Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


October 23, 2013

It was our first day in the south of France and we had stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe in the lovely little town of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. It was market day. The vendors in the square, who had been selling cheese, olives, spices, salami, fresh produce and helpings of paella topped with the largest shrimp I had ever seen, were beginning to pack up.

At the neighbouring table a group of about a dozen Brits were enjoying a boisterous meal, lubricated by a steady supply of beer and...

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...