Active History


Active History in Solitude

Next month, I will start my first sabbatical. To prepare, I just finished reading Michael Harris’s new book,  Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World. The book came out in late April just as my teaching semester wrapped up. The timing couldn’t be better. Sabbaticals are another part of […]


A Brief History of Canadians Who Don’t Vote

Following Monday night’s election results, Canada may have marked a shift in the downward trend of voter turnout over the past twenty-seven years. According to early figures from Elections Canada, 68.5% of eligible voters (17,546,697 people) cast ballots. This is up considerably from the historic low turnout of 58.8% in […]


The Biggest Oil Pipeline Spills in Canadian History

In March 1950, four Alberta “pipeline walkers” spoke with a reporter from Canadian Press about their tireless work. Each worker walked twelve to fifteen miles per day, checking on pipeline facilities in the Edmonton district and looking for leaks, a consistent problem for Alberta’s booming oil industry in the mid-twentieth […]


Five Things You Might Not Have Known About Canadian Environmental History

Canadian environmental history is a burgeoning sub-field of Canadian history, but it is not very well known outside of academia. This is my own research speciality. On many occasions, I have had to answer the question: what is environmental history? Periodically, this is a question that environmental historians ask themselves. […]


Oil Pipeline Spill History at the National Energy Board of Canada Library

This week, I am taking advantage of some of the historical research materials available at the National Energy Board library in Calgary, Alberta. As we discussed on a recent episode of Nature’s Past: Canadian Environmental History Podcast, federal department libraries are incredible resources for environmental history. With the closure and consolidation […]


Ten Books to Contextualize the Environmental History of Food and Agriculture in Canada

By Andrew Watson, Stacy Nation-Knapper, and Sean Kheraj Last year, Nature’s Past, the Canadian environmental history podcast, published a special series called, “Histories of Canadian Environmental Issues”. Each episode focused on a different contemporary environmental issue and featured interviews and discussions with historians whose research explains the context and background. Following up […]