The Department of History has a strong record of research success. Since September 2001, History faculty have been awarded approximately 25 percent of all Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Standard Research Grants on campus, and 70 percent of those awarded to faculty in the Humanities and Fine Arts Division of the College of Arts and Science. The department maintains a strong research output and boasts research chairs in Indigenous & Community-engaged History and the History of Medicine.
Major Research Grants Received Since 2012:
Prof. Bajamin Hoy -Dominating a Continent: Violence, Retribution, and Forcible Confinement in North America
Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Distinguished Scholar Awards, 2021-2023
This project is a systematic study of the relationship between violence (vigilante and state-sponsored) and Indigenous mobility along the Canada-US border between 1865 and 1914 with three major aims. It aims to study how state-sponsored and vigilante violence shaped the transnational mobility of Indigenous communities in the decades that followed formal warfare. To do so it investigate whether changes to military infrastructure (military post conditions, supply routes, patrol patterns, etc) and deployment impacted day-to-day violence in regions that had recently experienced warfare. Finally, it investigates whether episodes of violence impacted patterns of incarceration in the decades that followed warfare.
Prof. Simonne Horwitz - Kidney Transplants, Research and White Supremacy under Apartheid: 1960-1980
Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Insight Grant, 2019-2023
In 1966 Professor of Surgery, Albert (Bert) Myburgh and his team at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) performed the first kidney transplant on the African Continent. Over the next 30 years this team became the most advanced and prolific kidney transplant unit in the country. Yet, these developments were -- like everything in South Africa at the time -- fundamentally shaped by the racist, oppressive and often violent apartheid system. Transplantation developed as an elite medical procedure, performed by a select group of white doctors on mostly white patients. It became a symbol of white supremacy in a country where the black majority were excluded from anything but the most basic of health care. My study provides a lens from which to write a racialized, micro history that illuminates the politics of medical discoveries and medical research radiating outwards from one of South Africa's most prestigious medical research universities and enables us to understand the influences that the broader social, political and economic context had on the research and practice of the transplant team.
Prof. Ashleigh Androsoff - A History of Harmony: Integration and Independence among Saskatchewan Doukhobors, 1899-2019
Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Insight Development Grant, 2019-2021
Drawing from archival research and approximately thirty oral-history interviews, Dr. Ashleigh Androsoff’s “A History of Harmony: Integration and Independence among Saskatchewan Doukhobors, 1899-2019” will explain how Saskatchewan’s Independent Doukhobors managed to preserve their distinctive ethnoreligious culture while adjusting to life in Canada. This community-engaged research will draw a connection between the Doukhobors’ unique practice of singing hymns in multi-part harmony and their application of a cultural “harmonization” strategy over a 120-year period, from their immigration in 1899 to present-day. Research findings will be made publicly available in a 60-minute documentary film, “We’ve Concluded Our Assembly,” produced with community partner Mr. Ryan Androsoff (Spirit Wrestler Productions, no close relation). In addition, this project will produce a museum exhibit developed in collaboration with Dr. Elizabeth Scott and the Western Development Museum (opening in June 2019). The exhibit will feature a unique 32-speaker immersive audio-visual “soundscape” that will allow visitors to experience Saskatchewan Doukhobors’ choral harmonization and a prayer meeting (moleniye) in person. Further details can be found at www.doukhoborlivingbook.ca.
Prof. Jim Clifford, Stéphane Castonguary, Michèle Dagenais, and Colin Coates - Commerce impérial et transformations environnementales: la formation des hectares fantômes dans la vallée laurentienne, 1763-1918
Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Insight Grant, 2017-2022
This project addresses environmental change in Quebec between 1763 and 1918 as a product of the integration of the St. Lawrence Valley into international trade networks. During the long 19th century, the ports of Quebec and Montreal were active in supplying Great Britain with natural resources and food. The extraction and transformation of resources from the St. Lawrence Valley brings with it environmental and landscape consequences that contributed to the ecological footprint of British industrialization. To capture this footprint, we use the concept of ghost acres. In environmental history, ghost acres refer to the additional area a country needs to overcome the ecological limits of its immediate territory and to obtain the resources needed to supply its people and factories. The notion of ghost acres, as we interpret it, explores the transformations in the agro-forestry landscapes of the hinterland as well as changes in urban space and port facilities necessary for traffic and trade. To this end, we are rebuilding resource exchange networks – space-consuming raw materials and food – from the extraction site to their destination to identify the environmental transformations that result from their insertion into transatlantic economic circuits. Our research focuses on forest and agricultural products for which we analyze the intensity and spatiality of extraction activities as well as the port and industrial infrastructures set up in Quebec and Great Britain. The description of the landscape transformations of the trade of natural resources and food, extracted from the St. Lawrence valley and then exported to Great Britain, will lead us to understand the the colonial environmental repercussions of British urbanization. By thus exposing the ecological footprint of Britain’s industrialization, we will examine a neglected dimension of Canada’s integration into the British Empire. Further details can be found at http://niche-canada.org/commerce-imperial/.
Prof. Geoff Cunfer, Benjamin Hoy, Jim Clifford, Kris Inwood, et al. - The Canadian Peoples 1861-1921
Canadian Foundation for Innovation, 2017-2021.
The Canadian Peoples (TCP) is an integrated series of databases comprising 32 million records of Canadians enumerated in seven censuses 1861-1921. TCP makes useable for research the data describing personal, household and community characteristics at ten-year intervals from before Confederation to after the First World War. The principal users will reinterpret the experience of Canada's peoples in a formative era that set the patterns for subsequent generations. Our interdisciplinary collaboration of scholars from demography, geography, economics and history will undertake a series of linked studies leading to a new vision of the changing course of cultural heterogeneity and inequality. The knowledge generated by researchers, in turn, will inform policy-makers concerned with inequality, family, immigration, entrepreneurship, health, work, regional development, youth and aging, urbanization and other critical challenges. TCP will strengthen the training and retention of HQP who combine statistical expertise with social science and historical understandings in preparation for high-skilled employment in the digital economy. It will build new and existing collaborations and centres of research excellence. The ultimate beneficiaries of enriched understanding are the Canadian people who will acquire a deep understanding of the formative decades of Canada in long-term and comparative perspective.
Prof. Kathryn Labelle - Daughters of the Aataentsic
SSHRC Insight Grant, 2017-2020
The Daughter of Aataentsic seeks to advance knowledge about the complex relationship between Wendat/Huron/Wyandot women, Feminism, and the colonial regimes of North America by finding out how Wendat women have confronted patriarchal policies and what strategies (if any) were successful. My current research project contributes to, and elaborates on, traditional Indigenous Feminist knowledge by exploring what strategies have been most successful in the historical struggles of seven Wendat women for cultural preservation during the years 1650-2006. Preliminary findings indicate that Wendat women have consistently turned to traditions of "motherwork" – work that is geared towards bettering their community circumstances with the ultimate goal of reinstating a pre-colonial “mother centered” value system. The case studies include women who conducted this type of work through their roles as teachers, missionaries, lawyers, environmentalists, intellectuals, diplomats, and nuns. This project is guided by a Wendat Women's Advisory Council, with representatives from across the Wendat Confederacy.
Prof. Keith T. Carlson, Maureen Reed, and Craig Harkema - Toward an Indigenous Digital Asset Management System
Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Knowledge Synthesis Grant, 2016-2017
Currently, no major research university in Canada has a systematic digital asset management system in place for Indigenous knowledge resources. To advance university efforts to build reconciliation, this project will develop, with community partners, recommendations towards the creation of a robust and genuinely Indigenous Digital Asset Management System. This Indigenous Digital Asset Management System will be a platform that synthesizes previously fragmented, and often inaccessible, Indigenous knowledge databases so that communities and researchers alike can access collections that are preserved and managed in ways that facilitate exciting new collaborations and knowledge mobilization.
Prof. Erika Dyck - Hollywood Hospital: The Highs and Lows of LSD Treatments for Addiction in the 1960s
Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Insight Grant, 2016-2021
The availability of Hollywood Hospital’s patient files provides an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the debate over drug use by shifting away from generalized analyses, or policy imperatives, and instead to concentrate on the plight of addicts themselves and produce a more comprehensive picture of how addiction has been historically treated and conceptualized. The patient files from Hollywood Hospital offer a closed set of experiences in a particular historical moment when a nascent harm reduction movement embraced LSD as a single-session treatment for alcoholism that welcomed a connection with spiritual, psychological, and social healing in an era before a formalized understanding of the social determinants of health. The full set of records, in combination with a renewed interest in psychedelic therapies makes this a timely investigation with significant potential to use historical analyses to inform contemporary practices and policy debates.Prof. Benjamin Hoy - Building Borders on Aboriginal Lands 1860-1930
Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Insight Development Grant 2016-2018
The Building Borders on Aboriginal Lands Project attempts to map and quantify Canadian and American attempts to expand their administrations and exert control at their peripheries through an ever-greater network of agencies and departments. By mapping both the presence of government officials and the concerns they expressed, this project is building a map of federal power and engagement between the 1860s and the 1930s that shifts as people were hired and fired, as posts were built and fell into disrepair, and as crises grew and faded.
Prof. Keith T. Carlson – Mapping the Transformer’s Travels: Gender, Colonialism, and Coast Salish Territoriality
Social Science and Humanities Research Council, Insight Grant, 2016-2019
Within the Coast Salish world few things are as contested as tribal territoriality. In this project my Coast Salish partners and I seeks to help diffuse some of the contemporary tensions through an examination the way colonial actions have worked to undermine women’s historical consciousness and thereby foster a largely masculine discourse of tribal exclusivity relative to an increasingly eclipsed feminine consciousness relating to intertribal inclusivity. Our analysis includes researching the effects of colonialism on Coast Salish family life and will feature a spatial and temporal analysis of legendary Coast Salish narratives from the Stó:lō and Tla’amin communities for what they reveal about women’s perspectives on territorial space.
Prof. Keith T. Carlson (Co-applicant with Bert Finnamore, Powell River Museum and Archives) – Ahms Gijeh (our Land) – Traditional Placenames of the Tla’amin First Nation
Prof. Keith T. Carlson (Co-Investigator with Dr. Ron Rudin, Concordia University) – The Lost Stories Project
Canada 150 Fund, Canadian Heritage, 2016
There are thousands of tales out there that speak to important features of Canada’s history that have been lost or eclipsed. This collaborative project collects five regionally and thematically diverse and little-known stories about the Canadian past, transforms them into pieces of public art, and documents the process by way of a series of short films available in English and French. Carlson is playing the lead role in working with the Stó:lō community to bring back into the public consciousness the story of the more than two dozen Stó:lō children who were kidnapped by American miners and taken to California during the 1858 Fraser River gold rush. Among the best documented of these cases is that of a six year old Stó:lō boy who died three years after being abducted by a man named Crum. The boy now lies in an unmarked grave in his kidnapper’s family plot in Sacramento.
Museums Assistance Program, Canadian Heritage, 2016-2018
The Powell River Historical Museum and Archives Association in partnership with the Tla'amin Nation and Prof Carlson from the University of Saskatchewan, are working together to develop a comprehensive digital map of place names used by the Tla'amin nation on their traditional territory on Canada’s Pacific Coast. The project is expected to be completed by March, 2018. The map will be searchable and include audio Tla'amin pronunciations.
Prof. Keith T. Carlson (Co-Investigator with Craig Goebel, Saskatchewan Legal Aid) – Saskatchewan’s Colonial History and Indigenous People
Law Foundation of Saskatchewan, 2015-2017
To help protect Indigenous people’s “Gladue “ rights (as defined in the 1999 Supreme Court decision) staff and lawyers at Legal Aid Saskatchewan are seeking rigorously researched and easily accessible historical information pertaining to the colonial experiences of Indigenous people. This information is used to assist courts in taking into account First Nations and Metis people’s distinctive historical experiences as colonized people. In this project we are creating a large and complex spatial and temporal database that will better enable people to compose Gladue reports for pre-sentencing and bail hearings thereby assisting the courts in finding reasonable alternatives to incarceration for those convicted of a crime.Dr. Erika Dyck – Reproductive Politics Beyond the Bedroom
Canada Health Institute Research Grant 2014-2017
Birth control, abortion, and reproductive rights have a complicated and controversial history that has engaged policy makers, religious authorities, medical professionals, women, men and families in contests over family values. Historically, these debates have pitted feminists against non-feminists, or Catholics against non-Catholics, and socialists and conservatives have even made strange historical bedfellows. Some of these divisions have continued to frame the contemporary debates, but new alliances and divisions have also formed in the changing landscape and contests over family values, same-sex marriages, sex-selection technologies, cross-border adoptions, all of which contribute to a (re)defining of the modern family. This project adds critical historical context to these contemporary debates by producing a sophisticated investigation of reproductive politics in Canada since 1969.
Dr. Jim Clifford – London’s Ghost Acres
SSHRC Insight Development Grant 2014-2016
This SSHRC Insight Development Grant funded project explores the environmental consequences of the expanding global commodity network that developed to supply London’s industrial economy during the second half of the nineteenth century. As Pomeranz argues, British industrial development was predicated on the resources contributed by distant “ghost acres” of land inside the British Empire and beyond it. This study intends to map metaphorically and concretely the “ghost acres” that fed the factories of London.Dr. Frank Klaassen – The Reformation, the New Science, Vernacularization, and the Birth of Modern Magic
SSHRC Insight Development Grant 2013-2016
This study will trace the changes in this period's principal written source for practical magic: medieval ritual magic. This literature was taken up by an increasingly broad audience and thus provides a unique window into wider changes in the conception of magic. It allows us to trace, for example, the development of Protestant magic, of grotesque and self-consciously anti-social magic, and of incantation magic woven into the new scientific sensibilities of the age. It also allows us to see how these were brought about by a complex set of forces beginning in the late fifteenth century: the vernacularization and popularization of learned magic, the Protestant campaign against it, new trends in scientific thought, and the influence of the developing print media. It will argue that this period is marked less by a decline of magic than its transformation into forms that would assure its survival and development through the scientific revolution and enlightenment and into the present day. Sometime between 1450 and 1650, ritual magic was transformed from something requiring considerable explanation into something almost instantly understandable to modern sensibilities.Dr. Geoff Cunfer - Sustainable Farm Systems: Long-Term Socio-Ecological Metabolism in Western Agriculture, 1700-2000
SSHRC Partnership Grant 2012-2018
This interdisciplinary research project, funded by a SSHRC Partnership Grant, with matching contributions from partner universities and national science ministries in Austria and Spain, creates a formal partnership among 5 research groups in Europe, Latin America, and North America. For a decade or more these teams have explored the environmental history of agro-ecosystems in the past, using the perspective of socio-ecological metabolism to understand how farmers managed soil nutrients, landscape processes, and energy flows to sustain communities and produce food for themselves and society. Led by historians, the project also includes agronomists, soil scientists, landscape ecologists, economists, and demographers. Dr. Geoff Cunfer hosts the project at the University of Saskatchewan. The team includes over 30 faculty members plus dozens of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at universities in Austria, Spain, Colombia, Cuba, the United States, and Canada.