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Writing Workshop with author Douglas Hunter

Distinguished author Douglas Hunter will lead an exclusive Writing Workshop for York University Graduate Students. Doug is the author of a wide range of books of different genres in the fields of early Canadian history, business and sports, and his works have been celebrated by a number of prizes. He has been a winner of and finalist for the National Business Book Award and a finalist for the Nereus Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. His journalism has appeared in major newspapers as well as the Literary Review of Canada, Canada's History, Canadian Geographic, ON Nature, and online at History News Network. Doug is currently completing his PhD in History at York. He will talk about the writing process, approaches, the differences between trade and academic publishing, and how academic writing skills can be adapted to the trade publishing environment.

Pre-registration is required by Monday, 21 April. Email:

The workshop will take place on Thursday, 24 April, from 10 am -12 noon.
Location: Harry Crowe Room, New College (109 Atkinson)

First ever Canadian Studies Comedy Night!

On Friday, 4 April, the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies will host the first ever Canadian Studies (Bright Club) Comedy Night.  In the Bright Club format, researchers take their scholarly work and turn it into a stand-up comedy sketch.  Professors Jessica van Horssen (History), Kym Bird (Humanities), Priscila Uppal (English) and Sean Kheraj (History) will take the plunge in presenting their work in a stand-up routine.

The Comedy Night will close off the first Robarts Centre Graduate Student Conference, organised by Mario D’Agostino, PhD candidate in English and member of the Robarts Executive. The theme of the conference is “Canada: Place, Space and the Politics of Identity.”

The Comedy Night begins at 7.00 p.m. in the Chancellors Room, The Underground Restaurant.

All are welcome to attend the conference and the comedy night, but should pre-register by email to

2014 Robarts Centre Graduate Student Conference “Canada: Place, Space and the Politics of Identity”

The first Robarts Centre interdisciplinary graduate student conference, "Canada: Place, Space and the Politics of Identity" will take place on Friday April 4, 2014 from 8:30AM-5:00PM in the Kaneff Tower.

The conference will feature presentations and panels from various visiting English, Visual Arts, History, Theatre and Performance Studies, Music and Political Science programs; as well as York University Students from LA & PS and Fine Arts. A keynote roundtable will feature Professors Leslie Sanders (Humanities, York), David T. McNab (Equity Studies, York), and Lily Cho (English, York).

Canada: Place, Space and the Politics of Identity Program

Register at


Borderlands Round Table

2014 Roundtable - 2Ad Final

"Borderlands, Transatlantic Diasporas, and Transpacific Networks: The Spatial Turn in Migration History"

William Jenkins (York University)
Laura Madokoro (McGill University)
Benjamin Bryce (University of Toronto)


Friday March 28, 2014
12:30 - 2:00 PM
Common Room, Dept. of History (2172 Vari Hall)

Lunch will be served at 12 PM



Nature’s Past: Episode 41- Closing Federal Libraries

Episode 41: Closing Federal Libraries, 3 February 2014 [45:45]


A dumpster at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada library in Mont-Joli, Quebec in an image sent by a federal union official.

In 2012, the Canadian federal government began closing and consolidating many of its departmental libraries. More than a dozen research libraries have closed at Parks Canada, Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration, Human Resources and Skills Development, the National Capital Commission, Intergovernmental Affairs, Public Works and Government Services, Canada Revenue Agency, Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and Canadian Heritage (click here for a timeline of closures).

In December, the government began to close all but four of its eleven Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries. News reports across the country showed startling images of books and other documents lying in dumpsters with rumors that others may have been burned. The culling of these libraries involved what has been described as a haphazard free-for-all with members of the public and industry scooping up abandoned books and valuable so-called “grey literature,” unique internal government publications. The process of library consolidation and closure seems to have happened so quickly that books that were still out on loan were never recalled. And beyond the loss of material, we still do not know the extent of the personnel losses. As library staff get laid off, valuable human knowledge vanishes along with the books.

One thing that stands out in this troubling story is the degree to which the library closures have targeted scientific and environmental research branches of the government. These libraries housed historical research materials of great relevance to Canada’s environmental history. As such, they are likely to have a detrimental impact on our ability to know about the past.

We decided then to find out more about this issue by speaking with Andrew Nikiforuk, a writer and journalist for who has written extensively on this topic. I also sat down with a panel of environmental historians to get their take on the potential impact these closures might have on Canadian environmental history.

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