One Day Workshop on the History of Humanitarian Aid to Welcome Dr. Kevin O’Sullivan – July 9, 2014 at Carleton


Dr. Kevin O’Sullivan will be a visiting scholar at Carleton University from July 8 to August 4.  in Ottawa this coming July to research Canadian archives.  Kevin is the architect of the rich and the author of many studies of Irish humanitarianism.   He is researching countries of the Commonwealth.  (See a little more below)

We will start at 8:30 in the morning and finish at supper time.  There will probably be three distinct themes to be announced, in addition to a short presentation by Kevin on the state of affairs amongst his colleagues.

This will be an occasion to exchange concerns, findings, information about archives and documents, practices and projects, along a schedule that have yet to be determined depending on who will be able to come.

Will Tait and I will coordinate the day, and help you find the day, make sure that there is food for all during the day.  We do not have too much money, but do tell me if you would need assistance for your travel and accommodation.  We can also direct you to some hotels and Bed and breakfasts, and Will has offered to house two graduate students.

Exhibition of my students’ posters on the history of humanitarian aid, Carleton Library, Discovery Center, March 25 – April 15 2014


Poster presentations, First session out of three, 25 March 2014, Discovery Center.  

The 45 students of HIST 3111 have researched topics as varied as missionaries in colonial Latin America to humanitarian aid and LGBTQ rights, and the Kindertransport.  Their posters will be on a rotating exhibition in Carleton University McOdrum Library’s Discovery Center (fourth floor)  for the coming three weeks. Thanks to Ashleigh Fleicher of the Discovery Centre  and Ingrid Draayer, exhibition specialist at the Library, for their assistance.

display P1010960










Rolling poster exhibition, second week, April 1-8 2014  (photo Ingrid Draayer)

My Course on the history of humanitarian aid starts today


This course surveys the history of humanitarian agencies from their missionary and anti-slavery ancestors to the present times.  It teaches students the vocabulary useful for the understanding of humanitarianism. It introduces them to the historiography of the subject, the debates, approaches, explanations and interpretations of the major scholars, and the documents they use to write this history.  It presents the main events, the actors, ideas, institutions, and questions. It helps make sense of the current situation of humanitarian aid, which is complex and controversial, and which represents an increasingly large domain of social life and public action.

See outline

Documentary on the Federal Election of 1945

Watch my interview on the CPAC program aired last Sunday : The Gentle RevolutionThe campaigns jpeg

The Gentle Revolution – The Federal Election of 1945 By all accounts 1945 was a pivotal year in Canada’s history; it marked the end of six years of war, soldiers were returning home and Canadians were looking to create a fairer, brighter future. On June 11, 1945 Canadians headed to the polls for the country’s 20th general election. The majority voted for a new social order and with it came the birth of the welfare state. It transformed the lives of many Canadians and redefined the way our nation was run.

This week, my article on “children’s rights from below” published

tl copySee table of content.

in Taking Liberties

A History of Human Rights in Canada

David Goutor and Stephen Heathorn

“Universal human rights are considered to be a fundamental, inalienable aspect of Canadian legal culture, not to mention central to our international positioning. However the reality is that Canada was surprisingly slow to adopt the rights revolution that followed the Second World War, given concerns that existing norms and liberties could conflict with these new universal rights. Moreover, even when Canada did sign up, these rights were not all automatically put into practice. Nor, interestingly, did all groups embrace these rights.
Human rights, as we know, did become entrenched. There have been challenges to and changes in the legal framework of citizenship in Canada. But this has followed a long process of transformation, and many groups have faced tremendous struggle to get their rights claims recognized. This collection sheds new lights on the bumpy road toward universal human rights in our diverse and complex country. […] New research in the growing new field of human rights history explores the novelty of, the struggle for, and the limitations of, the new rights regime, and its uneven application across Canadian society.”

Come and see my presentation on the history of Oxfam in Canada, Friday 22 November at 11:30

On the occasion of International Education Week, Carleton’s Oxfam Club has a table in Carleton’s Galleria (University Centre).

I will show my slides and talk about Oxfam in Canada since 1962, from 11:30 to  12:30.

Oxfam insert in Readers Digest, Canada, 1964.  Archives of Oxfam UK, Bodleian Library(On the left, yhis is one of the first publicity of Oxfam in Canada, inserted in the Readers Digest of 1964 by Lynn Ten Kate, who visited Canada from Oxford in 1963-4 for 7 months, and whom I interviewed two years ago.)

My blog on how Canadian humanitarians view history was posted on the Transnational page of the VAHS


VAHS jprg

On 30 October 2013, the first Canadian Humanitarian Conference was hosted in Ottawa by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The 9 year-old Humanitarian Coalition organised the conference on ‘The Future of Humanitarian Response: Towards More Effective, Accountable and Innovative Approaches’. We are pleased to be able to share the reflections on this gathering of Professor Dominique Marshall, Chair of History at Carleton University.

Presentation on October 17 on “Local and Global humanitarianism: History of Oxfam in Newfoundland, 1965-2013”

PhilanthoTHINK-ss - Dominique Marshall[1]

Registration: Please register online or by pasting the following URL in your browser.

This is a complimentary event however seating is limited so please register quickly.

If you have any questions please contact Holly Nichol.

Holly Nichol

Graduate Program Administrator