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Witness to Yesterday (The Champlain Society Podcast on Canadian History)
24 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
A History of the Idea of Inequality in Canada
In this podcast episode, Greg Marchildon interviews Eric Sager on his new book Inequality in Canada: The History and Politics of an Idea published by McGill-Queen’s University Press in December 2020. An history of how inequality has been understood and interpreted by Canadians from the 1830s until the end of the 20th century, Sager has written an ambitious book covering almost two centuries of intellectual history. Eric Sager is currently professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Victoria where he has taught since 1983. His past worked has ranged from book-length studies on the on the history of the merchant sailors as well as the shipping industry in Atlantic Canada to the unemployed in late Victorian Canada.
32 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
A history of place and family in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
In this podcast episode, Greg Marchildon interviews Robert Boschman on his new book White Coal City: A Memoir of Place & Family published by the University of Regina Press in 2021. Part memoir and part history, his book is a unique reflection on the continuing impact of past trauma, both familial and societal. Place is central in his account. Although Prince Albert (PA) is the focal point, the books describes the northcentral part of Saskatchewan, from Saskatoon to PA and the Mennonite and Indigenous communities in between and further north, and its difficult history of Indigenous-settler relations. Robert Boschman is currently professor and chair of the Department of English, Languages, and Culture at Mount Royal University in Calgary. He was the recipient of the Research Recognition Award from his university for his research output including White Coal City.
44 minutes | Jul 14, 2021
A History of the Métis Nation
In this podcast episode, Greg Marchildon interviews Indigenous rights litigator Jean Teillet on her book The Northwest is our Mother: The story of Louis Riel’s People, the Métis Nation published by Harper Collins in 2019. Covering the evolution of the Métis as a people and nation since the 1790s, Teillet presents us with an highly crafted epic narrative. The great-grandniece of Louis Riel, the author is a very well-known Indigenous rights litigator who has appeared in twelve separate cases before the Supreme Court of Canada. She is also a visual artist who has also worked as a writer, dancer, actor, choreographer, director and producer. Currently, she is Senior Counsel to the law firm Pape Salter Teillet.
37 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
The History and Impact of the New Left in Toronto
In this podcast episode, Greg Marchildon interviews Ian McKay on his co-authored book Radical Ambition: The New Left in Toronto published by Between the Lines Press in 2019. Co-authored with Peter Graham, Radical Ambition won the Floyd S. Chalmers Award in Ontario History, an award that is administered by the Champlain Society. Influenced by protests against the Vietnam War in the United States and other countries in the 1960s and early 1970s, the New Left in Canada was shaped by three main identity-based movements of antiracism, feminism, and gay-lesbian rights. Toronto was ground zero for the New Left, where its main thinkers, lifestyles and public confrontations took place. For many years Ian McKay was a professor of history at Queen’s University. He now holds an endowed Chair in Canadian History at McMaster University where he heads up the L.R. Wilson Institute of Canadian History, one of the sponsors of the Witness to Yesterday podcast series.
37 minutes | Jul 2, 2021
A History of Immigrant Arrivals through Pier 21 in Halifax
In this podcast episode, Greg Marchildon interviews Steve Schwinghamer, the co-author along with Jan Raska of Pier 21: A History published by the University of Ottawa Press as part of its Mercury series in 2020. Between 1928 and 1971, Pier 21 was the main gateway for immigrants arriving in Canada and was transformed as the site for the Canadian Museum of Immigration. Th author is an historian in the Exhibitions, Research and Collections department of the Museum. Steve Schwinghamer is also an affiliate of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University and the Gorsebrook Research Institute at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
31 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
Decoding Indigenous Governance in the First Centuries of Contact
Patrice Dutil talks with Heidi Bohaker, Professor History at the University of Toronto, about the symbols various Anishinaabe communities used to identify themselves in their vast territory during the 17th and 18th centuries. Bohaker makes the point that these doodems were symbolic of various constitutional arrangements as well as social and legal codes. She also discusses how they evolved with time Bohaker is the author of Doodem and Council Fire: Anishinaabe Governance through Alliance, published by University of Toronto Press. This podcast was produced by Jessica Schmidt.
30 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Women and the History of the Vote in the Prairie Provinces
In this episode, Greg Marchildon interviews Sarah Carter on her book Ours by Every Law of Right and Justice: Women and the Vote in the Prairie Provinces published by the University of British Columbia Press in 2020. She examines the reasons why Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta were the first provinces to extend the vote to women in 1916 and why this same franchise was not extended to First Nations men and women as well as targeted minorities such as Chinese-Canadians until much later. Sarah Carter is professor and Henry Marshall Tory Chair of History and Classics at the University of Alberta and has published extensively on Indigenous history and gender in the Prairie Provinces.
35 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
The historical geography of Canada as a bounded land
In this podcast, Greg Marchildon interviews Cole Harris, the author of A Bounded Land: Reflections on Settler Colonialism in Canada published by the University of British Columbia Press in 2020. This books brings together some of the major chapters and articles written by Harris in his long career as one of Canada’s most prominent historical geographers. These essays cover Indigenous pre-contact history, early European settlement in a highly limited, and bounded, environment, as well as the diverging perceptions between settler colonialism and Indigenous peoples in Canada. Cole is currently professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of numerous books on historical geography and holds the Order of Canada in recognition of his contribution to Canadian scholarship.
37 minutes | Jun 3, 2021
How First Nations became marginalized in the Canadian Prairies
In this podcast episode, Greg Marchildon interviews James Daschuk, the author of Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Indigenous Life, a new edition of which was published by the University of Regina Press in 2019. Daschuk’s book focuses on the pre- and post-contact history of Indigenous peoples in the Great Plains of North America, focusing on the Canadian portion of the Plains in the 19th and 20th centuries. In particular, he documents how Macdonald’s government used food and the threat of starvation to pressure First Nations into accepting treaties and their relocation to reserves. Combining this human history with climate and environmental history, he produced a book that has won multiple prizes including the Canadian Historical Association’s Sir John Macdonald Prize and was named Book of the Year by the Globe and Mail, Quill and Quire, and the Writer’s Trust. Daschuk is currently an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies with a cross-appointment to the Department of History at the University of Regina.
32 minutes | May 27, 2021
Beauty Contests and Settler Femininity
Greg Marchildon interviews Patrizia Gentile on her book Queen of the Maple Leaf: Beauty Contests and Settler Femininity published by UBC Press in 2020. An associate professor of human rights, social justice and gender studies at Carleton University, Gentile has written a cultural history of beauty contests in Canada that pays attention to the evolving perceptions of femininity among contest organizers, participants and audiences. In particular, she examines the patient paradox when there is an explicit display of the feminine figure on the one hand and an insistency by pageant officials on the other to vehemently deny that their particular pageant was a “beauty contest.” She also described the racial dimensions of these beauty contests and the “while settler codes of feminine respectability.”
39 minutes | May 20, 2021
John Lennon in Canada
Patrice Dutil talks with about the visit to Canada of John Lennon and Yoko Ono with Greg Marquis, Professor in the Department of History and Politics at University of New Brunswick at Saint John and the author of John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Year Canada was Cool, published by Lorimer. Among the topics discussed are John Lennon’s politics in 1969 as well as his relationship with Yoko Ono and the Beatles. John Lennon’s ideas about Canada are examined as well as his key contacts in the country. Although the visit is best remembered for the “Bed In” at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, the reality was that this trip involved many different people and was shaped by the American politics of the late 1960s. This podcast was produced by Jessica Schmidt.
29 minutes | May 14, 2021
A History of Law in Canada from the beginning until Confederation
In this podcast, Greg Marchildon interviews Philip Girard, the co-author, along with Jim Phillips and Blake Brown, of A History of Law in Canada, Volume 1: Beginnings to 1866 published by the University of Toronto Press in 2018. Girard explains the ways in which Canadian legal culture historically draws upon Indigenous, French and British legal traditions. He also discusses the historical pathways that led to the legal pluralism that so marks the development of law in Canada. Philip Girard is one of Canada’s most accomplished legal historians and is currently a law professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University. Among his many other books is his outstanding biography of Supreme Court of Canada Justice Bora Laskin for which the Champlain Society awarded him the Floyd S. Chalmers Award.
28 minutes | May 6, 2021
The Black Loyalists of New Brunswick
Patrice Dutil welcomes Stephen Davidson to discuss the origins and experiences of black loyalists in New Brunswick in the late eighteenth century. Davidson is the author of Black Loyalists in New Brunswick: The lives of Eight African Americans in Colonial New Brunswick, published by Formac. Among the topics discussed are the general phenomenon of Loyalism in Canada and the state of historical studies when it comes to the black communities in Canada. The focus is New Brunswick and the lives of few particular black immigrants who experienced extraordinary events. This podcast was produced by Jessica Schmidt.
36 minutes | Apr 27, 2021
The Enigmatic W.P.M. Kennedy: the history of a Canadian academic
In this podcast episode, Greg Marchildon interviews legal scholar Martin L. Friedland on his biography of one of Canada’s most prominent legal and constitutional scholars of the 20th century. His book - Searching for W.P.M. Kennedy: The Biography of an Enigma was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2020. Friedland came into possession of Kennedy’s correspondence and other documents after purchasing the cottage in which Kennedy did so much of his writing. This treasure trove of documentation allowed Friedland to write a detailed biography of Kennedy, the author of The Constitution of Canada (1922) and other works that had a profound impact on legal, constitutional and political scholarship in Canada. Martin Friedland is University Professor and James M. Tory Professor of Law Emeritus at the Univeristy of Toronto, and (like Kennedy) was once Dean of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.
31 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
The history of the 1960s scoop of Indigenous children in Prairie Canada
In this episode, Greg Marchildon interviews Allyson Stevenson on her book Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the Decolonization of Indigenous Kinship published by the University of Toronto Press in 2020. She explores the reasons that the Saskatchewan government – and other provincial governments in Canada – established policies that results in the adoption of thousands of Indigenous children by non-Indigenous families. She also discusses government-initiated child apprehension policies and programs that separated children from their Indigenous parents and siblings. Allyson Steven holds the Gabriel Dumont Institute Chair in Métis Studies at the University of Saskatchewan where she completed her Ph.D. in Canadian History in 2015. Her own family migrated out of Red River in the 1870s to Saskatchewan.
34 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
The Ku Klux Klan in Canada
Patrice Dutil examines the reach and impact of the Ku Klux Klan in Canada from its beginnings to today with Allan Bartley, author of The Ku Klux Klan in Canada: A Century of Promoting Racism and Hate in the Peaceable Kingdom, published by Formac. The topics include its beginnings in the 1920s as it was led by a combination of Americans and Torontonians and its particularly significant impact in Saskatchewan in the 1920s. The KKK is revealed as particularly anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant and anti-French as well as anti-Black. Though the KKK assumed a much lower profile after the Second World War, it has experienced a bit of a revival with the rise of the Internet. This podcast was produced by Jessica Schmidt.
34 minutes | Apr 8, 2021
Historic Sites in Prairie Canada
In this episode, Greg Marchildon interviews former Parks Canada historian Robert Coutts. After his retirements, Coutts did his PhD in history on the meaning and reinterpretation of historic sites. He then turned his dissertation into the book Authorized Heritage: Place, Memory and Historic Sites in Prairie Canada that was published by the University of Manitoba Press in 2021. In the book, Coutts explores the mean of federal and provincial government official historic sites and the meaning of the authorized histories they produce. He covers historic sites focused on pre-contact Indigenous settlements, the fur trade, Euro-Canadian settlements and places of conflict between Indigenous peoples and settlers. Coutts is currently editor of a new journal called Prairie History based in Winnipeg.
35 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
A New Perspective on The 1870 Red River Expedition
Patrice Dutil explores the 1870 Garnet Wolseley expedition to root out the first Riel rebellion in Manitoba with Ted Glenn, Professor of Public Administration at Humber College and the author of Embedded: Two Journalists, a Burlesque Star and the Expedition to Oust Louis Riel, published by Dundurn Press. Together, they discuss the reportage of Toronto-based newsmen Robert Cunningham and Molyneux St. John as well as the role played by Kate Ranoe, an actress and comedienne. All three were “embedded” with the Wolseley expedition and provided particularly distinctive coverage of the historic event. This podcast was produced by Jessica Schmidt.
38 minutes | Mar 25, 2021
Jennifer Brown on the history and ethnography of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian Northwest
In this episode, Greg Marchildon interviews historian and ethnographer Jennifer Brown on her two most recent books. The first, Ojibwe Stories from the Upper Berens River: A Irving Hallowell and Adam Bigmouth in Conversation, published by University of Nebraska Press in 2018, concerns the interactions of American anthropologist A. Irving Hallowell and his interactions with the Berens River band on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. The second book, An Ethnohistorian in Rupert’s Land: Unfinished Conversations (published by Athabasca University Press in 2017) is a compilation of Professor Brown’s most influential articles – essays that have reshaped the historiography of Indigenous-settler relations and the role of women. From 1983 until 2008, Jennifer Brown was a professor as well as Director of the Centre for Rupert’s Land Studies at the University of Winnipeg. Since retirement, she has continued to research and write.
55 minutes | Mar 17, 2021
Viscount Haldane: The Unknown Father of Confederation
Patrice Dutil discusses the impact of Richard Haldane (Viscount Haldane) on the Canadian constitution with John Campbell, the author of Haldane: The Forgotten Statesman who Shaped Britain and Canada (McGill-Queens Univ. Press). They examine Haldane’s life and career as well as his guiding philosophy of keeping government “close to the people” and how it led him to favour provinces in the various judgements he rendered on the Canadian constitution while he sat on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This podcast was produced by Jessica Schmidt.
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