My Teaching This Week

5 11 2009

In my first-year Canadian history survey course, I spoke about the Rebellions of 1837-8 in Upper and Lower Canada. I showed this clip from the Canada: A People’s History documentary.

I spoke about Lord Durham’s Report in my lecture, mentioning Durham’s desire to anglicize the French Canadians and quoting his famous remark that the French Canadian were a people ” a people with no history, and no literature “. I also pointed out that the French-language bookstore in Sudbury is located on rue Durham. Many students appreciated the irony of this. I also told my students about an interesting article in one of the free newspapers distributed on campus. The current issue of the paper contains an article on the decline of the French language in Canada titled “le spectre de Lord Durham”. I used this newspaper, which appeared on campus the day before my lecture, to show the students that Lord Durham is still remembered by some non-historians in French Canada.

In my honours seminar on Canada in the Confederation period, we began the class by talking about the various collections of digitized primary sources for the study of 19th century Canada. Many of my students enjoyed being introduced to Early Canadiana Online. We then discussed two articles on Blacks and the Underground Railroad in Canada: Kristin McLaren, “ ‘We had no desire to be set apart’: Forced Segregation of Black Students in Canada West Public Schools and Myths of British Egalitarianism” Histoire Sociale/Social History 38 (2005): 27-50 and Howard Law,  “ ‘Self-Reliance is the True Road to Independence’: Ideology and the Ex-Slaves in Buxton and Chatham”  Ontario History 74 (1985): 107-2.

I also met my excellent graduate student to discuss some secondary sources related to her research on the fur trade. We discussed the following readings: Carolyn Podruchny, Making the Voyageur World : Travellers and Traders in the North American Fur Trade (Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, 2006); John S. Galbraith, The Little Emperor : Governor Simpson of the Hudson’s Bay Company (Toronto: Macmillan, 1976); Toby Morantz, “ ‘So Evil a Practice’ : A Look at the Debt System in the James Bay Fur Trade” in R. Omer, ed., Merchant Credit and Labour Strategies in Historical Perspectives (Acadiensis Press, 1990), 203-222; John Lutz,  “After the Fur Trade: The Aboriginal Labouring Class of British Columbia, 1864-1890” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 3 (1992): 69-93.

A fair number of students were missing from my classes. This may have have been due to the H1N1 swine flu or its closely-related variant, whine flu.