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Faculty of Humanities

Welcome to the Faculty of Humanities

Sir Edward GreyWar and Peace, and the conference that never was...

“They didn’t fall into war, it wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t inevitable - they made decisions.” What could have happened if Europe’s statesmen had come together for a moment before the First World War was declared 100 years ago?  As universities across the country plan commemoration ceremonies, McMaster’s Department of History and the Wilson Institute have collaborated on a new approach to honour the anniversary. Humanities PR intern, Kayla Cockburn met with History Professor, Stephen Heathorn, to discuss the History department's enactment of a peace conference that could have changed the course of history. More


Art Exhibition Poster'This is Me, This is Also Me' at the McMaster Museum of Art

Curated by Dr. Janice Hladki (School of the Arts) and Dr. Sarah Brophy (English & Cultural Studies), this group exhibition focuses on self-representation and self-portraiture. Bringing together a thought-provoking mix of Canadian-based and international works, the exhibition addresses critical or interrogated self-representation in relation to multiple selves, the self-other relation, and the constitution of gender, sexuality, critical embodiment, race, and Indigeneity. The curators consider how representations of displacement, doubling, recognition and mis-recognition, and mutability unsettle ideas about memory and countermemory in autobiographical art. November 6 -March 21, with a series of related events. More details


Matthew WoolhouseMeet Writer-in-Residence, Hal Niedzviecki

Hal Niedzviecki is the writer of culturally challenging works of non-fiction, is the author of three novels and the co-founder of Broken Pencil, the magazine of zine culture, and has published in newspapers and magazines across the world. Writing, he says, is the only thing he’s ever been good at – and even if you don’t think you’re good at it, you should be doing it too. He is the 2014/14 Mabel Pugh Taylor Writer-in-Residence in the Department of English & Cultural Studies. Humanities PR intern, Em Kwissa, recently sat down with him to talk...Read the conversation.


Matthew WoolhouseCombining dance and technology for Parkinson’s therapy

Dance has been shown to help improve the quality of life for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, and a team of researchers, led by Dr. Matthew Woolhouse of the School of the Arts at McMaster is working on bringing therapeutic dance into the home. The team has been closely collaborating with Hamilton City Ballet Dance for Parkinson’s, a local group that provides regular therapeutic sessions. Read More. (Click image to watch video).



Ellen AmsterMiddle East historian brings global perspective to Hannah Chair

An historian of Middle East medicine has been appointed as the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine. Ellen Amster joined McMaster on Oct. 1 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she had been a professor of history since 2003. The purpose of the Hannah Chair is to develop scholarship in the history of medicine, and to encourage McMaster students (including medical students) to become interested in the history of the discipline. Read more.


Henry GirouxHenry Giroux Appointed Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest

Henry A. Giroux has been appointed as the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest, the first of its kind in Canada. Dr. Giroux continues as director of the McMaster Centre for Scholarship in the Public Interest – a McMaster based research centre focused on cultural, political, social, and ecological concerns.


HitchbothitchBOT Hitchhiking Robot Creators Selected for Innovation Award

Congratulations to Assistant Professor David Harris Smith, a professor in the Department of Communications Studies and Multimedia who was awarded the Silicon Valley Technology & Entrepreneurship Forum 2014 Innovation Award. The award is in recognition of his work on hitchBOT, a collaborative McMaster-Ryerson project that created a hitchhiking robot that made it's way from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia in the summer of 2014. Read more


English and Cultural Studies Professor Named to College of New Scholars

The Royal Society of Canada has named three McMaster faculty members including Sarah Brophy, a Professor of English and Cultural Studies, to the College of New Scholars. The College is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the next generation of intellectuals. Congratulations Dr. Brophy! Read more


Daily News LogoMajor Canada-Wide Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Scholarships Announced

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are Canada's most prestigious awards for doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows (respectively), working in the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and social sciences and humanities. McMaster's nine Vanier Scholarship winners for the 20140-17 term include Clorinde Peters (English and Cultural Studies), and McMaster's only Banting Fellow, Paul Barrett, is also from the Department of English and Cultural Studies. Read more.


Dr. Bonny IbhawohDr. Bonny Ibhawoh Speaks to CTV News on Issues of Global Security

Associate Professor of History and Humanities Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Dr. Bonny Ibhawoh, was recently interviewed by CTV News. He spoke about contemporary global insecurity and how it compares to the Cold War. Read the feature and watch the video here.


Henry GirouxDemocracy in Jeopardy? Henry Giroux on TVO's The Agenda

McMaster McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest, Henry Giroux (Department of English and Cultural Studies), was a guest on TVO's The Agenda, sitting down with Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss his new book "The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America's Disimagination Machine". Giroux argues that the United States' embrace of a surveillance state and culture of violence have replaced the values of freedom, liberty and justice, putting American democracy in jeopardy. Watch video here.


image of handwriting2013/14 Term 2 and French Essay Prize Winners Announced

The Winners of the 2013/14 Humanities Essay Prizes for Term 2 and for the 2013/14 Humanities French Language Essay Prizes have been announced. Congratulations to Johanna Sinclair, Richard Freeman, Udoka Okafor, Samhita Misra, Christina Rothwell, Claire Kilroy, Yosra Musa, Olivia Dorio, Andrew Perrella and Vance Tran. For details on the essay titles and courses for which they were written, see our Essay prize web page.


President Patrick Deane and benefactor, Robert FitzhenryLet the countdown begin: Fitzhenry Studios and Atrium beginning to take shape

Call it the first work of art produced at the Dr. Robert & Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry Studios and Atrium — Shovels Meeting Earth (mixed media, 2014). On Monday, ground was broken at a facility that will reinvigorate and revolutionize McMaster's fine arts community. Once complete in early 2015, the atrium will increase existing classroom, studio and display areas by more than 1,700 square feet. The versatile space will also function as a reception area, with a stunning glass façade rising above Stearn Drive. The project was made possible thanks to a $3 million gift from alumnus Robert Fitzhenry — the largest ever donation to McMaster's Fine Arts program. Fitzhenry made the gift in honour of his late wife, Andrée, during a ceremony last November. Andrée, who passed away in February, 2013, continues to serve as inspiration for those involved in the planning and construction process. Full Story


Deana SumanacHumanities Graduates Inspire Current Students with Tales of Career Success

The Humanities Target Learning and Experiential Education Centre offers lots of events to help students explore their career options with the help of visiting professionals in a wide range of fields.. The Centre has also created a database of video interviews with Humanities graduates talking about their career paths and how their humanities education helped them achieve their professional goals. To watch the videos, visit our Alumni Career Interviews web site.


Image of some of the documents held in the Mulberry archivesD-Day: Secret 'Mulberry Harbours' project revealed in McMaster archives

Allied preparations for D-Day were a race against time. The story of how the prefabricated harbours used for the invasion of Europe were planned and built remains one of the best kept secrets from the Second World War. To this day, the project is considered a remarkable feat of engineering, yet few have ever heard of it. Acquired by McMaster in 1976, the Mulberry Harbours collection, which dates from 1942-1947, consists of classified documents from the British War Office, drawings, blueprints, laboratory reports, correspondence and more than 700 official photographs with security classifications, censor stamps and War Office ID numbers. Full Story


MELD programHumanities Launches English Language Bridging Program

The McMaster English Language Development Diploma (MELD) is intended for international students whose primary language is not English and who wish to improve their oral and written communication skills, and succeed in an English-speaking university environment. Offered through the Department of Linguistics and Languages, the diploma is a two-term, full-time intensive bridging program in English language development and acculturation. Students accepted into MELD will have qualified for admission to undergraduate studies in a specific program, but do not meet the English language requirements. They are given a conditional offer of admission to their program of choice, conditional upon successful completion of the MELD diploma. Visit the MELD web site for full details.


Book Cover - The Traffic in Babies

Black Market Babies in the 1940s and 1950s

Dr. Karen Balcom, Associate Professor in the Department of History was recently featured in CTV Montreal's special report on the issue of Black market babies in the 1940s and 1950s. Dr. Balcom is the author of The Traffic in Babies: Cross Border Adoption and Baby-Selling Between the United States and Canada, 1930-1972 (University of Toronto Press, 2011) which received the the 2012 Albert Corey Prize, given by the American Historical Association and the Canadian Historical Association for the best book on Canadian American relations or the history of the two nations together. The book also won the 2012 Bowling Green University/Institute of Political History Book Prize in International and Comparative History.
Watch the video of the CTV report here: http://bit.ly/1ewmnCe


Image of Eugène Nshimiyimana

The Rwandan Genocide 20 Years On: Stories of Loss and Survival

Twenty years after the Rwandan Genocide shocked the world, two members of the McMaster community share their experiences. Dr. Eugène Nshimiyimana (left), Chair of the Department of French and Béatrice Kansayisa, Administrative/Graduate Secretary in French feature in recent pieces produced by CBC's The National and CHCH.

                       CBC - The Soldier and the Survivor | CHCH - 20 Years Since Rwanda Genocide


Dr. Michael SchutzWant a Better Understanding of Your Favourite Song? Move to the beat!

When the music is good, the urge to move is irresistible. While we don't fully understand why music compels movement, researchers working in McMaster's MAPLE Lab (Music, Acoustics, Perception & LEarning) - Dr. Michael Schutz (School of the Arts, pictured left) and graduate student Fiona Manning - have found that it can improve our sense of timing and result in a better understanding of a song's structure, even for those with little or no musical training. Read full story


Deana SumanacHumanities Graduates Inspire Current Students with Tales of Career Success

The Humanities Target Learning and Experiential Education Centre offers lots of events to help students explore their career options with the help of visiting professionals in a wide range of fields.. The Centre has also created a database of video interviews with Humanities graduates talking about their career paths and how their humanities education helped them achieve their professional goals. To watch the videos, visit our Alumni Career Interviews web site.


Image of Book Cover, Selling under the SwastikaHistory Professor Investigates Commercial Advertising in the Third Reich

Selling under the Swastika: Advertising and Commercial Culture in Nazi Germany is the first in-depth study of commercial advertising in the Third Reich. While scholars have focused extensively on the political propaganda that infused daily life in Nazi Germany, they have paid little attention to the role played by commercial ads and sales culture in legitimizing and stabilizing the regime. In her forthcoming book, published by Stanford University Press, Chair of the Department of History, Dr. Pamela Swett, investigates the extent of the transformation of the German ads industry from the internationally infused republican era that preceded 1933 through the relative calm of the mid-1930s and into the war years. The book is featured in the Boston Globe's Brainiac blog.


Dr. John Weaver History Professor Elected to the Royal Society of Canada

It was announced on September 6, that Professor of History, Dr. John Weaver, has been named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. The society promotes learning and research in the arts, humanities and the natural and social sciences. "During a long career, all at McMaster, I've benefited from the encouragement and support of colleagues as well as the stimulation of teaching our motivated undergraduate and graduate students," says Dr. Weaver. Full Story


Nipissing and McMaster Humanities logos

McMaster-Nipissing French as a Second Language Teaching Specialization

An agreement between McMaster and Nipissing universities smooths the path for graduates of a single or combined honours French program at McMaster who would like to train as teachers of French as a second language. Each year, 20 spots will be reserved for eligible McMaster students in the French as a second language specialization of Nipissing’s B.Ed. program. More

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Site Updated:November 10, 2014