April 2021

Now & Then highlights UBC History news/events for students, faculty, staff & alumni

April 22nd, 2021, 6pm PST

Organized by the UBC History Graduate Student Association, the Burge Lecture is an annual endowed lecture made possible by a generous donation from UBC alumnus William Burge. The Burge Lecture series provides students, faculty, alumni and community members the opportunity to connect with historians and scholars engaged in exciting research.

Migration and environmental change are two of the most pressing issues confronting the world—both processes are often followed by the word “crisis,” and increasingly they are connected in public discourse, through terms like “environmental refugee.” Yet the fields of migration history and environmental history have proceeded along parallel lines, with few points of intersection. This lecture begins by asking why that has been the case—and then aims to imagine what it would involve to connect environmental history and the history of migration in new ways, focusing on the history of the Indian Ocean–a part of the world where both historical processes have always been deeply connected.

Sunil Amrith is Renu and Anand Dhawan Professor of History at Yale University, and current chair of the South Asian Studies Council. He is the author of four books, including Crossing the Bay of Bengal (2013), which was awarded the AHA’s John F. Richards Prize, and Unruly Waters (2018), shortlisted for the 2019 Cundill Prize. Amrith received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2017, and the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2016. Before arriving at Yale in 2020, Amrith was the inaugural Mehra Family Professor of South Asian History at Harvard University.




Faculty News

Interview with Crystal Webster, professor of African American history

“I envision ... teaching, learning, and activism as central to my role as a scholar and professor of Black history.”

Dr. Crystal Webster will be joining the UBC History Department as Assistant Professor of African American History this July. Learn about her research, her forthcoming book, the UBC courses she'll be teaching, and her outlook as a historian. 

Two UBC Historians Shortlisted for the Canadian Historical Association’s Wallace K. Ferguson Prize for Best Book on a Non-Canadian Subject!

Congratulations to Dr. David Morton and Dr. Heidi Tworek!

Dr. David Morton’s Age of Concrete and Dr. Heidi Tworek’s News from Germany were among the five shortlisted for the 2020 Wallace K. Ferguson Prize for best book published in 2019 on a non-Canadian subject.

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Vancouver Sun: COVID-19: Radio station at SFU temporarily suspends program linked to website with pandemic conspiracy theories.

Heidi Tworek comments on the spread of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

University of Toronto Press Journals: Germs, Gender, and the Journal

Tina Loo, as well as Matthew Hayday and Catherine Desbarats, discuss the impact the pandemic has had on gender in scholarship.

Georgia Straight: History shows racism has always been a part of Vancouver real estate

Henry Yu discusses the exclusion of Chinese immigrants through land and real estate.



Student News

UBC History graduate student Lui Xia Lee awarded Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

Congratulations to UBC History MA student Lui Xia Lee! Lee has been awarded a Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for outstanding teaching, research and service to the community.

UBC Arts Co-Op: UBC PhD Student Henry John

As part of the PhD Co-op program, UBC History PhD candidate Henry John archived a 300-box collection of records from the International Woodworkers Association of Canada at the Kaatza Station Museum and Archives on Vancouver Island.
Read more about his experience in the Co-op program and his research on environmentalists, Indigenous rights activists, and forest labour unionists in the 1980s and 1990s.

Faculty Perspectives on Writing the Op-Ed
April 7th, 10am

The op-ed section of the newspaper offers scholars opportunities to engage with new audiences and new issues. This panel will feature five faculty members discussing their experiences in this medium, including UBC History's Heidi Tworek.


Social Media in Social Movements: A Computational Approach to Collective Actions
April 9th, 7pm

Gary Fong and Elgar Teo of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong share their preliminary findings from an analysis of over 1,200 public Telegram channels linked to the 2019 Anti-Extradition Bill Movement. 


The Great Chernobyl Mystery: How Ignorance became Policy and Politics
April 27th, 12:30pm

U.N. websites say that 33 people died from the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, but Soviet health archives show a death toll of 35,000 and tens of thousands hospitalized after the disaster. 
Professor Kate Brown explores international archives to show how evidence of widespread health problems from Chernobyl exposures disappeared from the scientific consensus.


Summer 2021 Courses Spotlight

HIST 441: History of the Holocaust

Instructor: Dr. Jay Eidelman

A study of the systematic attempt to destroy European Jewry during the Nazi regime, 1933-1945. Topics of special importance include: the motivations and behaviour of the perpetrators; the reactions of the victims; the roles of bystanders.


HIST 109 921: Cultural Histories of Media: from Writing to Tweeting

Instructor: Dr. David Newman

Since the European development of the printing press, mediated forms of communication have increasingly played a critical role in the shaping of historical events. This course will explore the development and historical context of the printing press, the telegraph, audio media, cinema, television, and digital media. 

Watch a video introducing HIST 109 here.