My Teaching This Week

15 10 2009

Undergraduate Teaching:

Normally, I deliver two lectures each week to my first-year course on Canadian history. However, there was only one class this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday on Monday. My lecture on Wednesday was about the War of 1812. As it happens, the popular CBC comedy program Rick Mercer Reports broadcast on Tuesday evening contained a segment in which host Rick Mercer playfully interviewed some War of 1812 re-enactors in London, Ontario. Mercer is a well-known Canadian nationalist and appears to have relished participating in a War of 1812 re-enactment. About ten students in my class of 94 said that they had seen this segment the night before. During the lecture, I spoke about the place of the War of 1812 in Canadian popular culture, using Rick Mercer’s segment as an example of the use and abuse of history. I also spoke about anti-Americanism as a force in Canadian political culture. Rick Mercer’s show was a teachable moment as they say in the edutainment education business. You can view the segment here:

During our discussion of the War of 1812, one student mentioned a song about the conflict by the Canadian music group the Arrogant Worms. A video of this song has been placed online.

I am also pleased to note that a symposium on the military history of the Niagara region will be taking place on 6 and 7 November 2009 at the Lake Street Armouries, 81 Lake Street, St. Catharines, Ontario. The sponsors of the conference include the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, Brock University, and the University of Waterloo History Department.There is a very extensive programme of speakers laid out, including: James E. Elliott, “Strange Fatality: The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813”; Heather Moran, “200 Years of Peace: Celebrating the 1812 Bi-Centennial through Public History” and David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, “Robert Rogers: The Original Ranger”.For further information, contact Professor Geoffrey Hayes, at or by phone at (519) 888-4567 ext. 35138. (Hat tip to The Cannon’s Mouth / Par la Bouche de nos Canons, the Canadian military history blog).

Graduate Teaching:

This week I met with my excellent MA student to discuss three readings connected to her thesis, which deals with a fur trading post in north-eastern Ontario. The theme of today’s discussion was First Nations in the Fur Trade: Free Agents or Victims? The secondary sources we discussed were: Arthur J. Ray and Donald B. Freeman, “Give us Good Measure” : an Economic Analysis of Relations between the Indians and the Hudson’s Bay Company before 1763 (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1978); Sylvia Van Kirk, Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-trade Society in Western Canada, 1670-1870 (Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, 1983); Ann Carlos and Frank Lewis, “Marketing in the Land of Hudson Bay: Indian Consumers and the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1670-1770” Enterprise and Society 3:2 (2002): 285-317.



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