Photo of Breanna Lester

Breanna Lester

Ph.D. Student

Degrees:B.A. Hons. (Carleton University), M.A. (McMaster University)

Current Program (including year of entry)

Ph.D., History (2016)


Prof. John C. Walsh

Academic Interests

First World War; myth making and deconstruction; memory; public history; Canadian and transnational commemoration; war memorials and monuments; oral history; cultural history; history of psychiatry; shell shock.

Select Publications and Current Projects

Joseph Scanlon and Breanna Lester. “Killing Them Softly – with Spanish Flu.” Natural Hazards Observer XXXVIII (January 2014), 10-13.

Learning to Interpret Silence: My Experience with ‘Failure’ in Oral History.” Carleton University. 2014.

Select Conference Publications

“Sculpting, Exhibiting, and Teaching Nationhood: Canada’s First World War Centenary.” McMaster History Graduate Conference, McMaster University, Hamilton. May 2016.

“Sculpting, Exhibiting, and Teaching Nationhood: Canada’s First World War Centenary.” History, Heritage, and Memory Graduate Symposium, McMaster University, Hamilton. April 2015.

“Shell Shock as a Theory and a Trope: Examining Shell Shock as Cultural Discourse in Britain, 1915-1930.” Underhill Graduate Colloquium, Carleton University, Ottawa. March 2015.

Teaching Experience

Introduction to Art History (G. Davies), Fall 2014.

Social History of Cancer (M. Egan), Winter 2015.

Ancient and Pre Colonial Africa (S. Klausen), Fall 2016.

Description of Research

My dissertation analyses commemorations of the First World War in contemporary Canadian society. I am particularly interested in the ways in which Canadian society has participated in constructing the meaning of the First World War as its centenary celebrations continue through 2018. Central to my dissertation will be an analysis of if and how these centennial commemorations normalized remembering the war as a duty of citizenship and operated as a marker of Canadian-ness.