Sunday, 23 November 2014

Crosspost: Vacating Science and Forgetting History at the Central Experimental Farm

This post originally appeared at Active History. As always, please leave comments at the original.

Pete at Farm with Civic in Background.jpg” with Caption: “Pete Anderson posing near the threatened experimental plots with the Civic Hospital in the background. Photo credit: Laura Cameron.
Pete Anderson posing near the threatened experimental plots with the Civic Hospital in the background. Photo credit: Laura Cameron.

On November 3rdJohn Baird announced that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada transferred approximately 24 hectares (60 acres) of the Central Experimental Farm, in Ottawa, to the National Capital Commission. The NCC in turn offered to lease the land to the Ottawa Hospital to build a new Civic Campus. The Hospital then mused about the using this new land as a parking lot.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Hulme: Human Geography and the Many Voices of Climate Change

On Thursday, November 13th and Friday, November 14th Mike Hulme gave two public lectures at Carleton University. Hulme is a Professor of Climate and Culture in the Department of Geography at University of King’s College and after a career working as a climatologist at the University of East Anglia is now making a transition to being a human (and in particular a cultural) geographer.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Op-ed: Protect the Central Experimental Farm

Central Experimental Farm looking towards the Windfield Towers, Personal Photograph.

My op-ed arguing against the development of the Central Experimental Farm, even for a hospital, can be found at the Ottawa Citizen. Please leave any comments on the original post.

Crosspost: Graduate School and the Consulting Historian

This was originally posted at History@Work, the blog of the National Council for Public History. Please leave comments at the original.

Academic careers are hard to come by these days. Public historians will not be surprised by the posts on the active #altac hashtag on Twitter or the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) recent “White Paper on the Future of the PhD in the Humanities” that observed that only between 10 and 15 percent of those who enter PhD programs will be employed at a post-secondary institution [1]. A declining number of tenured and tenure-track positions, coupled with an increased reliance on precarious labor in the form of adjunct and temporary appointments, has destabilized the academic job market for graduates. Deep budget cuts to museums, archives, and other research-oriented institutions–not just in history and the humanities, but also in the social, physical, and life sciences–make finding “traditional” public history jobs increasingly difficult as well.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

/Kitchen Literacy/ in "The Westward-Moving House": A Joint Review

  • Ann Vileisis, Kitchen Literacy: How we lost knowledge of where food comes from and why we need to get it back. (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2008.) Book Website. 
  •  John Brinckerhoff Jackson, “The Westward-Moving House: Three American Houses and the People Who Lived in Them.” Places Journal, July 2011: Online. [Originally printed in Landscapes (2.3), Spring 1953.]

Food is essential to life. These two works, Ann Vileisis’s Kitchen Literacy and John Brinckerhoff Jackson’s “The Westward-Moving House,” focus on the social histories and cultural geographies of people and places at seemingly opposite poles of eating: the cooks and the farmers. This observation obscures the deep similarities in the important stories Vileisis and Jackson tell about how we have come to rely on distributed supply chains for our daily sustenance.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Bureaucratic Ruins: Images from the Last Days of the Sir John Carling Building

I hope to flesh this post out with more images (and words) but for now here are a few shots of the late Sir John Carling Building. Named after the federal Minister of Agriculture who oversaw the establishment of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa and the wider Experimental Farm system across the country in 1886 (Carling was also one of those responsible for the founding of the Ontario Agricultural College in the 1870s), the Sir John Carling Building was one of the first attempts to consolidate a federal department in a single building.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Rambling at the Farm: Walking Tours, History, Digital Humanities

I recently took my friend Kendall, a PhD candidate in history at Queen's University, on a rambling tour through the Central Experimental Farm. Over the course of an hour and a half and covering 6.5km, we jumped through the Euro-Canadian history of the site. While I didn't have a firm plan about where we'd go and what stories I'd tell, the route wound through some of my favourite spots and included an interweaving of apocryphal local legends, histories of the Farm system and of the city, descriptions of archival collections I've already worked with, and a discussion of the various methodologies I hope to apply as I get into my dissertation research.