Dr. C. Nathan Hatton Guest Speaker on Champlain Society's Podcast Witness to Yesterday

Patrice Dutil  on Witness to Yesterday, talks with Dr. Hatton of Lakehead University about the evolution of wrestling in Winnipeg and Manitoba from the 1880s to the 1930s. He is an Assistant Professor to the Department of History and  also the Public History Program Coordinator for the department.

“Dr. Hatton in the podcast on Witness to Yesterday covers the evolution of the sport from its Indigenous origins and how it reflected the tensions between amateurs and professionals. Dutil and Hatton discuss the enduring popularity of the sport. Hatton explores wrestling as a social phenomenon intimately bound up with debates around respectability, ethnicity, race, class, and idealized conceptions of masculinity.”

Click on the link to listen to the podcast aired December 11, 2020 with interviewer Patrice Dutil, produced by Jessica Schmidt .

History Department in the List of Awards Presentation by the Thunder Bay Museum

The Department of History is pleased to announce the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Publications Awards Presentations Nominees for 2020-2021; the awards will take place on  January 2, 2022 at 1:30 PM, EST at the TBHMS President's Reception.

We congratulate all the nominees, with notice to our department members Dr. Michel Beaulieu, Dr. Peter Raffo, Dr. David Ratz, and past history program graduates Elinor Barr, David Blanchard, Greg Johnsen, and John Potestio. The list of all awards and nominees follows.

ELIZABETH ARTHUR AWARD: (Academic full-length)

Benidickson, Jamie. Levelling the Lake: Transboundary Resource Management in the Lake of the Woods Watershed. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2019.

Luby, Brittany. Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2020.

Scollie, Brent Frederick. Biographical Dictionary and History of Victorian Thunder Bay (1850-1901). Thunder Bay: Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, 2020.

Pateman, John. Canadian General Hospital. 2020.

Pateman, John. Port Arthur to Orpington Hospital: Tom Stanworth Goes To War. 2020.

Pateman, John. Thunder Bay and World War One: 1917. 2019

Pateman, John. Thunder Bay and World War One: 1918-1921. 2019.

GERTRUDE H. DYKE AWARD: (Popular full-length)

Potestio, John. Becoming Canadian: Memories of an Italian Immigrant. Thunder Bay: Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, 2020.

Skrepichuk, William P. Troop Treks of 1885: Documents and Illustrations (Thunder Bay: Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, 2019.

Pateman, John. Cantos. 2019.

J.P. BERTRAND AWARD: (Academic Article)

Beaulieu, Michel S. "It is better to retreat now than be crushed altogether": Questions of Ethnicity and the Communist Party of Canada at the Lakehead.” In Left Transnationalism: The Comintern and the National, Colonial and Racial Questions, edited by Oleska Drachewych and Ian McKay, 337-359. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020.

Finch. David. M. “The Registered Trapline System in Northern Ontario.” Ontario History CXII, no. 2 (Autumn 2020): 178-190.

Moir, Michael B. “Wooden Shipbuilding at Fort William, 1917-1918.” Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers & Records XLVII (2019): 36-62.

Raffo, Peter. “Saul Laskin and the Making of Thunder Bay.” Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers & Records XLVIII (2020): 5-39.

Ratz, David. “The Canadian Military in Thunder Bay Since the Second World War.” Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers & Records XLVIII (2020): 83-117.


Beaulieu, Michel S. "Political Mapping: Louis St-Laurent’s 1949 Tour of Western Canada." Findings|Trouvailles (November 2020). https://champlainsociety.utpjournals.press/findings-trouvailles/2020/11/political-mapping

Barr, Elinor. “Swedish Immigrants to Northwestern Ontario: The Berglund Family 1907 to 1933.” Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers & Records XLVII (2019): 63-75.


Blanchard, David and Michel S. Beaulieu. “The Kimberley-Clark Corporation and Terrace Bay.” Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers & Records XLVII (2019): 107-119.

Imrie, Diane. “A Rich and Proud Sports History: Fifty Years of Sport in Thunder Bay.” Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers & Records XLVIII (2020): 65-82.

Johnsen, Greg. “Bats and Balls Have Been Sent For’: The Beginnings of Baseball in Thunder Bay, 1875-1889.” Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers & Records XLVII (2019): 86-106.

Kilgour, Conner. "The Secret Tunnels of Port Arthur," Parts 1 and 2 (Bayview Magazine, June 2019) <www.bayviewmagazine.com/article/2019/06/secret-tunnels-port-arthur.part-1>

Lavoie, Edgar J. Pioneering a Great Circle Route in Northern Ontario: Von Grounau's 'Greenland Whale' Overnight in Longlac,: Thunder Bay Papers and Records (XLVII, 2019), 76-85.  

 Pilon, Jean-Luc. “The wreck of the Cam Owen on the Ontario Shores of the Hudson Bay Lowlands.” Findings|Trouvailles (November 2019).



Johnsen, Greg. “’Bats and Balls Have Been Sent For’: The Beginnings of Baseball in Thunder Bay, 1875-1889.” Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society Papers & Records XLVII (2019): 86-106

Dr. C. Nathan Hatton Recent Publishing of Review and Article

The Department of History congratulates Dr. Hatton's publishing, of his review for the Canadian Historical Review on the Biographical Dictionary and History of Victorian Thunder Bay.  Follow the link:

 In November, he also contributed an article on World War I recruitment efforts in Toronto, for Slam Wrestling. Follow the link:


Dr. Steven Jobbitt Research Story Featured in Lakehead University Alumni Magazine


The Department of History congratulates Dr. Steven Jobbitt in his research on the rise of populism and the decline of democracy in Hungary.

Recently a featured story was published in the Lakehead University’s Alumni magazine Journey.


You can read the article by Tracey Skeehan by following the link to the featured research story "The Demise of a Democracy": https://www.lakeheadu.ca/alumni/journey/magazine/fall-2021/articles/node/67096


History MA student Michael McNeil Receives a Graduate Merit Award from the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Department of History would like to congratulate our History MA student Michael McNeil, who recently received a Graduate Merit Award from the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences for his paper "The Accursed Mountains: The Albanian Highlands in the Colonial Gaze of Ferenc Nopcsa, 1903-1914." Michael's research focuses on Hungary’s contribution to Austro-Hungarian expansionism in the Balkans during the last decades of the Habsburg Empire, and he presented his paper on May 31, 2021 as part of the Hungarian Studies Association of Canada's 35th annual conference.


For more on Michael's work and the award, see https://congress2021.ca/congress-blog/meet-recipients-2021-congress-graduate-merit-awards-may-31


In Memoriam: Dr. Min-sun Chen

In Memoriam: Dr. Min-sun Chen

Photo of Dr. Min-sun Chen

The Lakehead University community was saddened to learn that Dr. Min-sun Chen, Professor Emeritus of History, passed away on May 18, six months short of his 100th birthday.

Min-sun was born on November 19, 1921 in Changsha, Hunan, China. He joined the Department of History in 1966 and taught Chinese and Japanese history full-time until his mandatory retirement in 1986.

A quiet, dedicated, and dignified individual with a deep sense of commitment to the Department of History and Lakehead University, he took great pride in his roles across the university as a faculty member and as Chair of the Department between 1978 and 1984.

Min-sun received his PhD in History from the University of Chicago in 1971 and quickly established himself as a well-respected specialist in East Asian history, with many of his publications exploring Sino-Western relations.

Throughout his career and life, he remained committed to expanding and disseminating knowledge about Asia in Canada with organizations such as the Canadian Asian Studies Association. In 2015, the American Historical Association recognized Min-sun with a lifetime membership for, at the time, over 50 years of continuous membership and engagement.

Locally, Min-sun played a key role in working with local high school teachers (many of whom were alumni) in establishing the Thunder Bay Branch of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (now the Canadian International Council).

Its relationship with the Department of History has resulted in hundreds of speakers presenting to the university, including former Canadian prime ministers and ambassadors from around the world. Min-sun was also a long-time member of Trinity United Church.

After retirement, Min-sun remained a vital member of the Department, teaching courses for the next 20 years on a sessional/contract lecturer basis.

A life-long supporter of domestic and international students and access to education, he established an endowed research award in history in 1991 and, along with his wife, the late Dr. Anita Beltran Chen (Professor Emeritus Sociology), the Lakehead University 30th Anniversary International Graduate Award in the Social Science and Humanities.

In 2017, a generous donation from Min-sun and Anita resulted in the establishment of the International Student Lounge in the lower level of the Chancellor Paterson Library.

Until recently, there was never a public event at the university that Min-sun and Anita did not grace with their attendance. And he was always so cheerful and happy to greet everyone, almost as a long-lost friend. When visiting the department, he would always bring a printout of humorous sayings, little life lessons and advice to share with those around him.

The last of the first generation of historians recruited by the late Dr. Tom Miller in the first years of Lakehead University, Min-sun will be remembered with much affection by those who worked and studied with him. It must be said that some of us thought he would go on forever, so indestructible did he seem!

As per Min-sun's wishes, cremation has taken place. Services and internment at Riverside Cemetery will take place in the future.

Online condolences for Min-sun can be made at this Everest Funeral Chapel Tribute page.

The flag at Lakehead Thunder Bay will be lowered to half-mast in honour of Min-sun on Tuesday, May 25.


Dr. Steven Jobbitt Publishes in Spring 2021

The Department of History congratulates Dr. Steven Jobbitt in his recent publications, a co-edited book and also a book chapter with Lakehead University colleagues Dr. Stolar and Dr. Sacchetti Dufresne.


Zsolt Bottlik, Márton Berki, and Steven Jobbitt, eds. Power and Identity in the Post-Soviet Realm: Geographies of Ethnicity and Nationality after 1991 (Stuttgart: Ibidem, 2021). https://www.ibidem.eu/en/power-and-identity-in-the-post-soviet-realm.html?fbclid=IwAR2_4_VbI6BPUkaFi7E2xkR63ilL2g6eEwab9f2-bpUvUeSkL_uiP8X6gCo


Steven Jobbitt, "Dance and the Fulfillment of Multicultural Desire: The Reflections of an Accidental Ukrainian," in Moving Together: Dance and Pluralism in Canada, eds. Allan C. Lindgren, Batia Boe Stolar, and Clara Sacchetti (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2021): 273-86. https://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/Books/M/Moving-Together

Dance and Pluralism in Canada photograph of book jacket

New Work by History professor, Dr. Travis Hay

Dr. Hay is a historian with Lakehead University's History department and Indigenous Learning department who specializes in Canadian federal Indian policy and settler colonialism. He is also a Lakehead University alumnus with a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in History.

He began researching the hunger strike in 2019 and he's written a book – The Science of Settler Colonialism – that will be released in September 2021 by the University of Manitoba Press.

"I study archival records," says Dr. Hay, "but these can only tell half of the story."

The Science of Settler Colonialism authored with respected Elder Terri Redsky Fiddler, from Sandy Lake First Nation, chronicles medical experiments on First Nations in the 1900s.

Congratulations on your forthcoming publication.


Lakehead University’s Journey online magazine featured a brief of Dr. Hay’s research into the Sandy Lake Five and the Hunger Strike of 1988, lead by then Chief Josias Fiddler, head of Sandy Lake First Nation. You can read the full article here, The hunger strikers who fought for basic health care by Tracey Skehan (Spring 2021).

Read more in APTN National News online, about Dr. Hay’s continuing work and research, written by Sarah Nelson Thunder Bay professor bucks family trend, does his part to deliver reconciliation to city (March 14, 2021).


Dr. Ronald Harpelle, Professor, Department of History Publishing a New Chapter

The Department of History is pleased to announce that Dr. Ron Harpelle has published a chapter on the history of West Indian immigration and settlement in Central America in a collection that focuses on issues of identity within the African Diaspora in Latin America.

The arrival of the British West Indians in Central America challenged the prevailing notions of race and of the place that people African descent occupied in those societies. Beginning in the 1850s and continuing for a century, approximately 500,000 West Indian men, women and children went to Central America in search of opportunities.

Dr. Harpelle’s chapter is entitled, “Anglo-caribenhos transplantados: os povos esquecidos nas margens ocidentais do mar do Caribe,” and it appears in Elaine Pereira Rocha and Nielson Rosa Bezerra (Eds.) Mosaico: A Construção de Identidades na Diáspora Africana, Paco Editorial, 2021.


We look forward to reading his chapter.


Dr. Steven Jobbitt Publishes in The Sage Handbook of Historical Geography

The Department of History extends congratulations to Dr. Steven Jobbitt on his work co-writing with Róbert Győri.

The chapter provides a comprehensive historical overview and assessment of the field of historical geography in East Central Europe from the late nineteenth century to the present. It is co-authored with Róbert Győri. A large part of the research was completed when Győri was a visiting scholar in Thunder Bay with the Department of History, Fall 2019.

Follow the publication link to The Sage Handbook of Historical Geography


Colour photo book jacket  map on grey page for The Sage Handbook of Historical Geography