Second Ganong Colloquium

Photo: Reto Fetz

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Event Date: Sep 17 2009 – Sep 18 2009
Venue: Dalhousie University
City: Halifax, NS
Country: Canada

The two day event brought faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, researchers and members of the public together to discuss and chart new directions in environmental history of Atlantic Canada. Organized by the Historians of the Environment of the Atlantic Region (HEAR), and generously supported by the Network for Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE), the Colloquium was an opportunity to exchange ideas about emerging areas of, and approaches to, research. The event also provided attendees with the opportunity to prioritize research areas and a forum to discuss future projects for HEAR and scholars working in this area.

On September 17, 2009, Dr. Graeme Wynn, Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia and world renowned historical geographer delivered the opening 2009-10 MacKay Lecture. As part of the Ganong Colloquium, Dr. Wynn’s talk provided an intriguing overview of environmental history in Atlantic Canada. Titled “Sustainability and Resilience in Atlantic Canada: A Long View,” Dr. Wynn’s lecture emphasized the relevance of historical knowledge in the way that we assess and approach the environmental past of the region. Using ten examples from the region, Dr. Wynn traced various environmental issues from the end of the 17th century with a window into the experiences of First Nations people, through to current issues with a discussion about Cape Breton’s Tar Ponds.

The Colloquium also brought scholars, researchers and the public together in a forum held on September 18, 2009. This round-table discussion was successful in clearly defining HEAR’s research and project priorities. It also provided an opportunity for scholars to define new directions and teaching methods. Leading this discussion was Dalhousie University’s Claire Campbell. An executive of HEAR, Dr. Campbell lead off the day’s conversation by summarizing HEAR’s activities over the past year. In addition, several attendees noted upcoming events that would be of interest to the group including the following:

1. Professor Steven Mannell noted that the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada will be holding its 2010 meeting on May 26-29 in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and there is space for a panel or presence about historical landscapes.

2. Dr. Edward MacDonald announced that the University of Prince Edward Island will host an environmental history conference titled “Timescapes: Environmental Histories, Environmental Futures, and Prince Edward Island.” The conference will feature plenary lectures, field trips and workshops and will take place June 13-18, 2010.

3. UNB doctoral candidate Mark McLaughlin announced that he was proposing a panel on the environmental history of the Atlantic Region as part of the Learned, taking place in 2010 in Montreal. He is looking for proposals from people to fit within this year’s theme of “Telling Stories/Storytelling”. Those interested in this panel are invited to send a proposal to Mark within the next few weeks at

Attendees also discussed various options for holding the Canadian History and Environment Summer Schools (CHESS) in 2011 when the Learneds take place at the University of New Brunswick.


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