Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


April 8, 2014


Like the first flowers of spring, the latest issue of Geist magazine (#92) arrived this morning. It includes my column about James Daschuk's disturbing history of post-Confederation government policy toward the First Nations of the Prairie West.

"As the federal government of Canada ramps up celebrations for the looming sesquicentennial of Confederation in 2017, we do well to remind ourselves that not everyone thinks there is all...

April 4, 2014


Still not bored with the never-resolved debate between the academic historians and the popularizers? Then check out this defence of the academicians. "It's not all about making the bestseller list." Hear, hear.

The links will take you to some of the latest arguments from the other side of the question as well.



April 3, 2014


Last week I attended a lecture at the Vancouver Public Library by Margaret MacMillan about her latest book on World War One, The War That Ended Peace. Professor MacMillan gives a very polished performance. She carried a sheaf of papers but as far as I could tell hardly had to consult them as she ran us through a brisk outline of her book, which is about the causes of the war...

March 24, 2014


Many years ago I got it into my head to write a history of 1919. So much happened that year after the Great War ended: revolution in Germany, civil wars in Ireland and Russia, a red scare in the US, general strikes, the peace process, slaughter in India, assassination and insurrection everywhere. With so much to tell, the story should have written itself. But, alas, it didn’t. In...

March 17, 2014


This week the folks at the ActiveHistory website are conducting a postmortem on the Historical Thinking Project.

Masterminded by Peter Seixas at UBC, the HTP was an attempt to develop a new approach to teaching history. Late last year the federal government cut off its funding and the project has had to close.

ActiveHistory is running a ...