Faculty and Alumni Receive Publication Award

 From left to right, Eda and Bruce Leaman (on behalf of Beverly Leaman, Ernest's widow), David Ratz, and Michel S. Beaulieu received the award on Sunday, Jan. 7.

The Department of History is pleased to announce that the late Ernest Zimmermann and alumni and current faculty members Michel S. Beaulieu and David K. Ratz have been awarded the M. Elizabeth Arthur Award by the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society for their book The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior: A History of Canadian Internment Camp R (published by the University of Alberta Press). 

Adjudicated by an independent panel of jurors, the M. Elizabeth Arthur Award is awarded every two years for the best publications dealing with the history of Northwestern Ontario. This year's winners were recognized at the Society’s annual President’s Reception held on Sunday, Jan. 7.

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Faculty Member Awarded a Northern Arts Grant from the Ontario Arts Council

Dr. Ronald Harpelle has received a Northern Arts Grant from the Ontario Arts Council for a documentary film entitled Toxic Time Bomb, on the ongoing legacy of the production and use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. 

The film focuses on Elmira, Ontario, a picturesque farming community which was home to Uniroyal Chemical, a manufacturer of Agent Orange. During the Vietnam War the United States used the chemical to defoliate and expose transportation corridors to aerial strafing and bombardment. Over 2.5 million litres of the herbicide sprayed on the jungles and people of Vietnam was produced in Elmira. 

Today, the legacy of Agent Orange haunts both the people of Vietnam and Elmira. In Vietnam children continue to be born with serious deformations and in Elmira, the poor disposal practices of the toxic waste associated with the manufacture of Agent Orange, has resulted in chemicals seeping into the aquifer, causing local water wells to close in 1990 and high levels of dioxins and furans in the local creek. Dr. Harpelle is working with French filmmaker Sylvie Jacquemin on a France/Canada co-production.

New Book Recognizing Canada and Finland’s Relationship

Dr. Michel S. Beaulieu, Chair of the Department of History and President of the Alumni Association of Lakehead University, is a contributing editor to a new book recognizing Canada 150, Suomi 100, and 70 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Finland.Canada-Finland Cover  

Published by the Finnish-Canada Society in Helsinki and Canada’s Embassy in Finland, Canada-Finland, Celebrating 2017: A brave, hospitable and altogether admirable peoplecelebrates those who have shown leadership, ingenuity, and perseverance in bringing the two countries closer through scientific cooperation, educational exchange, political and economic engagement, and through cultural and sporting achievements.  

Contributors to the collection include many current and past Lakehead faculty members and alumni now living around the world. The publication was also supported by Lakehead University’s Chair in Finnish Studies Advisory Committee. Internationally renowned historian and Companion of the Order of Canada, Dr. Margaret MacMillan, provided the forward.  

The book continues to form part of Canada’s recognition of the relationship between Canada and Finland and has been distributed widely by Canada’s Embassy to Finland, including a formal presentation to his Excellency, Sauli Väinämö Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland last February.


New Publication Explores Post-World War I Austrian Burgenland

Assistant Professor Steven Jobbitt’s latest publication explores the role that geographical knowledge production played in the post-World War I “discovery” of Austrian Burgenland. Co-written with Ferenc Jankó of the University of West-Hungary, Sopron, "Making Burgenland from Western Hungary: Geography and the Politics of Identity in Interwar Austria" appears in the current issue of Hungarian Cultural Studies.

Abstract: This study explores the role that geographical knowledge production played in the post-World War I “discovery” of Austrian Burgenland, focusing in particular on the relationship between geographical discourse and the politics of identity formation in the 1920s and 1930s. The primary task is to offer insight into this knowledge-making process by highlighting the discursive strategies employed in a variety of scholarly and popular texts, and by shedding critical light on the various actors and epistemic communities responsible for the imagining of Burgenland from its annexation to Austria in 1921 to the dissolution of the region and its subsequent re-invention as a Greater German border zone after the Nazi Anschluss of 1938. As Jankó and Jobbitt argue, Burgenland’s discovery between the wars was both figurative and literal. Whether the “discoverers” were Austrian or German, national or local, Burgenland was as much a discursive concept as it was a physical reality. Its emergent identity as a region, therefore, much like its actual borders, was fluid and often contested.

Reference: Ferenc Jankó and Steven Jobbitt. "Making Burgenland from Western Hungary: Geography and the Politics of Identity in Interwar Austria." Hungarian Cultural Studies 10 (2017): 14-40. DOI: 10.5195/ahea.2017.313

New Publication Explores Orillia's Champlain Monument

Associate Professor Michael Stevenson's latest publication explores the controversial history of Orillia, Ontario's Champlain Monument. "'Free from all possibility of historical error': Orillia's Champlain Monument, French-English Relations, and Indigenous (Mis)Representations in Commemorative Sculpture" appears in the autumn issue of Ontario History

"The 1925 unveiling of the Champlain monument in Orillia capped nearly three decades of public commemoration of Samuel de Champlain's explorations in North America. Promoted tirelessly by local entrepeneur Charles Harold Hale and designed by English sculptor Vernon March, the monument was beset by controversy, construction delays, and cost overruns. Nonetheless, when completed, it was initially greeted with unanimous acclaim. Two overarching themes marked the monument. First, its backers sought to use it to improve frayed relations between Ontario's anglophone and Quebec's francophone populations. Second, the monument's design misrepresented the mutually beneficial relationship between Champlain and his Huron allies and promoted Eurocentric and colonial mentalities that marginalized the Indigenous contribution to the development of New France and Canada. While the first goal was largely unrealized, the second has resonated down to the present day" (taken from the abstract).

Reference: Stevenson, Michael S. "'Free from all possibility of historical error': Orillia's Champlain Monument, French-English Relations, and Indigenous (Mis)Representations in Commemorative Sculpture." Ontario History CIX, no. 2 (autumn 2017): 213-237.

Faculty Members Recognized for Contributions to Northwestern Ontario

Congratulations to faculty members Nathan Hatton and Kelly Saxberg who were recognized last week by Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Patty Hajdu for their contributions to Northwestern Ontario.

The Superior Northerners campaign celebrates people working to make a difference in Northwestern Ontario and the recipients were awarded certificates of recognition and Canada 150 Sesquicentennial pins last Friday at the Waverley Resource Library.

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