I spent this week at the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) annual meeting. I was pleasantly surprised by the range of context at this year’s meeting and was thrilled to be able to listen to so many great sessions on public history and Indigenous history.
I live tweeted the majority of the sessions I attended. I tend to use this as a form of note taking, the tweets definitely aren’t perfect but they provide a nice summary of what was covered by the presenters.
I’m still thinking about the best way to preserve these tweets, but I have made one of the panels – the “Subverting Traditional Historiographies: Seeking Diversity in the Archives and Beyond” panel – into a Twitter moment. I’d like to do this for all of the panels I tweeted, but it might have to wait until I have more time next week.
Next week I’m headed to Regina for the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) annual meeting. I’m looking forward to connecting with colleagues and to taking in a number of great sessions. If you are going to be in Regina you can likely find me at the following events:
Monday May 28th
- Bright and early at 8:30am I’ll be speaking as part of the “Diversifying Narratives: Intersections of Public and Digital History in the 21st Century” roundtable with Andrea Eidinger, Jessica DeWitt, and Jessica Knapp. Join us in room ED 315 for great discussion about the intersection of digital and public history work.
- From 10:30-12 I’ll be at the CHA Keynote Address featuring A.B. Stonechild.
- In the afternoon I’m chairing the “Unsettling the Settler Narrative: The Possibilities and Limits of Material Culture in Canadian History” session featuring Erin Millions, Krista Barclay, Elizabeth A. Scott, and Susie Fisher. We’ll be in room RC 175 from 1:30-3pm.
- I’m really excited that Speed Networking, a National Council on Public History (NCPH) stable will be at CHA this year. I’ll be participating as one of the established professionals. A huge shoutout to Jessica Knapp for her work organizing this event.
- To round out Monday I’ll be attending the Lost Stories Film Festival. For anyone interested in learning more about the Lost Stories project, check out the posts from last week’s Active History theme week on the Lost Story initiative.
Tuesday May 29th
- I’m undecided on the 8:30am session. But there is a good chance you’ll find me at the “Indigenous Education in Settler Settings: Interpretations, Responses, and Resistance” session.
- From 10:30-12 I plan on attending the “Indigenous Histories and the Canadian Narrative” panel
- The Active History business meeting is from 12-1:30 on Tuesday! Interested in learning more about the work we do at Activehistory.ca and about Active History more broadly? Join us in room RC 228.2.
- I’m leaving my Tuesday afternoon plans open at this point, partially because there are so many interesting sessions to pick from.
Wednesday May 30th
- I’ll be up early for either the “Categories of Colonization: Administration and Legal Regulation, 1850-1950” or “Agency in Education and Research” session. So many good things!
- In the afternoon I’m looking forward to the “Subverting Traditional Historiographies: Seeking Diversity in the Archives and Beyond” session and the “Working with Indigenous Communities and Concepts” session.
Photo: Paul Trienekens on Unsplash
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) annual meeting held at Ryerson in Toronto, Ontario. This is the first time I have had been back to CHA in six or more years and I happy to say it was a worth while experience. Though I’m still a die hard NCPH fan I can see that CHA has it’s place and value, especially to those practicing history within the academy.
CHA highlights for me included:
- Meeting with Active History editorial collective and discussing the future of the Active History project. The last time I saw many of the other editors was in 2015 at the Active History conference, so it was great to be able to connect in person.
- The “Decolonize 1867: Stories from the People event” was a great way to start my CHA experience. The session was organized by Stacy Nantion-Knapper and Kathryn Labelle and featured Catherine Tammaro, Brittany Luby, Naomi Recollet, Helen Knott, Jessie Thistle, and Carolyn Podruchny. The session was conversational in nature and included presentations focused around visual art, poetry, and storytelling. The words of the presenters invoked discussions of land, the ongoing impacts of colonialism, and a critical look at commemoration. Helen Knott’s poem “Indigenous Diaspora: Out Of Place In Place” was a beautiful and thought provoking discussion of land, colonialism, and resilience. Similarly, Naomi Recollet’s presentation of the “Unceded” video showcased the varying views Indigenous communities have to land, legislation, and government relationships.
- One of the panels I really enjoyed was the The Indian Act: A Contested Technique of Colonial Governance, 1876-Present panel. This panel featured four presenters focusing on different aspects and interpretations of the Indian Act and the Act’s impact on Indigenous communities. Many of the papers on this panel subverted the standard colonial narrative and were looking for Indigenous perspectives on the Indian Act – either through oral history, finding archival sources written by Indigenous leaders, or reading government documents against the grain. The panel featured: Chandra Murdoch, “Mobilization of and against Indian Act elections on Haudenosaunee Reserves, 1870-1924”; Anne Janhunen, “Government Responses to Indigenous Political Organizing and Legal Representation in Southern Ontario, 1903-1927”; “Genevieve R. Painter, “Cutting Costs and Constructing Canada: A History of Sex Discrimination in the Indian Act”; Jacqueline Briggs “#PolicyFail: How the Department of Indian Affairs negotiated the dissolution of the assimilation and management projects in the 1960s”
- I also enjoyed the “Recovering Indigenous Law in Ore-Confederation Land Conveyances to the British Crown, 1764-1864” panel. In particular, Jeffrey Hewitt’s discussion of “Wampum as Treaty Text” and the idea of looking beyond written text for historical information was something that resonated strongly with me. Hewitt also discussed the need for settlers to develop literary beyond the written word – and the need to view wampum belts, songs, and dances as valid sources of information.
- Another highlight for me was connecting with folks I only know online at CHA. It was great to see some archivists and public historians at the conference and so many inspiring women participating in the event.
Things I would like to see more of at CHA:
- The roundtable format used at the social media panel and the public historians panel worked really well. The format was conversational and included ample time for discussion. I would love to see more sessions borrow from this model.
- More creative based sessions such as the “Decolonize 1867” event which re-positioned historical narratives.
- More community engaged scholars sharing their work – and community collaborators speaking alongside academics at CHA. Community voices have value and we need to listen. This is particularly important when talking about marginalized communities and needing to open up the space to make room for those voices.
- There was one solid queer history panel but it would have been great to see more queer history throughout the program.
- More people using Twitter. At times I felt like the lone conference tweeter in the room. To see the Twitter archive from the conference visit Unwritten Histories.
At this year’s Canadian Historical Association (CHA) annual meeting Active History was announced as winner of the 2016 Public History Prize.
The Public History Prize
is sponsored by the Public History Group of the Canadian Historical Association. The award recognizes work that “achieves high standards of original research, scholarship, and presentation; brings an innovative public history contribution to its audience; and serves as a model for future work, advancing the field of public history in Canada. Nominations are encouraged on the nature and evolution of public history; the workings of memory, commemoration, and their application in public life; archival practice and policy; museum studies; and the presence of historical events and themes in society.”
I’ve been very fortunate to be part of Active History since 2010 and couldn’t be happier about this announcement. Many thanks to all of our supporters and the hard work of those involved with this project.