Archive for the 'O Canada' Category

February 12th 2010
Oui, on fait du ski ce weekend!

Posted under art & European history & fluff & O Canada

Why watch the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics on the teevee, when you can participate in winter sports yourself?  (Well, those of us near the snowy mountains have a bitof an advantage!)  No, I’m not going to Mt. Tremblant or anything near Quebec–we in Colorado can ski on lovely, fresh powder much more conveniently.  Easterners:  how do you ski on all of that ice?  How is it any fun?  I’ve only tried it once, in Vermont in 1994, and it was the antithesis of fun, unless your definition of fun includes adjectives like “terrifying,” “damp,” “cold,” and “miserable.”  (Well, I suppose the definition of “fun” for most New Englanders might include one or more of these terms.  But, they fetishize discomfort and view it as a sign of moral rectitude.)

Here’s a fun, if slightly creepy, fact about this blog:  every day, dozens of people click here because they’re searching “women athletes,” “hot women athletes,” “athletic women,” “olympic women,” or some other similar phrases.  And as you regular readers know, this is a blog that only very rarely comments on sports or athletic affairs, if ever.  So, enjoy the images of women on vintage ski posters here! Continue Reading »


December 6th 2009
20th anniversary of the massacre at L’Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal

Posted under American history & Gender & O Canada & students & unhappy endings & women's history

Ann Bartow at Feminist Law Profs reminds us that today is the twentieth anniversary of the murders of women engineering students at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989.  Because of this terrible event, today is also the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women day in Canada, which has been commemorated since 1991.  In case you’re unacquainted with this terrible massacre, here’s a CBC link with a video clip of a report and a description of the murders (emphases Historiann’s):

A gunman confronts 60 engineering students during their class at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. He separates the men from the women and tells the men to leave the classroom, threatening them with his .22-calibre rifle. The enraged man begins a shooting rampage that spreads to three floors and several classrooms, jumping from desk to desk while female students cower below. He roams the corridors yelling, “I want women.” Continue Reading »


August 1st 2009
Seriously–I need this doll for my research.

Posted under American history & captivity & Dolls & O Canada

I’m so glad I’m not the only historian with a dolly fetish!  Clio Bluestocking, the intrepid CC instructor and scholar of Frederick Douglass and the women in his family sent in her report about what she did this summer at an NEH institute in Baltimore.  On a field trip to a  Civil War museum in Virginia, she found a Frederick Douglass action figure!  Go check it out.  She writes, “He even has a small copy of The Narrative, as well as a pissed off expression.  Notice, too, that he was on sale.  This picture was not taken in the gift shop, but in my hotel room because, yes, I bought it. (And I just realized how creepy it sounds to say that I bought a Frederick Douglass.)”  This of course connects back to my post on Thursday about Marla Miller opening her book with a discussion of Colonial Barbie, and our discussion in the comments.  Why do some dolls based on historical periods or individuals get produced, and others don’t?  Many of you noted the elite and healthy bias of the historical dolls, compared to the miserable reality of the lives of most people in the past.


Can you see your book on my shelf?

A few years ago, Dr. Mister Historiann found some Seven Years’ War era lead figurines–made by a company that mostly makes lead soldiers, I’m sure, but to their credit they also made some civilian victims of war, too–and he gave them to me for my birthday.  So here are my English captives with their co-captors, who appear to be both Iroquois and Algonquian.  (Unlikely, unless they were Catholic mission Indians, but wev.)  You’ve never seen a 30-something year old woman so excited about a birthday gift as I was that year!  Continue Reading »


July 6th 2009
Honourable Mention! What an honour!

Posted under American history & book reviews & Gender & happy endings & O Canada & publication & women's history

ainaAbraham in Arms:  War and Gender in Colonial New England won an Honourable Mention for the 2008 Albert B. Corey Prize/Prix Corey from the Canadian Historical Association.  The prize is awarded every other year jointly with the American Historical Association to the best book in Canadian-American history.  Should the winner of the 2008 Corey Prize (Sharon A. Roger Hepburn, for Crossing the Border: A Free Black Community in Canada, University of Illinois Press, 2007) be unable to fulfill her duties, I’ll be happy to swing into action.  Here’s the flattering and generous citation from the CHA:

Abraham in Arms argues that religious ideas about gender and family provided the vital context in which the people of colonial New England, New France, and “Indian Country” understood the cross-cultural warfare between them through the 17th and 18th centuries. It is a richly imaginative and theoretically innovative fusion of religion, gender, family, diplomacy, and war that offers yet another persuasive argument that no study of war can avoid addressing the social role of gender and family life in animating the normative use of violence. It is a book destined to be influential to historians of other times and places.  Continue Reading »


April 19th 2009
Pope orders doctrinal investigation of nuns’ leadership organization

Posted under American history & European history & Gender & GLBTQ & O Canada & women's history

arrivalofursulines1928Here’s a story that could have been written pretty much at any point in Western history from the tenth or eleventh century on*:  According to the Toledo Blade, Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair’s investigation “will look at adherence to Catholic doctrine by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization based in Silver Springs, Md., with 1,500 nuns in leadership positions representing 95 percent of the nation’s 67,000 Catholic sisters.”  The inquiry will focus on three areas of concern:  “promoting the ordination of women, salvation through Christ alone, and ‘the problem of homosexuality.’”  Amazonianism!  Antinomianism!  Unnatural disobedience!  (What, no investigation of Holocaust denial among women religious?  Thanks to plugged-in, Toledo Blade-reading, Ursuline-educated reader ”Mother of ALL” for the tip.)  By the way–S.N.A.P. (Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests) doesn’t like or trust Bishop Blair because of what they see as his “terrible track record on child sex abuse and cover-up.” 

The National Catholic Reporter story on which this article seems to be based says that this investigation appears to be related to another investigation of the apostolic women’s orders:  “The Visitation, which will collect and assimilate data and observations about religious life, will be limited to apostolic institutes, those actively engaged in service to Church and society. Cloistered, contemplative sisters, who have distinctly different lifestyles, are excluded from the study.”  (Emphasis mine.)  Continue Reading »


January 18th 2009
Le 18 Janvier, 1709

Posted under American history & captivity & childhood & O Canada & women's history

Le 18 Janvier M. De Vaudreuil nous a donné une petite Angloise nommée Esther pour être a Nre pensionnaire elle payera sa pension sur a pied de 40 Ecus.

Translation:  “January 18th M. de Vaudreuil brought us a young English girl named Esther. She paid 40 ecus for her board.”

Today is the 300th anniversary of Esther Wheelwright’s matriculation at the Ursuline school for girls in Quebec.  She was twelve years old.  She had been taken from her natal family more than five years earlier at the age of 7 in an Abenaki raid on Wells, Maine in August of 1703.  Her admission to the school signified the loss of her Abenaki family and kin, who had adopted her, as well as her lifelong alienation from the Protestantism she was born into.  “M. Vaudreuil” refers to Madame Vaudreuil (despite the masculine-appearing title abbreviation “M.”), the wife of the Governor of New France, who enrolled her own daughter at the school later that year as well as paid the expenses for other girls who appear to have been English captives.  In the decades surrounding the turn of the century, the school served Indian, English-born, and French students alike.  Although the Marquise de Vaudreuil was an enthusiastic patron, other Quebecois in the local community also paid the fees on behalf of several English captive girls. 

Sister Marie-de-Jésus, "Arrival of the Ursulines and the Sisters of Charity in New France" (1928)

The Ursulines were a counter-reformation women’s order who are comparable to the Jesuits both in their zeal for founding New World missions and their dedication to educating young people for the preservation and spread of Roman Catholicism.  The school in Quebec taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, but the core of the experience was religious education.  The first day of school is a significant and usually memorable day in the lives of all children, but Esther could not have known in 1709 the role this school would play in her life.  Esther must have excelled as a student in spite of the fact that French was her third language, because she declared her intention to become a religieuse as a young teenager.  Except for a short time at the Ursuline convent school in Trois Rivieres, she remained at the convent for the rest of her life as a teacher in the first school she ever attended.  Continue Reading »


November 8th 2008
Obama wins all of Canada’s electoral votes in a landslide

Posted under American history & O Canada

Electoral College map of Canada

Electoral College map of Canada

Apparently, Ann Bartow is in Canada this weekend, and she’s had the same experience that I’ve had all weekend:  Canadians love them some Barack Obama, and have been spontaneously expressing their happiness to me all weekend. 

When I approached customs and immigration and said “Bon Soir” upon my arrival in Quebec Wednesday evening, the man took my passport and said, “You won your election yesterday?” (en Anglais), in a way that was more of a statement than a question.  Not “Were you happy with the election results?” or “Did your candidate win?”  No–a politely hopeful declaration that “you won.”  Then, the waiter at dinner Thursday night heard us speaking English (me and an Anglophone Canadian scholar), and told me that she was so happy about our election and that she wanted to vote for Obama.  And, both of the French and English-language CBC channels are almost all-Obama, all the time (except for a little coverage of Canadian news, and the upcoming provincial election in Quebec next month.)

Maybe now I won’t have to tell people any longer that I’m Canadian when traveling outside of the U.S. and Canada?  What a concept.


November 5th 2008
Au revoir, les enfants de la patrie

Posted under conferences & O Canada & women's history

I’m leaving the country–and rest assured, it has nothing to do with the election results!  I’m slipping over the border on a top-secret mission to a walled city in l’Amerique Septentrionale, and will return this weekend.  Play nice.  No gloating if your candidates won, and no whining if your candidates lost.  (Well, not too much, anyway.)  Nous sommes tous Americains Septentrionales!


October 12th 2008
C’mon, move to Canada!

Posted under O Canada

Homostorian Americanist, who grew up in the Great White North, sent along a link to this video inviting distraught American “E.L.I.T.E.s” to migrate across the border in the event of a McCain victory next month.  Go ahead–click and laugh (until you cry!)  Of course, Canada will probably still have a Conservative national government after the elections Tuesday, but their Conservatives are left of most Blue Dog Democrats in this country, and even the Conservatives don’t advance serious plans to do away with socialized medicine!


September 15th 2008
Fort Ticonderoga

Posted under American history & European history & O Canada

Tom Watson has a post on the peril that faces Fort Ticonderoga now, and about the nice afternoon he spent with his family there this summer.  Fort Ticonderogawas originally the French Fort Carillon, built during the Seven Years’ War, and renamed Ticonderoga when it was taken over after the British victory over France in that war.  Ticonderoga is known to most U.S. Americans (if it’s known at all) as the site that Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys daringly captured from the British in 1775, sending its artillery overland to Boston to help George Washington liberate Boston in 1776.  Ticonderoga then served as a base of operations until it was lost to the British again in 1777, but the American forces were able to contain the British at Ticonderoga by halting their advance at the Battle of Saratoga, September 19, 1777, and eventually forced the British to surrender Ticonderoga again the following month.  These two engagements–Ticonderoga and Saratoga–were sufficient to help secure French assistance on the American side, which is why they are known as the “turning point” in the military history of the American Revolution.  

From a purely jingoistic perspective, Fort Ticonderoga is clearly one of the most important historical sites for the history of the Revolution, linked as it is to the greatest American victories in the first half of the war (1775-1778), and credited (in part) with securing French intervention, which proved decisive in 1781.  And, let’s face it:  the other tales of the first half of the war around New York and Philadelphia are for the most part stories of British victories and American failures.  Watson nicely describes his most recent, and why sites like Ticonderoga are worthy of our patronage and our money:

We visited Ticonderoga – my third visit, my children’s second – last week on the way home from Lake George, and spend an hour wandering the battlements and peering at the collection of arms and other archeological wonders in the simple galleries housed in reconstructed barracks. It remains a wild and beautiful spot, its bloody history aside, and the views across the farmlands and up toward Mount Defiance (where the British mule-hauled cannon to eventually force Ticonderoga’s surrender from the rebels) are singularly beautiful. Moreover, they tell almost the complete story of New York’s importance to the new United States – sitting astride one of the great inland trade routes linking Canada with Albany and the Mohawk, New York and the Hudson.

Watson links to a New York Times article that explains the financial and management problems that face the fort.  Memo to people working in museums and historic preservation:  don’t depend on a single quirky and immensely wealthy donor to bankroll your project.  Keep cultivating other donors, and be sure that the public knows about the important work you do in preserving local and national history.  And everyone, when you travel, please consider dropping in on that old house museum, or that historic site you’ve always meant to get to, but you’ve always been in such a hurry to get somewhere else you’ve never made the time to get there.  You never know when it might not be there for you to visit.


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