events scheduled for this Friday, March 7th. Take a deep breath, and get this.

First, there is the HISTORY GRAD STUDENTS COLLOQUIUM, downstairs in the Faculty Club, starting at 3:30 and featuring the following presentations:

Lesley Wiebe: "A Historical Analysis of Amebiasis Among Indians in Northwest Saskatchewan"
Karin Tate-Penna: "The Divinity of the Imperial House: Rome's emperor cult and the deification of women under Trajan and Hadrian."

As if that isn't enough, hot on the heels of that event comes the annual HISTORY GRAD STUDENTS COMMITTEE BOOK PUB, on the main floor of the Faculty Club in the Window Room from 5-7pm.

Come bid on a wide variety of history books, at least one microwave oven, and perhaps on student research assistants who will be auctioned off to the highest bidding faculty members. Undergrad and grad students alike are invited to bid on the books and the microwave.

Not only do you stand to walk away with some fine literature and perhaps a perfectly functional small appliance, but when it is all over and you slope off into the night in search of another drink, you will know that you have contributed to a number of worthy causes. All proceeds go towards sponsoring HGSC events, the Buffalo Conference, and the Dave Debrou Memorial Scholarship in History.
Speaking of Mark Meyers (see below; seen on the right), we are delighted to report that the editorial board of the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association (JCHA) recently announced that Mark has won the award for the best article in the 2007 print issue of the journal. "'Your brain is no longer your own!': Mass Media, Secular Religion, and Cultural Crisis in Third Republic France" was based on the paper that Mark presented at last year's CHA meeting here in Saskatoon. The award will be presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the CHA in Vancouver. Congratulations, Mark!
Do you like our new outfit?

The whole team of us here at What's Up is delighted with the renovations underway on the departmental website, which is shaping up very nicely indeed under the command of Mark Meyers and College of Arts and Science webmaster Jason Belhumeur.

Stay tuned for further advances.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The entire What's Up team has been enamored for some time with the electronic book revolution, and things seem to have taken an even more interesting turn of late. So if you have never bookmarked or favourite-ed a url in your live, now is the time to do so with Live Search Books. Because Microsoft moves in mysterious ways. Having provided the historical world (in fact, the whole world) with the great gift of Live Search Books, they have made it weirdly hard to find the link you need to get at those tens of thousands of tomes old and new. But we here at What's Up have done the heavy lifting, so just save that link and you will be in business.

The two main sites for books on the open web are Google Books and Microsoft's rival version, Live Search Books. In general, Google Books has a larger selection, but Microsoft has a big advantage so far as new books are concerned. Some publishers allow Google Books readers access to up to 10% of a given book's content. This is very useful in many cases, but you can rarely access more than 5 or so pages in a row before running into pages that are withheld -- fair enough, they want you to buy the book.

Publishers working with Live Search Books, however, grant up to 20% access to a book's content (once you enroll and sign up -- free, just need an email account) and that 20% can be contiguous. It might well, for example, include a complete chapter in a book of essays. You cannot print effectively from these current books (out-of-copyright works can be dowloaded and printed in part or in whole as pdf files from either Google Books or Live Search Books), but, hey, you can read. In many cases the books are not in the library or out on loan, or just too new to be found elsewhere.