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Graduate Program in History


While the Graduate Program in History has had much to cheer about this year with three of its recent PhDs successfully making their way into tenure-track positions, it is nevertheless important to recognize that many of our doctoral students have found their way into great jobs outside of academia, and will continue to do so in the coming years. How the Program effectively communicates the potential and possibilities of non-academic jobs to graduate students is an ongoing area of concern, and so this email highlights the recent achievements of some of our PhD students and graduates in the non-academic world. It is
obviously important for graduate students to get a better sense of the myriad careers out there that match their skills and training, so please take some time to examine the career paths described below.

It is thus a pleasure to relate below news about Jamie Trepanier, Daphne Bonar, Susana Miranda, Lisa Rumiel, Laura Godsoe, Cynthia Belaskie and Heather Steel. A special word of thanks goes to senior PhD students Angela Rooke and Brian MacDowall who provided invaluable initiative and information here.

1. Jamie Trepanier (PhD 5) is one of three historians recently hired by the Museum of Civilization, and one of the two hired on a permanent basis. He has been there for just over a month with the Exhibitions and Research Branch with the official title of Historian. Jamie is part of the team designing the new Canadian history hall in the museum and, after the project’s completion in 2017, will be a historian with the research division. His dissertation research taps into the rich but as yet unexplored archival records of the Boy Scout movement between the 1910s and 1960s to explore changes in French and English-Canadian nationalisms, important shifts in attitudes towards the Canadian North and its indigenous population and the changing relationship between organized religion and secular youth movements. Jamie was awarded a Vanier Graduate Scholarship in 2010, and in 2012 published an article from his MA research in Quebec Studies. He also served as coordinator in the Active
History group of public historians between 2010 and 2012. Prior to his arrival at York in 2008, Jamie also gained experience as an interpretation officer at the Library of Parliament, a legislative assistant and a parliamentary intern. He also worked as a guide/interpreter at both the Vimy Ridge Canadian Memorial and Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial commemorative sites.

2. Daphne Bonar graduated in 2007 with a dissertation entitled “Local Conflict, Local Ties: Society and the State in Seventeenth Century Auvergne”, co-supervised by Prof. Tim Le Goff and Prof. Tom Cohen. After working as a sessional instructor at both York and Lakehead universities, she now works as a senior policy advisor for the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Training,
Colleges, and Universities. Her unit is known as the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board, an arms-length agency that assesses the quality of degree programs offered (or proposed to offer) in Ontario by institutions that do not already have an act of legislature permitting them to offer degree-level programming. She coordinates the PEQAB’s review activities, engaging subject matter experts and helping to prepare all materials related to an application so that the Board can make an informed recommendation to the Minister.

3. Susana Miranda defended her PhD dissertation, entitled “Not Ashamed or Afraid: Portuguese Immigrant Women in Toronto’s Cleaning Industry, 1950-1995”, supervised by Professor Roberto Perin, in 2010. She now works as the Information and Privacy Coordinator for the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. She coordinates access to nformation requests under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which largely originate from the media, opposition and associations/unions. She also provides policy advice on privacy protection for both Ministries and reports
that she “got a contract at EDU/TCU by networking with people I knew who worked in government. There are other York history grads working in EDU and TCU – quite a few MAs.”

4. Lisa Rumiel defended her PhD in 2009. It is entitled “Random Murder by Technology: The Role of Scientific and Biomedical Experts in the Anti-Nuclear Movement, 1969-1992” and was supervised by the late Professor Gina Feldberg. She has recently secured a job as Research Projects Facilitator at Ryerson University. She works with faculty across all faculties in the university to help them write tricouncil (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR) grant proposals. Her role varies from actually writing the grant (mainly for the large team grants) to providing writing assistance, doing content peer-reviews and other reviews based on the guidelines, acting as a facilitator, doing faculty outreach, and editing. If you want more information about how Lisa landed this position,
please refer to her LinkedIn profile:

5. Laura Godsoe defended her PhD in 2011. It is entitled “Pour la grandeur de la patrie et nous memes: Reading Women’s Colonial Work in the Pages of the Women’s Press in France, 1870-1914,” supervised by Professor Bill Irvine. She is the
new Acquistions Editor at Canadian Scholars’ Press/Women’s Press, where she is responsible for acquiring new titles for their higher-education publishing program, with a particular focus on the college market. She also performs market research to anticipate needs in key subject areas (health studies, sociology, gender and sexuality, history, etc.). She works with authors on
works in progress, coordinates peer reviews, and ensures that books are delivered on time and on budget. She contributes to design and web content and consults with the marketing staff regarding book promotion.

6. Cynthia Belaskie currently works as the Senior Advisor of Development for the Research Office for Administration, Development and Support (ROADS) at McMaster University. She assists researchers with proposal development by reviewing
applications, providing advice, and drafting institutional elements of proposals, as applicable. Her own perspective on what she does, however, is as follows: “Every day I get to read myself into a wide variety of interesting research topics (some of my favorites have been: migrant labour, philanthropy, homelessness, bullying, Autism, cancer, aging, obesity) and help researchers
craft the best proposal possible to get the money they need to effect positive change. The work is stimulating and rewarding – and best – I use my graduate training every single day. Reading, writing, lecturing, presenting, critical analysis and simply understanding how universities and funding agencies work.”

7. In June 2012 Heather Steel gained a position as Insights Manager at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. The ICC is a registered charity that aims to ensure that new citizens are welcomed and included as equals, and fosters a culture of engaged, active citizenship for all Canadians primarily through two programs – the Cultural Access Pass and Building Citizenship program. The Cultural Access Pass gives all new citizens free entry to participating cultural attractions (museums, galleries, parks, etc.) for one year from the date of their citizenship ceremony. In the Building Citizenship program, volunteer committees across Canada organize community citizenship ceremonies, including unique roundtable discussions on citizenship. Thousands of new citizens participate in these programs, an audience that stakeholders in the public, non-profit, and private sectors would love to get to know better. Heather managed this program previously and had also worked with Citizenship
and Immigration Canada as a communications analyst, writing media advisories, organizing events and news conferences involving the Minister and writing articles for internal and external newsletters. Heather’s LinkedIn profile is available here:

Congratulations to all!

Jim Clifford completed an Honours BA in History (minor Politics) at Bishop’s University in 2003. One year later, he graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an MA in History with a Major Research Paper on the social representations of poverty in the East End of London in the 1880s and 1890s. Jim’s fascination with East London carried over into his doctoral dissertation undertaken under the supervision of Prof. Stephen Brooke and entitled “A Wetland Suburb on the Edge of London: A Social and Environmental History of West Ham and the River Lea, 1855-1914”. Since defending the dissertation in January 2011 and having had it nominated for a FGS dissertation prize, Jim has been working as a Postdoctoral Fellow on the SSHRC-funded Digging into Data Project. He co-authored the interdisciplinary“Trading Consequences” project proposal within this, which studies the economic and environmental history of nineteenth-century commodity flows in the British Empire. He also been active in the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE) Project as a project coordinator and editor since 2010, and was in 2009 a founding member of the editorial collective of the now highly-popular website. He has presently published two refereed articles and is revising a book manuscript based on his dissertation for UBC Press.

Jason Ellis defended his dissertation entitled “’Backward and Brilliant Children: A Social and Policy History of Disability, Childhood and Education in Toronto’s Special Education Classes, 1910 to 1945” in September 2011 and it was later nominated for the Bullen Prize of the Canadian Historical Association. Since then he has taught at Trent University (Oshawa), Western University, and Wilfrid Laurier University (Brantford) and he received his B.Ed. from OISE-University of Toronto in 2012. His superior teaching skills were officially recognized by the Dean of Laurier-Brantford that year for his course“Children, Toys and Media”. Jason now serves as book editor for Historical Studies in Education-Revue d’histoire de l’éducation and is a past co-editor of Left History. Jason did his Masters degree in History at York, graduating in 2005. Previously, he graduated with an Honours BA (History and French Studies) from Queen’s University Kingston in 2004. He has an article forthcoming in the History of Education Quarterly and is presently revising his dissertation for publication. Dr. Ellis also won the Cathy L. James Memorial Award from the Canadian History of Education Association for the best thesis in the history of Canadian Education (in either French or English). He received the award last fall at the annual meeting of CHEA in Vancouver.

Before obtaining the tenure-track position at the University of Sherbrooke, Maurice Demers had a two-year contractually limited position there in Latin American and World history. He also taught courses on Latin America as a part-time course director at McGill and Concordia Universities. In 2010 Maurice defended his dissertation entitled “Pan-Americanism Re-Invented in Uncle Sam’s Backyard: Catholic and Latin Identity in French Canada and Mexico in the First Half of the 20th Century.” The dissertation, which was co-supervised by Professors Anne Rubenstein and Roberto Perin, was nominated for the prize awarded by Dean of Graduate Studies for the best dissertation in the Faculty. Maurice did his Masters degree in Latin American Studies (history and political science) at the University of New Mexico. In addition to French and English, he speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently. A revised version of his dissertation will soon be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

History graduate students Mary Franks, Carly Murdoch, Sara Howdle and Christine McQueen deserve our congratulations for their sterling work in putting on this year’s New Frontiers Graduate History conference. I am sure I also speak for the York History faculty and grad students who were there when I say that I very much enjoyed and learned from the papers I was able to hear, as well as their ensuing discussions. Also, it was also nice to meet several speakers and participants from out of town.

Proceedings got off to a great start on Friday evening with the Historian’s Craft roundtable on “Activism and Academia” that featured notable presentations by PhD student Francesca D’Amico and Prof. Sean Kheraj among the four speakers.
Notable too was the keynote given by Professor Garrett Fagan of Penn State University (“The Dangers of Pseudo-archeology”) and the lunchtime talk given by Professor Boyd Cothran (“(In)Visible Minorities: Negotiating Diversity as a Scholar, an Activist, and a Human Being”). These talks were delivered with a great deal of passion and verve by the speakers and their insights generated interesting and memorable discussions.

Once again, thanks for your hard work in making the event a tremendous success and ensuring that the reputation of History at York and the energy of its graduate students continues to spread far and wide.

William Jenkins, Director     

The Graduate Program in History congratulates PhD student Karlee Sapoznik on the pending publication of her book The Letters and Other Writings of Gustavas Vassa (alias Olaudah Equiano, the African): Documenting Abolition of the Slave Trade.

To be published by Markus Wiener in mid–April 2013, the book was launched last week at the Annual conference of the African Studies Association in Philadelphia.

In her description of the book Ms Sapoznik said, "Gustavus Vassa was on the vanguard of the anti-slavery movement in England at the end of the eighteenth century. He provided a voice for people of African descent in the British Atlantic world. His Interesting Narrative has influenced countless works, both fiction and nonfiction."

Praise for Ms Sapoznik's book has flowed from the academic community. University of Worcester professor Suzanne Schwarz called the work "an impressive book which makes an important contribution to advancing scholarly understanding of the the life, identity and influence of Gustavus Vassa. By drawing together such a rich and varied corpus of source material dispersed in archives in Britain and America, Sapoznik offers new insights into Vassa’s ideas, his networks of influence, as well as his many talents and accomplishments. This book is indispensable."

Arthur Torrington, of the Equiano Society said Ms Sapoznik's book "...highlights the major contribution of an African to the body of knowledge of crimes against Africans in bondage [and] the immorality of human traffickers.”

And James Walvin, author of An African's Life: The Life and Times of Olaudah Equiano, 1745–1797, said “Olaudah Equiano continues to attract an extraordinary degree of scholarly attention and debate. Though much of that debate centres on his autobiography (his famous Narrative), he also left a wide and diffuse paper trail for scholars to examine. Now, after exhaustive research and painstaking reconstruction, Karlee Anne Sapoznik brings together all of Equiano’s other known writing. Here, in a single, accessible format, is an invaluable mine of information, derived from a remarkable array of sources. . . . It throws Equiano’s achievements into sharp relief and will provide scholars with an abundance of data in the continuing historical debate about the man and his time.”

Any royalties earned by the book will be donated to the Alliance Against Modern Slavery

On October 19 and 20, York and the Department of History hosted an exciting workshop entitled “Borderlands, Transnationalism, and Migration in North America.” Over two days, twenty-five historians and historical geographers met at Glendon Manor to discuss pre-circulated papers. With the support of a SSHRC Connection Grant, York PhD candidate Ben Bryce, Alexander Freund at the University of Winnipeg, and our faculty colleague Prof. Roberto Perin brought
in 18 faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from the United States and Canada, and they were joined by five graduate students and two faculty members from our graduate program. The goal of the event was to bring all twenty-five papers closer to publication, increase connections between universities, and to engage Canadianists and Americanists in a deeper scholarly dialogue.

The workshop also included two public events. Erika Lee from the University of Minnesota gave a public lecture on her new research project entitled “Local, National, and Transnational Histories of the Americas.” This talk was followed up by a public roundtable entitled “The Mosaic vs. the Melting Pot? Myths and Realities of Cultural Pluralism in Canada and the United States.” Workshop participants David Atkinson (Purdue University), Grace Delgado (Penn State), and Randy Widdis (University of Regina) presented on their research and on these mythical ideologies in North America, as did York’s Associate Dean
Patricia Wood and University of Toronto historian Russell Kazal. Both events were well attended, and the roundtable drew an audience of approximately 70 people. You can watch the public lecture or the roundtable discussion by clicking here:


              The Graduate Program in History is delighted to announce that Dr. Patrick Connor (2012) is currently the "R. Roy McMurtry Fellow in

              Canadian Legal History".  This was effective as of 1 July, 2012, and is awarded and administrated by the Osgoode Society for Canadian

              Legal History in Toronto. Congratulations Patrick!


The Graduate Program in History is delighted to announce that our doctoral student, Douglas Hunter, has won two of the most prestigious awards offered to students by the federal government. The first is the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (, awarded to candidates with exceptional academic and leadership skills, and the SSHRC William E. Taylor Fellowship, awarded each year to the most outstanding SSHRC doctoral award recipient. (Mr. Hunter also won a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship and an Ontario Graduate Studies Scholarship, but declined them in favour of the Vanier.) Doug Hunter is supervised by Professor Carolyn Podruchny.
To learn more about Doug, visit his website at


The Graduate Program in History is delighted to announce that Kristine Alexander, who defended her PhD in 2010 (supervised by Bettina Bradbury), has been awarded a second postdoctoral fellowship.  Kristine's PhD dissertation was entitled "The Girl Guide Movement, Imperialism and Internationalism in Interwar England, Canada, and India" and was awarded the 2011 Governor General's Gold Medal. Kristine is currently a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of History at the University of Western Ontario and, starting this September, she will be the Elizabeth & Cecil Kent Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Britain and the British World at the University of Saskatchewan. While success at gaining one postdoc is impressive, success at gaining two is exceptional.  Congratulations Kristine!

Dr. Jenkins is an associate professor of geography and has been a member of the Graduate Program in History since 2008.  A graduate of University College Dublin and the University of Toronto, his published work initially focused on social and economic transformations in nineteenth- and twentieth-century rural Ireland.  Having since developed interests in comparative, transnational and diasporic histories, his research has concentrated on the lives and allegiances of Irish immigrants and their descendants in urban North America.  His work has appeared in the Journal of Historical Geography, Immigrants and Minorities, and the Journal of Urban History, among other scholarly outlets.  He was one of four authors of a multi-disciplinary volume on the history of the Boyne Valley region in eastern Ireland published by the Royal Irish Academy in 2008, and his most recent book, "Between Raid and Rebellion: the Irish in Buffalo and Toronto, 1867-1916" is scheduled for publication by McGill-Queen's University Press in early 2013.  Professor Jenkins will be assuming the email address: as of July 1.

The Graduate Program in History is delighted to announce that doctoral candidate Karlee Sapoznik has won the newly created Provost Dissertation Scholarship. This award allows students going into their fifth year of their PhD to concentrate exclusive on writing and competing their dissertations. Only ten were awarded across the university. This remarkable young woman has a long string of accomplishments that both demonstrate her impressive array of skills and her great intellectual promise. She has turned her MA Major Research Paper into a book that is accepted for publication by Princeton University Press. She has published three academic articles on widely divergent topics (one from her BA research) and has authored curriculum for Manitoba’s Board of Education. In her spare time Ms. Sapoznik has founded a major national charitable organization: the Alliance Against Modern Slavery. For more information see  

Congratulations Karlee on this impressive achievement!


The Graduate Program in History is delighted to announce that Dr. Jim Clifford has won a two-year postdoctoral fellowship on a Digging into Data Project called "Trading Consequences." The project, a major research collaboration between York University, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of St. Andrews, examines the environmental consequences of commodity trading during the nineteenth century. See
Dr. Jim Clifford defended his doctoral dissertation, entitled "A Wetland Suburb on the Edge of London: A SOcial and Environmental History of West Ham and the River Lea, 1856-1914", on January 5, 2011. He was supervised by Professor Stephen Brooke.  Congratulations Jim on this impressive achievement!



History, 1945-1990" which he will hold at the University of Western Ontario's History Department under the supervision of Bill Turkel. Dr. Milligan, who was supervised by Craig Heron, defended his doctoral dissertation, "Rebel Youth: Young Workers, New Leftists, and Labour in English Canada, 1964-1973," this past November. This is a prestigious prize and a wonderful honour for Dr. Milligan and the graduate history program.







Dr Walter Trillmich, former Director of the German Archaeological Institute, Berlin
Prof. Dr. Jose Blázquez, former Professor of Roman Archaeology at the Complutense University of Madrid
Dr. Jean-Claude Golvin, CNRS/Univ. de Bordeaux III
Prof. Dr. Martin Almagro Gorbea, Professor of Archaeology, Complutense University of Madrid, Anticuario of the Real Academia de la Historia
Prof. Dr. Jorge Alarcão, former Professor of Roman Archaeology, University of Coimbra
Prof. Dr. Pierre Gros, former Professor of Roman Archaeology, Univ. d'Aix-en-Provence
Rafael Moneo Vallés, world-renowned architect (and architect of the new Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, inaugurated 19 Sept. 1986, 25 yrs ago)

Please join us in congratulating Jonathan on this remarkable achievement.




Meddling, Conditional Loyalty, and Lord Durham’s 1838 Administration of Lower Canada,” was supervised by Bettina Bradbury.




Paul E. Lovejoy was presented with an award for his Lifetime Achievement in African Studies at the 2011 annual meeting of the Canadian Association of African Studies / Association canadienne des études africaines, which was be held at York University on May 5-6-7.
In his letter to Paul E. Lovejoy informing of the award, Dennis Cordell, President / Président  of the Canadian Association of African Studies / Association canadienne des études africaines writes: Your research achievements are, of course, legion, as are your wonderful abilities to teach and mentor your students and younger colleagues.  Given our own long friendship, I feel particularly lucky to be president of CAAS/ACÉA the year that you will be honoured.
The award was presented at the opening reception at the end of the first day of the conference on Thursday, May fifth.


Dr. Jennifer Ellison won a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Canadian Studies at Mount Allison University to work on a project entitled "Feminist Activism and the Promise of Self- Esteem." Dr. Ellison defended her doctoral dissertation, "Large as Life: Self-Acceptance and the Fat Body in Canada, 1977-2000" in May 2010. She was supervised by Kathryn McPherson.  A hearty congratulations to Jennifer!


              Karen Macfarlane, who earned her doctorate in the Graduate History Program in 2008, under the supervision of Doug Hay,

              is the winner of the 2011 Essay Prize of the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies for her essay entitled "The Jewish Policemen of 

              Eighteenth-Century London." Congratulations to Karen on this prestigious award!


Doctoral candidate Tom Peace has won a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship for the project "Indigenous Education along the St. Lawrence and great Lakes after the Seven Year's War." He plans to begin the award this summer and will hold it at Dartmouth College under the supervision of Colin Calloway. Tom is in the final stages of completing his dissertation, entitled "Two Conquests: Northeastern Aboriginal experiences of the British Conquest of Acadia and Canada," supervised by Carolyn Podruchny. A hearty congratulations to Tom!


Doctoral candidate Ian Mosby will hold his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Guelph under the supervision of Catherine Carstairs to work on the project “Engineering  Dinner: Postwar Food Technology and the Industrial Transformation of   the Canadian Diet.” Ian is in the final stages of completing his dissertation, entitled "Eat Right to Work and Win: Eating for Health,   Nation and Victory in Wartime Canada, 1939-1945.” It is supervised by Kate McPherson, Molly Ladd-Taylor, Marlene Shore and the late Gina Feldberg. A hearty congratulations to Ian!


              Yet another one of our very recent PhD graduates has received a prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Mathieu Lapointe has won a
              Postdoctoral Fellowship from FQRSC (Le Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture), which he will hold at McGill
              University's Department of Art History for two years. Under Professor Will Straw's supervision, Dr. Lapointe will be studying Montreal's
              " yellow press" and its ideologies from the 1940s to the 1960s. He defended his doctoral dissertation, "La Comité de Moralité Publique,
              l'Enquete Caron et les Campagnes de Moralité Publique à Montréal, 1940-1954," in November 2010, under the supervision of
              Professor Roberto Perin.


              Excerpts from her letter of nomination demonstrate the enthusiasm of student and faculty support for her nomination: 

"We nominate Professor Bradbury because of the extraordinary vision, skill, commitment, and generosity that she has demonstrated in graduate teaching, supervision, and pedagogical development. Professor Bradbury was first appointed to the GHP and GPWS in 1993. Since that time she has served as the Director of the GHP, as well as a member of the Executive and numerous other committees, taught courses, and supervised many students. Her contributions have made her a central force in defining the program.... ...the letters from students make clear that Professor Bradbury has made a profound impact on their scholarly, professional and personal lives. Students have deeply appreciated her empathy, understanding, and “humanness,” as well as the encouragement she gives students “to challenge their fears and limits.” One student eloquently expresses that “her dedication to my scholarly, professional and teaching development was the highlight of my time at York.”  She “inspires in her students a firm commitment to engaging in academic life with passion and integrity.”... Colleagues have been grateful for Professor Bradbury’s generosity in mentoring them to become excellent graduate teachers and in her devotion to graduate education. One faculty member explains that Professor Bradbury “works, in large ways and small, to make our graduate program an intellectually rigorous centre for historical analysis (the best in Canada, and one of the best in the world) and at the same time a warm, humane community. She sees these goals as related, and so her students and colleagues have learned much from her that these goals are not in conflict with one another.” 







Madeleine Chartrand (currently completing her MA in York’s GHP) won the Elia Scholars Program, York’s most prestigious graduate award, which she will hold for four years. This recruitment award enables York to attract doctoral students of the highest possible caliber, and only three are awarded across the whole university every year. Chartrand plans to critically examine the relationship of women's work to British industrialization by looking at the history of women artisans in the weaving trades of two important manufacturing centres, London and Coventry, in the later 18th century, assessing both the economy of the industrial revolution and class consciousness from a gendered perspective.


Upcoming Workshops    



                                                                  All Workshops will be held in 2183 VH (Common Room) unless indicated