Monday, January 29, 2024

The Broadening of Canadian History

Cook by Barker Fairley
I haven't been willing to keep up with the stream of pieces from The Hub that go on accusing Canadian history of being dead. But Donald Wright of UNB has gone there for us with an effective response.  

It's not his own, mostly. He's sharing the wisdom of Ramsay Cook who, oddly, has himself been dead since 2016, but somehow still seems smarter than most of his colleagues. 

In 2009, Cook delivered the inaugural H. Sanford Riley Lecture in Canadian History at the University of Winnipeg, his alma mater when it was still United College. His title—“Who Broadened Canadian History?”—was an obvious riff on Who Killed Canadian History?, which in his words was “a polemical little tract.”

'Tseems Cook's talk from 2009 has not been published, but the argument Donald Wright draws from it in his own Hub essay gives the gist -- and is a substantial response in its own right.  Read the whole thing.

(When I first met Ramsay Cook, he struck me as someone who had been the smartest guy in the room most of his life -- and had learned to live with it. That is, very sharp, but comfortable and unpretentious about it. Maybe he still is.

(Fun fact: If you put G. Ramsay Cook  -- his usual signature -- into a search engine, you may have to wade through a lot of links to Gordon Ramsay, the television chef.)  

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