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Lady Eaton College building with green trees in the background



Speakers, Events, Announcements

The History Undergraduate and Masters program sponsors an annual speakers series providing an opportunity for our students to hear and meet some of the most exciting and innovative scholars in the humanities. There are opportunities to socialize with our visitors afterwards.  As always, these presentations are open to all members of the university community.

2017-18 Academic Year

Dr. Konrad Eisenbichler
Professor, ​Renaissance Studies Program and the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto
December 6, 2017
Boys, Sin, and Confraternities in Renaissance Florence

Presented by the Historical Visions and Revisions Speakers Series

Florentine confraternities for young men aged 13 to 24 sought not only to gather youths for prayer and devotion, but also to teach them socially acceptable behaviour. Part of this pedagogical effort is evident in the religious plays the youths performed at Carnival time and on other special occasions. Taking the lead from Castellan de' Castellani’s play on the parable of the prodigal son, this presentation will examine Florentine attitudes towards youths, sin, and confraternities as evidenced not only in Castellani's play, but also in Savonarola's work with Florentine youths, and in contemporary records from confraternal and personal documents.

Konrad Eisenbichler teaches in the Renaissance Studies Program and in the Department of Italian Studies at the university of Toronto. His research focuses on the intersection of literature, politics, and religion in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy, with a special interest in how this intersection operates within early modern confraternities. He is the author, translator, or editor of more than 20 books, among which the monograph The Boys of the Archangel Raphael. A Youth Confraternity in Florence, 1411-1785, which received the Howard A. Marraro Prize from the American Catholic Historical Association, and the monograph of The Sword and the Pen: Women, Politics, and Poetry in Sixteenth-Century Siena, which won several prizes, including the Ennio Flaiano International Prize for Italian Studies and the "Outstanding Academic Title for 2013" awarded by Choice magazine. In 2014 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.



“Celebrating Twenty-Years of the Portuguese Studies Review”
October 26 and 27, 2017
Sponsored by/Patroniciado por: Trent University, Lusophone Studies Association, Portuguese Studies Review, and Baywolf Press




2016-17 Academic Year

Dr. Tina Mai Chen
Professor and head of the Department of History at the University of Manitoba, and co-ordinator, Interdisciplinary Research Circle on Globalization and Cosmopolitanism
January 23, 2017
Gendered Projections: Female Bodies in Rural Film Practices in the People's Republic of China

Presented by the Historical Visions and Revisions Speakers Series






Dr. Stephanie Rutherford
Associate Professor, Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University
November 15, 2016
Animal Stories: Narrating the Nation The Place of the Wolf in Canadian Narratives


Dr. Stephanie Rutherford, associate professor, Environmental and Resource Studies discusses how animals occupy a complex and sometimes contradictory space in national narratives. Often in settler colonial countries like Canada, struggle with nonhuman nature is venerated as the vehicle through which national identity is born. At the same time, the animals that were so central to the making of Canada – both wild and domesticated – often act as spectral figures at the edges of historical change, erased from the places we might go in search of their pasts. However, the stories we tell about animals, and the ways they support particular ideas about the nation differently at different times, are a valuable archive that shows how narratives of the nation are anything but static. Using the metaphor of migration, this talk suggests that the history of wolves in Canada offers a particularly interesting way to conceptualize the shifting terrain of nationhood.  


2015-2016 Academic Year

PosterDr. Marc Epprecht
​Professor and Head of the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University
March 8, 2016
The Native Village Debate in Pietermaritzburg, SA, 1848-1925: Revisiting the 'sanitation syndrome' 

Presented by the Historical Visions and Revisions Speakers Series

Maynard Swanson first coined the term “sanitation syndrome” in his 1976 study of the origins of racial segregation in Durban. This posits that scientific knowledge about contagious disease was co-opted and exploited by racist whites - sometimes unconsciously - as a rational-sounding, humanitarian cover for the politically difficult goal of physically removing Asians and Africans from the city into tightly controlled, racially segregated locations. The concept struck a chord among radical historians in South Africa and farther afield, not only because it problematized science as metaphorical, but also because it shifted blame for the antecedents of apartheid onto urban, self-styled progressive British officials and voters. I employ a case study approach to assess whether the empirical evidence from Maritzburg supports such an analysis. The focus is upon an infamous decision in 1925 to place the “model native village” beside the city dump. I highlight generally overlooked African voices in that debate, and particularly elite women’s first foray into the public political sphere (1923), long before the usual starting point for African women’s political activism.

Marc Epprecht is a Professor and Head of the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University. He has published extensively on the history of gender and sexuality in Africa including Hungochani: The history of a dissident sexuality in southern Africa (winner of the 2006 Joel Gregory Prize – best book on Africa published in Canada), Heterosexual Africa? and Sexuality and Social Justice in Africa.  Marc lived on the continent off and on since the 1980s and has also taught at the U. of Zimbabwe, U. of KwaZulu-Natal, and U. of Basel. His forthcoming book is entitled Environment, Health, and Gender in an African City: Edendale and environs, South Africa (MQUP).


PosterDr. Ian Mosby
​January 14, 2016
Hunger, Human Experimentation, and the Legacy of Residential Schools

Presented by the Historical Visions and Revisions Speakers Series

Dr. Ian Mosby’s talk will discuss his experience over the past year of meeting with and listening to the stories of survivors of a series of nutrition experiments conducted on nearly 1,000 children in Indian residential schools between 1948 and 1952. In July 2013, Dr. Mosby’s article Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research and Human Biomedical Experimentation in Aboriginal Communities and Residential Schools, 1942–1952, was published in the journal Histoire sociale/Social History and almost immediately received widespread coverage by Canadian as well as international media. Since that time, he has given dozens of talks about his research, including at multiple public forums for Mi’kmaq, Nuu-chah-nulth, Gitxsan and Anishinaabe survivors of these nutrition experiments.

The goal of Dr. Mosby’s talk will therefore be to provide some historical background for these experiments while also discussing what the broader response to his research tells us about Canada’s current efforts towards reconciliation – particularly following the end of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s mandate.   

2014-15 Academic Year

PosterDr. Federico Finchelstein
​New School for Social Research in New York,
March 30, 2015
Rethinking Fascism

Presented by the Historical Visions and Revisions Speakers Series

Guest Speaker Professor Federico Finchelstein, from the New School for Social Research in New York, will be joining us to give a talk on rethinking fascism. The lecture will deal with the different interpretations of fascism in history, the central dimensions of fascism as explored in recent historiography: violence, ideology, empire and racism, through a trans-national approach. 




PosterDr. Doris Bergen
Professor, History at the University of Toronto
March 2, 2015
Holocaust Survivors and Holocaust Scholars: A Changing and Challenging Relationship

Presented by the Historical Visions and Revisions Speakers Series