Instructor: Professor Jennifer Evans

This seminar is an applied history course which brings the tools of historical analysis and research to issues of public interest today. It will support efforts currently underway to decolonize the Royal Society of Canada. Alongside former president Duncan Campbell Scott, who played a pivotal role in crafting residential school policy and practice, members of the RSC – from social workers to engineers, lawyers to educators – were deeply implicated in creating the intellectual and administrative firmament upon which cultural genocide took place. They wrote position papers, influenced policymakers, served in government and made careers while Indigenous suffered the consequences of academic curiosity and misrepresentation. The Truth and Reconciliation Task Force of the RSC is keen to bring these stories to light in recognition of the TRC’s calls to action.

Course participants will read about the issues at stake in conducting this kind of research, particularly how to situate oneself in relation to historical and ongoing structural inequality. They will meet with diverse constituents to learn more about the stakes in doing this kind of work. They will work individually as well as collectively to develop and realize a research strategy and plan, with the RSC archive on site and in relevant repositories in the Ottawa region. At the end of the 13 week course, students will have learned ways of applying the tools of public history to an ongoing project of great importance to the Canadian historical landscape. Student findings will be assembled and presented to the RSC Task Force to help shape their education and outreach efforts which currently revolves around webpage design, interactive online activities, and a formal publication.

Please feel free to contact me for more details: