Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

September 2013

September 25, 2013


Nothing much besides Rick Steves, Lonely Planet guides and French train timetables.

That's right, I'm off to see the world. As a result, not much posting here for a few weeks.

À toute à l'heure...

September 23, 2013



Here are two not-very-good photos of the Reconciliation Walk in downtown Vancouver yesterday.

The heavy rain did little to dampen the spirits of any of the people I saw. The CBC estimates 10,000 marchers; the...

September 19, 2013

The folks at ActiveHistory.ca have posted a podcast of a roundtable that took place in Victoria back in June. The Canadian Historical Association and the Canadian Political Science Association brought together a dozen academics from both disciplines to discuss "History Under Harper", i.e. the present government's attempts to manipulate what one participant called "the new symbolics of Canada."

I'm probably not spoiling anything by telling you that...

September 16, 2013

Last week the post brought two new "political" books from the Vancouver publisher, New Star Books.

One is a revised edition of Mark Leier's "life and times" of the fascinating labour activist and spy, Robert Gosden. First published in 1999, this new edition of Rebel Life contains additional information about Gosden, an enigmatic figure in the history of the labour movement. Mark teaches history at Simon Fraser U and his chapter "On the Trail of a Labour Spy" offers a...

September 12, 2013

I missed this when it was announced.

The Vancouver-based online "newspaper" The Tyee and the history department at Simon Fraser U. have sponsored a new writing prize in honour of the late SFU historian Michael Fellman.

The prize is for an essay "that demonstrates bold thought, clear analysis, and rests on well researched historical understanding."

Details are here.

September 6, 2013

A project that has kept me busy this summer is an illustrated history of prohibition in Canada. Titled Closing Time, it will be published next year.

American prohibition has been enjoying a lot of attention lately. Last year PBS aired a Ken Burns documentary on the subject, based on Daniel Okrent's best-selling book Last Call, and the TV drama "Boardwalk Empire" has had huge success. But most Canadians don't realize that we had our own experience with prohibition....

September 1, 2013

Two blogs to recommend, both by old pals.

If you have any interest in out-of-the-way corners of Canadian literature, pay a visit to Brian Busby's entertaining blog, The Dusty Bookcase, if for no other reason than Brian holds a watching brief on the (non) appearance of Prime Minister Harper's much ballyhooed hockey book.