Thursday, November 24, 2011

Money money money!

Congratulations are in order for two groups!  This month I received the happy news that the Canadian Journal of History (housed in the department) and Geoff Cunfer were successful in their recent research grant applications.

The CJH has received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.  Geoff has received a Research Acceleration Program grant from the university to support his international Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Group.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This just in!

Simonne Horwitz was heard just this morning speaking about Canadian and South African racial policy on CBC Radio:

Monday, November 21, 2011

HUSA Movie Night

The History Undergraduate Students' Association is hosting its first movie night of the year.  Come join HUSA for a screening of 300.

Date: Tuesday, November 22nd
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: Timlin Theatre (Arts 241).  

Professor Angela Kalinowski will be providing a special introduction.

If you can't come, "There will be no glory in your sacrifice"! Or something.

HGSC Christmas Party!

The History Graduate Student Committee is excited to invite you to the HGSC Christmas Party and fundraiser.

When: December 2
Time: 5 p.m.
Where: Grad Commons
Cost: $10 (students) or $15 (faculty and guests)

Banana (Musa coccinea Andr.), c.1885. Credit: Wellcome Library

A Christmas dinner with turkey, ham, a full compliment of sides and desserts as well as vegetarian options will be provided by the HGSC. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for faculty and guests, with faculty tickets including one free drink.

Tickets can be purchased from any member of the HGSC executive ( or from Nadine in Arts 721.

This years' theme is a tropical Christmas, so wear your best (worst) Hawaiian shirt and resort attire. Along with the dinner, activities will include an ornament exchange, photobooth, raffle and signature drinks. If you wish to participate in the ornament exchange, please bring an ornament with you to the party.

For more information see or contact our social directors, Stephanie Bellissimo and Christian Elcock.

It will be a family friendly event and everyone is welcome. We look forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Solutions for a New Saskatchewan

Earlier this month, Bill Waiser wrote a commentary on the recent Saskatchewan election.  You can check it out at: 

His main question: is there really a Saskatchewan Advantage?

Monday, November 07, 2011

4th Annual Dave De Brou Memorial Lecture

The History Department and the History Graduate Students Committee are proud to host the fourth annual Dave De Brou Memorial Lecture.

This annual lecture is a tribute to the late Professor Dave De Brou, who was the head of the History Department.

Our speaker this year will be award winning professor Simonne Horwitz. Dr. Horwitz will be giving the lecture: "Apartheid in a Parka?: A Historical Analysis of the links between Canadian and South African Racial Policy."

Where: Library Theatre, Frances Morrison Library (311 23rd - Street East)

When: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Time: Doors 6:30 p.m., Lecture 7:00 p.m.
Cost: Free

This event is open to anyone who would like to attend. 
Beverages and refreshments to follow the lecture.     

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

HUSA and HGSA Halloween Party

All History grad and undergrad students, postdocs, staff and faculty are welcome to attend!

Date: Friday, October 28
Time: 5 p.m.
Place: Grad Commons

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Distinguished Chair Celebration

Bill Waiser, Distinguished Chair

Earlier this month, the Faculty of Arts and Science held a celebration for Bill Waiser and Ron Steer (Chemistry) who had recently been named Distinguished Chairs.  As part of the celebration, Bill was expected to explain History to chemists and Ron was to explain Chemistry to historians.

Although the natural division of the room into disciplinary sides, as like gravitated toward like, did not seem to bode well, both speakers eloquently explained the importance of their work and did, in fact, find common ground.

The 'History' Side, amused during Bill's talk

Bill spoke to the need for history in the modern world, particularly in terms of encouraging an engaged citizenry.  He discussed the thirst of the general public to know more about their past and the way in which historians constantly revise our understanding of the past as new questions arise.  Ron told us that he discovered his subject because he wanted to know what would happen when he shone light on molecules -- and stressed the necessity of continued funding for curiosity-driven research, which is what his own work had always been.

In a week when a local journalist had attacked curiosity-driven humanities research, the emphasis of both speakers on the role of new questions in driving innovation was a particularly welcome message for the audience.

Congratulations to Bill and Ron for being named Distinguished Chairs -- and for their masterful explanations of their work!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bietenholz Rare Book Collection

Back in 2009, Peter Bietenholz, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Saskatchewan, and his wife Doris donated their rare books to the Murray Library.  

Under the supervision of Special Collections Librarian David Bindle, a McGill MLIS student, Nina Thurlow (B.A. Hons. in CMRS) catalogued the collection as her summer practicum project.  

You can check out the collection by visiting the website ( and, if you want to take a look at any of the books, you can visit the Special Collections Library.  The Bietenholz Rare Book Collection is a significant addition to the U of S Special Collections and will prove a valuable resource for students, faculty and visiting researchers alike.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dr. Chad Gaffield Lecture

Dr. Chad Gaffield
The department is delighted to welcome Dr. Chad Gaffield (President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), who will be giving a guest lecture on "Learning, the Research T, and Engaged Scholarship : How the social sciences and humanities are helping re-imagine universities in the Digital Age".  He describes his presentation:
Universities are among the few institutions that can trace their history to the middle ages. One key reason is their ability to adapt their form and content to changing internal and external forces.  This ability is currently being tested by new insights into pedagogy, new approaches to advancing knowledge and understanding about the past and present, and new relationships with the larger society.  Each of these developments is being enabled, accelerated and influenced by digital technologies, digital content and digital literacies. If judged by public discussion in societies around the world, the current result is both promising and worrisome, both inspiring and threatening. This lecture will briefly describe the profound changes now underway on campuses across Canada and will suggest how innovative approaches in the social sciences and humanities hold significant promise for the successful re-imagining of universities in the Digital Age.
All are welcome to attend!
Date: November 1
Time: 4 p.m.
Place: Convocation Hall 

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Bilson Lecture -- tomorrow!

This is just a reminder that our Bilson Lecture is tomorrow night.  All are welcome!

Dr. Andrea Tone (McGill), “The Curious Case of Val Orlikow: Cold War Psychiatry and the CIA”.

Thursday, October 6
7 p.m.
Arts 241
University of Saskatchewan

Reception to Follow

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Meet the Profs Night 2011

The History Undergraduate Students' Association (HUSA) is hosting its annual social "soiree" of the year.

HUSA President Matthew Kerr promises:

"Get caught up in the energy of exciting and engaging conversational pursuits with faculty and your peers while feasting on an array of appetizers, and indulging in your choice of refreshments. ... Show up!  You'll be glad you did!"

Date: Wednesday, October 5th
Time: 4:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m
Place: Louis'
Cost: Free!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Felicitations, Felix!

Felix working those winking and smiling muscles

As many of your know, Erika Dyck gave birth to the charming Felix back in May.  I'm delighted to report that Felix was finally able to go home just over a week ago after spending 118 days in hospital.

Erika writes that Felix is doing well and that he "makes himself heard at every opportunity".  Happy parents Erika and John are relieved to have their son at home and are enjoying "the sleepless nights and a new rhythm of life".

Welcome home, Felix!

A very sleepy Felix with his doting mother

Monday, September 26, 2011

SSHRC Workshop for Grad Students

Interested in applying for SSHRC funding for your M.A. or Ph.D.?

The Department is hosting a workshop on Friday, September 30th from 2:30-4:30.  Come find out what makes a successful application from Lisa Smith (SSHRC Ph.D. fellowships committee member), Keith Carlson (supervisor of several SSHRC-funded grad students), and Jason Grier and Amy Samson (recent recipients).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Local Conference on Religious History

A conference on "Emerging Normativities: Examining the Formation of Proto-Orthodox Christianities and Rabbinic Judaisms 200 - 800 CE" will be held on September 21-22 at STM.

The events begin on Wednesday, the 21st from 4:00pm-10:00pm, with a conference dinner at STM from 5:30 to 6:45, followed by plenary lectures by Dr. Daniel Boyarin from the University of California, Berkeley and Dr. Anders Runesson from McMaster University.

On Thursday, September 22, speakers from across the U.S. and Canada will give presentations from 9:15 to 4:00 at the Parktown Hotel. 

Fees are as follows:
Individual - $125.00
U of S/STM Student - No Fee
Other Student - $75.00

You can register online via the STM website:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Historian's Perspective

Jim Miller  (Canada Research Chair) will be speaking to the Saskatoon Theological Union Graduate Studies Seminar on "Reconciliation and Residential Schools: A Historian's Perspective". 

All are welcome to attend.
September 29, 7:00 pm
St. Andrew’s College
Room 322.

The Bilson Lecture

Dr. Andrea Tone

The Bilson lecture, held every two years, honours the late Professor Geoffrey Bilson, a specialist in American Colonial History and Canadian Medical History.  He also wrote children's historical fiction. The focus this year is on the history of medicine.

The History Department is delighted to welcome Dr. Andrea Tone (McGill) as our Bilson Lecturer.  She will be speaking on “The Curious Case of Val Orlikow: Cold War Psychiatry and the CIA”. 
As Canada Research Chair in the Social History of Medicine at McGill University, Dr. Tone's scholarship explores women and health, medical technology, sexuality, psychiatry, and industry.  She has written and edited several books, including The Age of Anxiety: A History of America’s Turbulent Affair with Tranquilizers (2009), Medicating Modern America: Prescription Drugs in History, with Elizabeth Siegel Watkins (2007), and Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America (2001).  Currently, Dr. Tone's research (funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) focuses on the CIA and Cold War psychiatry.

Her work has been featured on ABC News, PBS, National Public Radio, the CBC, the History Channel, Newsweek, Macleans, and the New York Times.  In 2011, Dr. Tone received the American Psychiatric Association’s Benjamin Rush Award for her contributions to the history of psychiatry.

Professor Tone’s visit to the University of Saskatchewan is supported by the Geoffrey Bilson Memorial Trust Fund, the Department of History, the Humanities Research Unit, the Canada Research Chair, History of Medicine, the College of Arts and Science, and the College of Medicine.

The Bilson Lecture is open to the public.  Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, October 6

7 p.m.

Arts 241

University of Saskatchewan

Reception to Follow

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mark Your Calendars for Some Fantastic History of Medicine

History of Medicine Seminar Series, 2011-2012

Seminars are held at 4pm in the Club Room
at the Faculty Club

September 22 Gayle Davis
(U of Edinburgh)
‘Bulls, Bastards, Baseness, and Bunk: Issues Surrounding Artificial Insemination in 1950s Scotland’

October 6 Andrea Tone
            (U of McGill)
‘The Curious Case of Val Orlikow: Cold War Psychiatry and the CIA’           
November 10 Dominique Tobbell
(U of Minnesota)
‘Political Pills: The Struggle for Prescription Drug Reform in Recent U.S. History’

November 24 Leslie Baker
            (U of Saskatchewan)
‘Enabling Eugenics: The role of the Massachusetts Halifax Health Commission in the surveillance and improvement of the provincial population’

December TBA Maureen Lux
            (U of Brock)
‘North Battleford Indian Hospital: Translating and Interpreting Treaty Rights in the 1960s and 1970s’

January 19 Paul Hackett
(U of Saskatchewan)
‘Inherent Weakness: The Use of Genetic Explanations to Explain Excessive Aboriginal Mortality’

February 16 Amy Sampson
(U of Saskatchewan)
‘Social Work and Eugenics in Alberta, 1930-1970’

March 15 Jonathan Metzl
            (U of Vanderbilt)
‘The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease’

Monday, September 05, 2011

Welcome Back, Historians!

Here we are once again at the start of a new year.  Although we do academic advising in the department in the spring, it's worth starting to think about your future career even before we all get caught up in the hamster-wheel of the academic year.  Students often wonder: "what can I do with a history degree?"  Even though we all love history here, many students believe that a history degree just won't lead to a job.

Don't worry: your prospects are better than you think.  The American Historical Association has a helpful overview of what you can do with a history degree and the Canadian Historical Association provides career advice for graduate students.  For a more tangible idea of what having a history degree means, see The Guardian for a breakdown of what U.K. history graduates did.  Indeed, not only do we know that American graduates with a B.A. in History earned more over a lifetime than other humanities graduates, but it turns out that "historian" has been listed as one of the top ten jobs!

So, positive news all around.  If you're interested in learning more, drop by to chat with your profs -- and keep your eyes open for our various departmental career-related events.

Friday, September 02, 2011

T.A. Workshop

A workshop for all teaching assistants will be held on September 9 at the Faculty Club (11:30-5:00). 

The programme is as follows:
11:30 Gathering
11:45 – 12:00   Welcome – Jim Handy, Head and Lesley Biggs
12:00 – 1:00  Sandwich Buffet Lunch (courtesy of the Department)
1:00 – 1:30  Professionalism in the Classroom – Robert Englebert
1: 30 – 2:00 Marking Essays – Bill Waiser
2:00 – 2:30 Plagiarism – Simonne Horwitz
2:30 – 2: 45 Break
2:45 – 3:15: Leading Class Discussions – Lisa Smith
3: 15 – 3: 50 TAs and TAing: What I wish I knew when I started this job -- Deanna Diener, Frances Reilly, Brenan Smith
3: 50 – 4:00 Final Remarks – Martha Smith
4:00 – 5:00 Beer and chips

Lots to learn, but with lots of opportunities to socialize, too.  We look forward to catching up with our old T.A.s and meeting our new ones.  See you there!

Monday, August 22, 2011


This summer saw a few changes to our department, which alumni and students will be interested to hear about as we head into the new academic year.

For those of you who notice that Valerie Korinek is not around this term, I'm pleased to report that her absence is only temporary.  She is taking a well-deserved sabbatical after spending the last three years as our Head.  Back in May, we had a celebration for Valerie to thank her for all her hard work on our behalf. 

Valerie giving a short speech about her headship (Photo credit: Nadine Penner)

In Valerie's place, we welcome Jim Handy as department head. Valerie's speech was very instructive about the trials, tribulations and pleasures of being head.  With Jim's own journey beginning, we wish him well in his new job!

Slide from Valerie's speech (Photo credit: Nadine Penner)

Last, but not least, we bade a fond farewell to John McCannon and Pam Jordan, who have moved back to the United States to be closer to their families.  Good luck and all best wishes for your own journeys, John and Pam!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Breaking News

This just in: Bill Waiser has just been named a "Distinguished Chair" by the University of Saskatchewan.  The award is "meant to honour and celebrate exceptional achievement in research, scholarly work, or artistic work" and will be for a three year term.  Congratulations, Bill!

Friday, August 19, 2011

History Warm-Up Exercises

With term time fast approaching, it's time to start stretching your back-to-school mind muscles.  Develop your flexibility by checking out these links to historical subjects across time periods and geographical places.

A fantastic blog that was recommended by John Porter is The History Blog.  The blog keeps its beady eye on historical tidbits in the news so you don't have to.  It also occasionally posts real estate ads for choice bits of historical property.  The entry for August 18 is for a Swedish house c. 1750, complete with preserved skeleton in the basement.  How's that for living history?

For uncomfortable living history, you should take a look at the Wellcome Collection's Incurably Curious, which has photos and articles on subjects from anatomy lectures to hand x-rays, with foot-binding and peep shows along the way.

If you didn't manage to do as much travelling this summer as you would have liked, never fear -- I have rounded-up some beautiful photos for your armchair travels.  You can see a comparison of Scotland's landscape then and now: Scotland's Ever-changing Scenery.  Then take a look at John C.H. Grabill's late nineteenth-century photos from the American West: Frontier Life in the West.  Or what about a collection of photos to highlight how London has reinvented itself over the years: Vintage London: Taking in the Smoke?  And for those of you who like the raw edge of history, with a smattering of disease, grime and crime there is Dirt: The Filthy Reality of Everyday Life and Eerily Beautiful Mug Shots from 1920s Australia.

If you did take a holiday and have lots of photos or have been collecting your own set of historical photos that you want to share, you should check out Historypin.  You can also view the existing collections of historical photos already there, which includes subjects as diverse as "The Facial Hair through Time Collection", "The Street Party Collection" or "Animal in Unusual Places".  There are more serious historical ones, too, such as "The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake".

Now that you've had your fill of photographs, what about a couple history games? The McCord Museum has a fun game about gender and social roles in The Victorian Period.  I'm pleased to report that my many years working as a historical interpreter at Rutherford House at Fort Edmonton Park paid off!  The McCord also has quizzes and other games.  A game at which I was somewhat less successful is High Tea from the Wellcome Collection, which deals with the tea and opium trade of the nineteenth-century.  I'll beat it yet.

Happy time stretching!  If you come across any other fun or useful history links in the course of your exercises, please let me know.

Monday, August 08, 2011

New Book:
The Dirty Thirties in Saskatchewan

Attention Saskatchewan and environmental history buffs: alumnus Curtis McManus (B.A. 2003, M.A. 2004) sent in a notice that his book, Happyland: a history of the “Dirty Thirties” in Saskatchewan, 1914-1937, was just published by the University of Calgary Press.  Curtis, now an instructor at Lakeland College in Lloydminster, reports that the book expands on research that he began with his M.A. thesis.  His book situates the Dirty Thirties within the context of cyclical droughts rather than the economics of the Great Depression.  To find out more about the experience of Saskatchewanians and the long-term effects of cyclical drought on the Saskatchewan psyche, you can sample excerpts of the book online or (even better!) purchase the book in full from the usual suspects.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Road Warrior's Tales
from the Archives
(by Brenan Smith, M.A. Candidate in History)

Richard Nixon Library

Despite my hopes that I had mastered the art of archival research while at the Eisenhower Library, I soon learned that one always has more to learn. 

On the second research trip, for example, I discovered that while the Richard Nixon Library does indeed have more documents related to Richard Nixon than the Eisenhower Library, it has much tighter controls.  There's probably a joke about a paranoid need for control in there somewhere.

Still, I was able to conduct lots of research; I scanned an average of 858 pages per day of research.  While in Abilene, I had found that on a short research trip (as they generally are, given research funding constraints) it is easiest to find things that might be of use and scan as many of them as possible.

But in L.A. there were several complex layers added to this process.  The Nixon Library's protocol is that the researcher present the files within the folders within the boxes that s/he would like to scan before actually scanning them.  If that sounds complicated, that's because it is.  According to a fellow Canadian who was also at the Library, it was "the most ridiculous policy" that he'd ever encountered.

Another key lesson that I learned (after "know thy protocol") is that being extra polite, combined with some level of feigned (not so feigned?) helplessness, can go a long way with archivists.  The archivists were friendly and helpful -- and with each passing day, my research became easier.

And so ended my first two research trips.  I had lots of fun and discovered all sorts of great information, although some of it might only amuse other historians in my field.  I have a newfound respect and admiration of the American Interstate system (N.B. Dwight Eisenhower created it!) and I became ever more enthusiastic about my topic even as the gads of information that I gathered have made me start to worry about fitting it all in to one tiny thesis.
Fountain outside Richard Nixon Library

Monday, August 01, 2011

Fuelling History:
Tips on Diet, Health and Driving
from the History Road Warrior
(by Brenan Smith, M.A. Candidate in History)

After driving from Saskatoon to Abilene, Kansas, and spending a solid week researching at the Eisenhower Library, I thought that I had at last mastered the arts of travelling amongst Americans and archival research.  One of the most important research strategies that I discovered was forgoing lunch in order to keep up my research momentum (and which allowed me to leave half an hour early each day--when my concentration was waning anyhow, of course).

Protein bars helped in the absence of lunch (N.B. no tiger's milk included)
 Nutrition is obviously important in daily life, but doubly so during a research trip as the long grind can quickly wear one out.  Luckily the fabled In n' Out Burger was not ridiculously far from the Library, and I quickly made a vow to have nothing but two "Flying Dutchman" and a diet Coke for supper every day until I left.  Such a vow was also cost effective:  $8 American.
Flying Dutchman Burger (N.B. no bun included)
Since Los Angeles is a rather warm location, it was important to stay hydrated.  I found that the $3 bottle of Voss, an imported Norwegian water, had the distinct advantage of looking like a rather large vial of cologne, but otherwise it tasted oddly similar to tap water.

Fancy, overpriced water (N.B. tap water cheaper and better)
On the topic of heat, people in L.A. can spot a Canadian rather easily: while 23 degrees (celsius) may be shorts and sandals weather for any Ice-loving Saskatchewanian™, it is apparently considered a "cold snap" in June, and thus jeans and shoes are recommended.

Californian Flora during cold snap (N.B. no cold included)
I like to try to stay healthy even when traveling (diet notwithstanding) and I find that a good work-out relieves the stress of a long day of sitting and scanning dusty papers.  Fitness centres abound in Los Angeles, few of them affordable, and some of them not actually fitness centres as I found out when I poked my head into Fitness Grill only to be asked if I'd like a table.

Fitness Grill (N.B. no fitness included)
Driving in L.A. was a challenge, but I found that unless Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and California are the exceptions, American drivers conduct themselves in a much more polite fashion than Saskatchewanians.  I will admit that while in L.A. a local strip club manager was randomly gunned down on a South L.A. freeway, but I doubt that it had anything to do with his driving...

Coming up tomorrow -- the final installment, "The Road Warrior's Tales from the Archives"!

Editor's Note: The History Department is not promoting any of the above-mentioned products.  In any case, the thought of a bunless burger horrifies this editor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Summer Research Trip:
The Weyburn Way
(by Lucas Richert, Postdoctoral Fellow)

Correspondent Brenan Smith is by no means the only historian from our department who is on the road this summer.  Earlier this month, history of medicine enthusiasts Daniel McFarlane (3rd year undergrad), Ryan Buhay (3rd year undergrad), and I embarked on a 3-day research trip to Weyburn. Our goals: to look at the Weyburn Mental Hospital during the Great Depression and to examine the hospital’s innovative art, music, and movement therapy programs in the 1950s-1960s. To this end, we scanned microfilm, shot video, conducted an interview, and even visited the cemetery and hospital ruins. Yet the journey to Weyburn produced so much more than just intriguing historical insights!

According to Ryan, “Weyburn was quite the time.  There was blood, a disgruntled CN worker, an old-school accordion jam session of Neil Young's 'Helpless', a paper-airplane contest, the fastest water slide in history (three seconds), Boston Pizza (repeatedly), and a continental breakfast that had a 'make your own waffle' contraption. All in all, it was an epic, mind-blowing experience.”

Daniel had this to say about the fieldwork in Weyburn: “I didn’t know what to expect going into this trip, but it turned out to be a really fun and eye-opening experience. It’s amazing how helpful people are when you tell them you want to learn about their local history. The history of the Weyburn asylum is incredibly unique, and really comes alive when you talk to people who were actually there.”

We still need to do some more primary research, but are on track to finishing our respective historical projects later this summer. That said, it seems unlikely that writing-up our research will be nearly as much fun as our Weyburn fieldwork.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Digital Mapmaking

Alumna Alice Glaze (B.A. Hons. in English and History 2007, M.A. in History 2009) sent in a link from today's New York Times on the use of Geographic Information Systems to map historical information spatially.  This technique allows historians to spot information that otherwise would not be visible.  But, as Alice cast her keen eyes over the article, she spotted a reference to one U of S historian in particular...  The article refers to Geoff Cunfer's use of GIS to examine the Dust Bowl during the 1930s.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The History Road Warrior's Abilene Adventures
(by Brenan Smith, M.A. candidate)

I went to Abilene for research, but also managed to find a fantastic museum and fascinating assortment of roadside attractions.  The giant saluting "Chieftain" welcomes travellers to a motel just down the street from the town highschool.  I was impressed not only by the fact that it had zero graffiti on it, but that the people standing beside us wondered, "What does he mean by 'Aboriginal?",  when I commented on the statue to my wife.  A real cultural difference!

Louis Lamour Lane, other than being a poorly maintained street dedicated to a Western author, leads to the giant buffalo statue -- which I did not see, as it was closed to visitors without money.  (That includes travelling grad students.)

The next two pictures are the grounds at the Eisenhower museum, every part of which essentially tells the story of the Eisenhower family and how soldiers are great.

The semi-pointilist semi-pixelated Eisenhower mural is on the side of a liquor store, obviously a nice slice of Americana...

I also found a drive through liquour store, which seemed to be uniquely American.

The following pictures are from the Eisenhower Museum, including Mamie's hats.

Then... something I found both hilarious and a tad risque for the time:  "I like Ike" pantyhose and garters.  I'd never thought of such provocative campaign tools before (especially since the men were simply given branded ties).

The safe conduct pamphlet below interested me because it was a type of psychological warfare.  It guaranteed that any German soldier who surrendered would receive fair treatment, as opposed to any other treatment that German soldiers might otherwise receive.

One of the first teleprompters was also at the museum -- a great example of early technology!  Eisenhower apparently distrusted cameras and such technology, but understood the necessities of them.

Once outside the realms of the museum, I discovered the world's largest spur.

Which, in turn, reminded me of something that I should be doing:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Fateful Trip

Now sit right back and you'll read a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...

Back in September 2005, History Honours alumna (2005) Jill McKenzie was one of eight Canadians chosen for the Young Professionals International Program, which is administered by the Canadian Museums Association and supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs. For six months, Jill worked as a Junior Curator at the Migration Museum in Adelaide, South Australia.  She reviewed the Museum’s collection of Vietnamese objects to assess their relevance to the South Australian Vietnamese community's immigration and settlement history and made recommendations for future museum acquisitions. She also worked with South Australian Vietnamese community organisations to research and develop South Australian content for the exhibition, Fall of Saigon: Collected Fragments of Post 75 Generation.

After her internship, Jill worked as a curator at the Migration Museum in Adelaide and the South Australian Maritime Museum in Port Adelaide.  Jill also met her partner David (an Aussie) during her placement and they married in November last year.  She is now managing online and other public programs at History SA, but has recently applied to begin her PhD at the University of Adelaide.

What started as a six month placement has become six years! 

Jill and her husband David in Port Douglas, Queensland

"I like GPS -- it gives me direction
when I am driving."

Earlier this summer, I received news of our alumna Akira Peters (2010) who had suffered a hemorragic stroke in 2008 just before her final year of a combined Honours degree. Now entering her final year of an Education degree at the University of Alberta, she was recently featured in an inspirational article by the Stroke Recovery Association of Edmonton in which we learn about the usefulness of GPS and how to put "possibility in stroke disability."  But that is not her only big news: while on a cycling trip in the Rockies in June, she got engaged to her long-term boyfriend, Andrew.  Exciting times ahead, GPS or no GPS!
What Graduate Students
Do in the Summer

So far this summer we've heard about our grad students giving conference papers, but The Summer Research Trip is another staple activity of grad student life.  MA student Brenan Smith has kindly agreed to be a roving graduate student reporter this summer.  As a history road warrior, he will be sending us a couple dispatches from the highways and byways of the United States as he goes forth in search of his sources.  Up next week: Abilene, Kansas.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekend Plans?

If not, how about a book signing at McNally's?  Stuart Houston and Bill Waiser will be having a book signing at McNally Robinson on Saturday, July 16 at 1 p.m.  Their book, Tommy's Team, has been shortlisted for the CAA Lela Common Award for Canadian History and the winner will be announced in just over a week!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

How Professors Spend the Summer:
The Heritage Fair

Robert Englebert (see February 10th entry) has been busy introducing the young people of Saskatoon to Métis history.  Below is his special report on his participation in the Saskatoon Regional Youth Heritage Fair...  It sounds like a fun day -- maybe next year he will provide What's Up with a video of him playing the spoons!


For the last couple of years I've been on the organizing committee for the Saskatoon Regional Youth Heritage Fair. Think science fair: but history for students grades 4 to 9.

It has been a great experience. One of the things I've enjoyed the most has been bringing in a Métis fiddler and jiggers to entertain the kids and their parents. This year, Dallas (Fiddler) Boyer and St. Mary's Dance Troupe performed, while I helped kids in the audience learn to play the spoons.

I was also excited to be able to contribute a book prize this year on behalf of the history department. Valerie Korinek and Linda Dietz provided a couple historical fiction books written by Dr. Geoffrey Bilson, which I presented to the winner of the highest judged project at the grade 4-5 level.  Bilson would have approved.  An American specialist who taught at the University of Saskatchewan from 1964-1987, Bilson also had side interests in Canadian medical history and children's historical fiction.

The best part of the Heritage Fair, though, has been spending time meeting the students and talking to them about their projects. Their enthusiasm for history is infectious and has made the Fair one of my favorite events of the year!

Monday, June 27, 2011

An Accounting

A note from MA student Mark Geldof (supervisor Sharon Wright) recently appeared in your loyal correspondent's mailbox.  Mark wrote that he "thought the department should know what one of its students has been up to with his GTF (Graduate Teaching Fellowship) the last two years".  And a fine accounting it is, too.  

Earlier this summer, he presented at the infamous Zoo (Kalamazoo, 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies) on “Amen Quod J Ledall: BL Additional 39564 and Late Medieval English Fight Texts".  Just before the conference, Opuscula published his article, “Strokes of ij hand swerde: a Brief Instruction in the Use of Personal Arms.” Opuscula 1, no. 2 (2011): 1-9.  His summer of success will be rounded off when The Antiquaries Journal publishes his article on "Signo Dicti Collegii: Instruction for a Fourteenth-Century Corporate Badge for the College of Trinity Hall, Cambridge” in September (The Antiquaries Journal 92, 2011). 

It is always wonderful to see such projects coming to completion!
Double Trouble

Keith Thor Carlson with his two awards (photo credit: Bill Waiser)

One of the must-read books of the summer for anyone wanting to know more about Aboriginal history is surely Keith Thor Carlson's The Power of Place, The Problem of Time: Aboriginal Identity and Historical Consciousness in the Cauldron of Colonialism.  The book received two awards at the Canadian Historical Association's annual conference and is described by the CHA Clio committee as "engaging, clearly-written, and important".

The awards are the Aboriginal History Studies Group's Aboriginal History Book Prize and the CHA's Clio Prize for British Columbia.  It is worthwhile to read each committee's rationale in full at the CHA website: AHSG and CHA. The short version, however, is that Keith's innovative work examines dynamic Stó:lõ identities since the eighteenth century, situating the identities within temporal and spatial contexts.  His book redefines how Aboriginal history can be done.  By using ethnographical, archaeological, geographical and anthropological tools to frame his understanding of archival and oral sources, Keith shows how Aboriginal history can be studied on its own terms. 

Congratulations, Keith!  This is fantastic and exciting news.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Congratulations to Bill Waiser and Stuart Houston.  Their book, Tommy's Team, has been shortlisted for the CAA Lela Common Award for Canadian History.  You can read an excerpt of the book at The StarPhoenix -- or even better, buy a copy of it!  We'll keep our fingers crossed for you, Bill and Stuart.

Simonne Horwitz gave a smart, eloquent and thought-provoking interview to John Gormley on May 13 about the John Demjanjuk case:  This is well worth a listen.

On a more frivolous note, Lisa Smith was interviewed by CBC Calgary on April 28 about the rituals of pomp and ceremony surrounding the royal nuptials.  She nearly did not make the interview time, as she had been en route to Moose Jaw for the Keewatin Conference when her car stalled and needed to be towed back to Saskatoon.  She delivered the interview from a telephone in a local garage...   The best bit was when the mechanic burst into the room midway through, exclaiming "Sorry, love, but your engine is shot!"  Or was it?  Alas, you'll never know, as there is no podcast to prove the story either way...
Hot Hot History: The CSHM Version

Whereas our department participated in the CHA, we positively dominated the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine and Canadian Association for the History of Nursing conference!  The count includes five grad students, one postdoc, two faculty and two former postdocs -- considering the much smaller size of this conference, this is an impressive number.  The breadth of our presentations highlights the vibrancy of our history of medicine programme (in which, incidentally, students will soon be able to take a minor).

On the final day of the conference, a miniature meeting resumed at the Fredericton airport, where several CSHMers waited several hours for their much delayed flights.  Fortunately, the company was good, so the time sped by! 

Presentations included (in order of appearance):

Matt Mossey, "From Radon Gas to Radioisotopes: The Birth and Legacy of the Saskatchewan Cancer Initiative"

Myra Rutherdale and Maureen Lux (former postdocs, now at York and Brock respectively) were on the roundtable, "Accounting for the Importance of Home-place, Workplace, Landscape and Identity in Canadian Health Care Services"

Marc Macdonald, "Trafficking Disease: Unexpected Death in an Enlightenment World"

Sheila Gibbons, "'A Moral and Physical Menace': Motherhood and Eugenics in UFWA Politics, 1815-1925"

Lucas Richert, "The American Psychiatric Association's Radical Caucus, 1968-1969"

Amy Samson, "Identifying Mental Suspects: Alberta School Teachers and Eugenics, 1930-1960"

Elizabeth Scott, "'Rejected on Account of His Eyes': Canadian Medical Inspection and Emigrant Selection amongst London's Labouring Poor in the 1890s and 1900s"

Lisa Wynne Smith, "Defining Old Age: Men's Debility in Early Eighteenth-Century England"

Simonne Horwitz, "Reading HIV/AIDS in Saskatchewan's Newspapers, 1981-2010"