On the road to the Conference on Historical Perspectives on Canadian Foreign Aid, 1950-2016

I am delighted to have joined Greg Donaghy (Global Affairs Canada) and David Webster (Bishops) in the organization of the Conference “A Samaritan State” Revisited-Historical Perspectives on Canadian Foreign Aid, 1950-2016“, Ottawa, Canada, 12-13 Dec. 2016.


In preparation for the conference, Sonya DeLaat and I have written a blog on the wonderful photo library of CIDA.


The Canadian Network on humanitarian History is also preparing a workshop on the archives of CIDA on the morning of December 12.  Archivists from Library and Archives Canada, Document management people from CIDA, and historians used to working with the Fonds will share tips and knowledge.

Picture taken by Keith Spicer during his travel in South East Asia, 1960. Personal collection.

Picture taken by Keith Spicer during his travel in South East Asia, 1960. Personal collection.

I will present a paper on «Oxfam Canada et l’ACDI: aide humanitaire et formation de l’État canadien, 1960″

The CNHH new Research Assistant and I have been busy working with Keith Spicer and his son Dag to put together a small virtual exhibit about the travel which lead to his book and the formation of Canadian University Students Overseas (CUSO).



Mon article sur les dessins d’enfants et l’aide humanitaire vient de paraître

“Discours présidentiel: Dessins d’enfants et aide humanitaire : expressions et expositions transnationales/ Presidential Address: Children’s Drawings and Humanitarian Aid: Transnational Expressions and Exhibits”, Revue de la Société historique du Canada/Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 2016, pp. 1-65.  Pour l’article en ligne, cliquez ICI.

RÉSUMÉ  Cet article propose un tour d’horizon des usages des dessins d’enfants dans l’histoire de l’aide humanitaire à l’aide d’exemples, du Canada et d’ailleurs, tirés des recherches de l’auteure. Il se penche à la fois sur les usages des dessins par diverses organisations au cours des dernières décennies et sur les emplois que les historiens en ont faits.  À l’aide d’outils empruntés à plusieurs disciplines, il propose des clefs de compréhension qui permettent de réfléchir à l’histoire de la psychologie enfantine, de la pédagogie, de l’art enfantin, des relations humanitaires entre générations, des droits des enfants et des perceptions juvéniles lors d’interventions humanitaires. Il dresse un historique du médium, de ses promoteurs ainsi que de ses détracteurs et propose un ensemble de pistes pour identifier, malgré les obstacles, des traces d’expressions enfantines.

March 3: Our Colloquium on Educational Technologies for Blind People in Canada
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Galarneau Braillewriter, 1962 Manufactured in Hull, Quebec

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us on Thursday March 3, 2016 for a symposium and workshop dedicated to virtually representing the evolution of technical aids for persons who are blind or partially sighted in Canada. Bringing together scholars, educators and members of the community, our aim is to highlight critical disability studies, the history of technology and disability, education and accessibility and inclusive design. Our symposium will emphasize both the brilliant inventors and makers of technology and also focus on the users of these technologies, showcasing how people and technology move forward together in design, development, education and accessibility.

If you would like to join us from afar, please say so and we can make arrangements for a videoconference. Or, if you are only able to join us for one part of the day, please inform us in your registration message.

We look forward to seeing you!


9:00-9:30am Registration / Coffee and Breakfast Platters

9:30-10:00am Opening Remarks by Dr. Roy Hanes, School of Social Work, Carleton University

10:00-11:15am Keynote Speaker, Dr. Vanessa Warne

A Tangible History: Glass Cases, Virtual Spaces and Raised-Print Books

This presentation explores the history of blind people’s literacy by engaging the experiences of the first generation of blind readers, people whose newly acquired ability to read attracted widespread interest in the first decades of the nineteenth century. I hope to show that the history of public displays of blind people reading can offer guidance for people involved in the design of exhibits about blindness, both those that feature glass cases and those that employ virtual spaces. I’ll conclude by sharing my experience of curating Books Without Ink: Reading, Writing and Blindness 1830-1930, an accessible exhibit of artifacts currently open in Winnipeg.

Dr. Vanessa Warne is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Manitoba, where she holds a cross appointment in the Interdisciplinary Disability Studies MA Program. She is the co-curator with Sabrina Mark of the exhibit Books Without Ink: Reading, Writing and Blindness 1830-1930; she convened, with Dr. Hannah Thompson, ‘Blind Creations,’ an international conference and art event which brought together academics, artists and accessibility experts to examine relationships between visual disability, accessibility and public culture. She is the author of articles, book chapters and entries on the cultural construction of blindness and will guest edit, with Hannah Thompson, a forthcoming issue of Disability Studies Quarterly on visual disability and the arts. Her current project, supported by SSHRC, is a monograph exploring the nineteenth-century history of blindness, literature and literacy.

11:15-11:30am Coffee break

11:30-12:30pm Preview of the Online Exhibit, Dr. Beth A. Robertson

Research assistant with the Disabilities Research Group at Carleton University and sessional lecturer with the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies at Carleton University, Dr. Robertson will present an online exhibit, revolving around a series of artifacts and technologies that will be used to present the history of persons who are blind or partially sighted in Canada, exploring the ways they have negotiated, contested and reshaped public discussions around education and accessibility.

12:30-1:30pm Light lunch

1:30-3:30pm Work-shop / Feedback on the Online Exhibit

Ideally we hope to break-out into small groups to discuss what has been presented throughout the day. Our team of researchers with the Disabilities Research Group seeks and encourages feedback from all participants in order to facilitate the most accessible online exhibit which facilitates education and emphasizes what is vital to the community.

3:30-3:45pm Closing Remarks by Dr. Dominique Marshall, Department of History, Carleton University


In Partnership with / Sponsored by:

School of Social Work, Carleton University

Department of History, Carleton University

Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Carleton University

MacOdrum Library, Carleton University

CNIB Ottawa

Canadian Urban Libraries Council

Centre for Equitable Library Access


Swail Senson, 1966 Manufactured in Ottawa, Ontario

The First Newsletter of the Canadian Network of Humanitarian History is Out

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Welcome to the Canadian Network on Humanitarian History Newsletter

Dear colleagues of the Canadian Network on Humanitarian History,

It is my pleasure to announce the launch of the network’s website.  Please have a look at , and use the form “contact us” to send suggestions, events, blogs and images.  The site was the product of the reflection conducted in Ottawa last May during the second workshop of the network.  Three research assistants mentioned here then helped to put it together.  We hope that it is useful to you, your colleagues and students.  We have a rich list of blogs lined up for the coming six months, with places left if you are planning on sending one.  The latest was written by our current RA, Sean Eedy, on the time when Germans were refugees and not hosts.  Read it here.

Upcoming Events

The network’s third workshop will take place in Calgary after Congress, on Thursday June 2, from 8:30-5:00.  It will be free, but please register here.  We yet have to tell you in exactly which room of the University, but we have it booked together with catering, and a special event on the Wednesday evening before, when the Network was invited to introduce the conference of Romeo Dallaire, organized by our hosts in Calgary (more to come). It will be an occasion to plan future research and events, and to take store of existing projects.

The 2016 Canadian Historical Association Congress will be held May 29-June 1.  Members of the Network will be presenting paper at the “Aid, Advocacy, Development, and Faith in the Pre-Digital Age” panel (scheduling to be determined).

Ongoing Research

In the wake of last year’s Congress in Ottawa, historians, NGO workers and archivists volunteered to put together a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant to foster historical work with NGOs. The news of the competition will come in March. Whichever way this decision comes down, research is happening. At the moment, from the Network itself, Carleton honours students Eleanor Barney, is working as an undergraduate RA to provide the Partnership Africa Canada Communications Director, Zuzia Danielski, a report of the PAC’s history for use as part of their 30th anniversary plans.

The work of archival description of the 160 Match International boxes for Carleton Archives and Research Collections continues. This will help prepare for the activities of their upcoming anniversary. The network also helped to preserve archives and memories when the Canadian Hunger Foundation closed last fall. See the post on this here.

Since our last meeting the CNHH is richer of more than a dozen new members.  You can see the growing list here. If you don’t see your name, please send me a message through our website’s contact form, or by replying to this message.


Dominique Marshall

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Second Canadian Workshop on the History of Humanitarian Aid, May 30 2015

Saturday, May 30 2015 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (EDT), 1125@carleton, fourth floor, HCI building, Carleton University , 1125 Colonel By Drive , Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6

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Grenfell Stamp 2

Commemorative stamps for Wilfred Grenfell, British medical missionary in Newfoundland from 1892 to the 1930s, with the The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen. See

Dear Canadian colleagues interested in the history of humanitarian aid, As you are in the process for making your plans for traveling to Ottawa for  Congress 2015  in early June, we are pleased to announce that Carleton will host the second small workshop for Canadians interested in the matter. This will be the occasion to: – exchange our respective research, practices and collections between historians, archivists and humanitarians; – take store of the projects of our partners in Europe, thanks to the presence of Kevin O’Sullivan, from the University of Ireland in Gallway; – think about improvements to the project of the common website we put together last summer; – help prepare the collaborative research grant I am putting together for the fall on researching, collecting and teaching the history of humanitarian aid in Canada There will be refreshments and food for lunch and breaks, the possibility of small grants for the extra nights for graduate students (do write to me if you would like to apply with a possible amount). Please register for the event here.

Thanks to the coordinating work of Sarah Glassford, Will Tait and Jill-Campbell-Miller, Congress will have at least three sessions of interest for our groups:

Tuesday June 2, 1:30-300

69. Roundtable – Public, Private, Political: Charitable Organizations and Citizen Engagement

Facilitator / Animateur : Lara Campbell, Simon Fraser University Sarah Glassford (University of Prince Edward Island)

Ian Mosby (McMaster University)

Will Tait (Carleton University)

Shirley Tillotson (Dalhousie University)

Jon Weier (University of Western Ontario)

Tuesday June 2, 3:30-4:30

77. Presidential Address / Discours présidentiel , Introduced by / Présentée par: Joan Sangster (Trent University)

Dominique Marshall (President of the Canadian Historical Association): Children’s Drawings and Humanitarian Aid: Transnational Expressions and Exhibitions/ Dominique Marshall (Présidente de la Société historique du Canada): Dessins d’enfants et aide humanitaire : expressions et expositions transnationales

Wednesday June 3, 3:30-5:30 - SMD/222

11. Capitals and Peripheries: Historical Perspectives on International Development Facilitator / Animateur : Ian Smillie (McLeod Group)

Stephanie Bangarth (Western University): “Is our assistance worthwhile?”: The Role of Tripartisanship in the Canadian Response to Refugee and International Development Crises, 1968 – 1978

Jill Campbell-Miller (Saint Mary’s University): Integrating History and International Development Studies: Lessons from the Canadian-Indian Aid Experience

John F. Devlin (University of Guelph): State Theory, Historical Sociology, and Comparative Agricultural Development

Kevin O’Sullivan (National University of Ireland Galway): Searching for a Saviour: Humanitarian NGOs and Human Rights in Central America in the 1970s and 1980s

Commentator / Commentateur : Ian Smillie (McLeod Group)

Co-sponsored by the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID) and the Canadian Council on Migration, Ethnicity and Transnationalism / Coparrainée par l’Association canadienne d’études du développement international (ACÉDI) et par le Comité canadien sur la migration, l’éthnicité et le transnationalisme

We are looking forward to seeing you all.

Listen to today’s talk by Kevin Bruschett: “Not the only String in Our Bow, Bureaucrats, Activists and Canadian International Development Policy, 1960-75”


Two members of our Canadian Network of the History of Humanitarian Aid organized this lunch talk today.   Click HERE to listen (47 mn).

Dr. Kevin Brushett, Assistant Professor of History and Chair of the Military and Strategic Studies Programme at Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston,  spoke on the early history of the Canadian International Development Agency.  He was introduced by Greg Donaghy, Head of the Historical Section at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

The talk was held at DFADT, Sussex Drive, Ottawa on January 15, 2015.

Thanks to Will Tait, PhD candidate and Contract Instructor in History at Carleton University for the recording.

Here is what Dr. Donaghy wrote in advance of the talk:

Bruschett works gives “a glimpse at the struggle to define Canada’s international development program during the 1960s and early 1970s. Professor Brushett explores the interactions between government officials from External Affairs, the foreign aid bureaucracy, and young activists from Canada’s emerging non-governmental sector as they tangled during this foundational “golden age” over the nature and evolution of Canadian aid policy. Focused on recurring tensions in aid policy, this study helps illuminate persistent debates over the direction and form of Canadian international development assistance by grounding them in their historical context.

A graduate of Queen’s University, Dr. Brushett is an Assistant Professor of History at Royal Military College where he teaches modern Canadian and American history. He is currently completing a manuscript on the Company of Young Canadians, a community development program established by then Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson’s government in 1965. The present talk is drawn from a new research project examining the growth and performance of Canadian international development policies between 1965 and 1995 through the lens of the Canadian International Development Agency’s Non-Governmental Organization Branch.”