Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Career reflections of Jim Miller, historian

Jim Miller
I know from experience that it is difficult to the point of impossibility to sell a Canadian editor on a profile of a historian or historical controversy, no matter how newsworthy or culturally significant or just intriguing the career or event may seem. Profiles of politicians, and business people, and artists, and various kinds of activists, and even some scientists, okay. But history or social science scholars and topics? Not so much.

(A happy exception for me, I hasten to say, is Canada's History, where a succession of editors have given me substantial freedom and encouragement in choices of column topics, and for whom I have talked about (and to) a very large number of Canadianists over the years. But the longer profiles I might have pursued for general interest media all remain pretty much unpublished, uncommissioned, unwritten.)

The historical autobiographical essays that the Canadian Historical Review publishes are not quite the same thing, but they do approach the area I'm thinking of. And they exist! The current one, Jim Miller reflecting on his path from Creighton's graduate seminar and the Jesuit Estates Question to Shingwauk's Vision and other studies of Canadian policy on aboriginal matters, seems to me a sterling example of the genre. The whole thing can be accessed here, even by non-subscribers. (I did interview Jim Miller once, but it was about his experience teaching in Japan, and much of what he writes here I find new and surprising and interesting.)

 Image: USask,
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