Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our readers write...

Ted Betts, who runs a lively blog, Franklin's Ghost, devoted to the Franklin expedition, sends a comment and a suggestion.
By the way, you are absolutely right about the ROM History Wars. I was at one last year with Desmond Morton, Granatstein and Bernard Landry supposedly commemorating the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, but really debating whether English rule was a net benefit or detriment to Quebec. Professor Morton was informative if you didn't know much about the battle (my g-g-g-g-g-grandfather was one of the Fraser Highlanders who marched onto the field first). Granatstein was appalling though in his derogatory belittling of not just separatists but of Quebec as a contributor to Canada. Not a great moment in Canadian historical engagement. [That's about my memory of the event too, though I was struck by the size of the crowd and the evident appetite for intelligent debate about Canadian history -- CM]

I would so love it if you introduced comments on your site! I'd have relayed that story but somehow never think it significant enough to send an email about. I think you would find a lot of good feedback and information, and dialog. I just don't think there is enough dialog in history. In my blogging and social media experience, it helps build a community of like minds to be able to voice thoughts interactively. I'm sure you've given it lots of thought though.
Comments? -- I remain open to advice. Meanwhile archaeologist Andrew Stewart sends a note about the farflung influence of Canadian historians
I am reading the book Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Cambridge historian Richard Miles. It’s a fascinating history of Punic civilization in the western Mediterranean, 800-160 BC. I was intrigued by his reference to literature about this region and period that cites Richard White’s The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Apparently some historians of the ancient world are now using White’s reconstruction as a model to explain interaction and relationships among “civilized” (Near Eastern and Greek peoples) and indigenous central and western Mediterranean peoples. Imagine – our own little Great Lakes explaining some of the foundations of the ancient world!
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