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Welcome to the Canadian Committee on the History of Sexuality

 



http://www.lemontreecreations.ca/images/body-pol.jpgQueer History on Stage

(26 January 2016)

 

Stories about two episodes of Canadian queer history, one from Calgary, one from Toronto, soon to be on stage:

 

http://www.lemontreecreations.ca/body-politic.html

 

http://www.metronews.ca/news/calgary/2016/01/21/calgary-gay-history-to-be-told-in-new-play.html

 

 

 

 

CCHS Prize for Best Article: 2016 Call for Nominations

(4 December 2015)

 

Nominations are now being accepted for our 2016 Prize for Best Article. For details, check out the Awards page.

 

 

The Trudeau Omnibus Bill of 1969: Call for Papers

(4 December 2015)

 

The Trudeau government’s Omnibus Bill of 1969 modified many aspects of Canada’s criminal code, but three changes were most significant to the sex lives of Canadians. The bill decriminalized homosexuality, legalized access to abortion, and decriminalized contraception. The changes to the laws regulating homosexuality, abortion and contraception created repercussions that reverberated throughout Canadian culture and politics in the following decades and continue to matter today in profound ways.

 

We are planning to publish an edited collection of essays that explores the many aspects of the Omnibus Bill’s origins, impact and legacy. The aim is to invite interested scholars to present their papers at a workshop conference in the summer of 2016 to be held at Trent University’s Windy Pine conference facility in Haliburton. Edited versions of these papers will then be submitted to a scholarly press (TBD) as a book edited by Christopher Dummitt and Christabelle Sethna.

 

We are looking for scholars whose work explores the history and politics of homosexuality, abortion and contraception in Canada in relation to the Bill. It is expected that some essays would focus specifically on the Omnibus Bill itself, but we hope that authors will consider how the three particular topics being explored relate to the Bill’s origins, impact or legacy.

 

If interested, please contact either Christopher Dummitt (cdummitt@trentu.ca) or Christabelle Sethna (christabelle.sethna@uottawa.ca) with a title, one-paragraph abstract, and a short bio.

 

 

Exhibit on Homophile Internationalism Features Can-Con

(4 December 2015)

 

OutHistory is pleased to announce a major new exhibit, "U.S. Homophile Internationalism." It features more than 1000 LGBT magazine references to Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union. The exhibit focuses on the 1950s and 1960s. It includes introductory essays, regional bibliographies, and digitized images of letters to the editor, news and feature stories, and other items in the homophile press. We hope the feature will inspire new work on international, transnational, and global LGBT history. It was created by San Francisco State University historian Marc Stein and a team of six graduate student researchers at York University in Toronto.

 

 

New Grad Course at UofT – Check It Out

(22 July 2015)

GRAD CLASS: HIS 1850H-F QUEER ARCHIVES AND LGBTQ HISTORY 

Prof. ELSPETH BROWN FALL 2015, University of Toronto; Thursdays 2-4 pm

This course explores the “archival turn” in feminist and queer studies and the role of archives in LGBTQ history, with an emphasis on post-45 US and Canadian historiography. We will read some interdisciplinary work theorizing archives (such as Foucault, Derrida, Stoler, Munoz, Cvetkovich, and Eichorn). We will consider how queer and trans* artists, activists, and community organizations use “the archive” in their cultural interventions. Finally, we will read recent work in post-45 US and Canadian queer and trans* history that draws upon archives to anchor historical claims. The course is not meant as a comprehensive overview of LGBTQ history in the post-45 period. Instead, we will ask questions such as: how has the availability of particular archives shaped the production of queer and trans* histories? What is the relationship between the discipline of academic history and homonormativity? How does one archive the ephemeral, including affect, gesture, and glance? What is the role of sex and porn in the production of LGBTQ history? Students will be asked to work closely with, or create themselves, a queer archive as their final project, and to develop a piece of writing or media production based on that archive. The course will provide tours of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives and the University of Toronto’s Sexual Representation Collection (among other GTA resources) as part of the seminar.

Note: Under the Ontario University consortium arrangement, students from other universities can take courses at U of T. The course is being offered in both History and in the Institute for Women and Gender Studies at U of T. If students from outside of U of T need/want to register under the WGS designation, rather than the HIS designation, they should contact Prof. Elspeth Brown.

Edmonton Queer Community History

(Steven Maynard/16 January 2015)

 

 

http://www.ismss.ualberta.ca/sites/www.ismss.ualberta.ca/files/EQHP.jpgAn article in the Edmonton Journal details the current work being done on the queer history of Edmonton. A joint initiative of the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, Edmonton Pride Festival Society, Edmonton Heritage Council, and the City of Edmonton, you can find out more about the project here.

 

 

Apply Now for the Lynch Grant in LGBT History!

(Steven Maynard/17 October 2014)

 

Applications for the 2014 Michael Lynch Grant in Queer History are now being sought. The $1,500 grant is awarded by the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, and is open to individuals, groups, and organizations.

 

The Grant is named for Michael Lynch, the late University of Toronto English professor, long-time gay and AIDS activist, and founder of the Toronto Centre for Lesbian and Gay Studies. For over ten years (starting in 1990), the TCLGS encouraged community-based and academic research on queer history. The Lynch Grant is supported by the Lynch Fund at Sexual Diversity Studies, designed to carry on such work. The Lynch Grant is intended to encourage history research endeavors and projects designed to transmit knowledge about queer history to a broad audience.

 

The first Lynch Grant was awarded to support the development of a panel of historians to discuss the twenty-year history of lesbian and gay student activism at Montreal universities, the results of which were presented at the 1992 La Ville en Rose Conference in that city.

 

Projects must contribute to an understanding of the historical development of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered sexualities, identities, politics, and communities in Canada. Priority will be given to projects that reflect the diversity (for example along the lines of gender, race, culture, language, or class) that characterizes the queer historical experience. Projects may take the form of workshops, conferences, oral history compilations, art exhibits, video presentations, academic articles, popular pamphlets, or books. Alternative formats are encouraged and welcomed.

 

Grants are not awarded retroactively to work already completed. Applications must be for projects begun or in progress during 2014. Adjudication of Grant applications is the responsibility of the SDS Lynch Grant Committee. For more information contact Rebecca Thorpe, Business Officer, at sexual.diversity@utoronto.ca.

 

To apply, you are asked to submit:

1. An outline of the project (up to 750 words), describing its scope, objectives, and intended audience.

2. An overall budget, highlighting those expenditures for which the Grant would be used. Information on other grants applied for, expected, or received should be included.

3. A résumé (1-2 pages), highlighting the relevant qualifications and experience of the applicant(s) or (if applicable) the organization.

 

Applications must be received no later than November 30, 2014. Results will be announced in late 2014. They may be submitted in English or French, and mailed to:

The Michael Lynch History Grant,

The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies,

University College, University of Toronto,

Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3H7

 

Gay/Lesbian Activism in 1970s Toronto: Hear All About It

(Steven Maynard/30 May 2014)

 

http://tpl.razuna.com/assets/3434/BE91B055890E4901A6D122649CE791FE/img/C0887B0EE19F46C687678E70F8D1FFB6/gay-pinic-1972-150x185_C0887B0EE19F46C687678E70F8D1FFB6.jpg

York U historians, Mathieu Brûlé and Tom Hooper, will be speaking on the history of gay/lesbian activism in Toronto during the 1970s on a panel at the North York Central Library, June 10th, 2014, 7pm. Further details here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journal of Canadian Studies Goes Queer!

(Steven Maynard/30 May 2014)

 

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_canadian_studies/cover/jcs.48.1_front.jpg“Demanding Possibilities: The Legacies and Potentials of Sex and Gender Activism” is the name of a special issue of the Journal of Canadian Studies. The most recent volume of JCS is an exciting collection of papers inspired by the “We Demand” conference held in Vancouver in August 2011. There is a table of contents here. To read the articles, you’ll need access to an institutional subscription through a university or other library.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Article Prize Announced!

(Steven Maynard/28 May 2014)

 

During the prize ceremony at the annual meeting of the Canadian Historical Association, held in St. Catharines, Ontario on May 27th, the CCHS announced the winner of its 2014 Prize for Best Article. And the winner is …. Valerie Korinek of the University of Saskatchewan for her article “‘We’re the girls of the pansy parade’: Historicizing Winnipeg’s Queer Subcultures, 1930s–1970,” which appeared in Histoire sociale/Social History 45 (May 2012). Articles published in either 2012 or 2013 were eligible. Check out our Awards page to see what the prize committee said about the article.

 

CHA Gets Sexy and Political

(Steven Maynard/29 January 2014)

 

In what may be a first, the Canadian Historical Association has extended its advocacy work to include LGBT issues. In January, the CHA wrote a public letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin to express the Association’s opposition to Russia’s “anti-gay propaganda” legislation and its “inhibiting implications for scholarship in history.” You can read the complete letter here.

 

New AIDS Activist History Project

(Steven Maynard/29 January 2014)

 

A major new AIDS Activist History Project is underway. The SSHRC-funded project aims to research the history of AIDS activism in Canada in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The project will conduct oral histories, talking with people who struggled – and who may continue to struggle – against the criminalization and stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS, and who took action to change their medical, social, and political circumstances. For more on this exciting initiative, including a conference and other events, see the AIDS Activist History Project.

                             

2014 Prize for Best Article – Call for Nominations

(Steven Maynard/4 January 2014)

 

The CCHS is looking for nominations for its prize for the best article on the history of sexuality in Canada. For more details, check out the “Awards” page.

 

Transgender History/Archives Symposium in Victoria

(Steven Maynard/12 September 2013)


The Transgender Archives of the University of Victoria in British Columbia will be hosting a symposium in March of 2014. The forum will bring together people working with transgender archival materials to exchange ideas and information, develop linkages, and increase our effectiveness in gathering and disseminating the history of trans research and activism. Complete details on the symposium, including the call for papers, can be found here:

http://transgenderarchives.ca/symposium

 

Sex, History, and Summer in the City

(Steven Maynard/26 June 2013)

 

For those in and around Toronto, there are a number of events related to the history of sexuality coming up:

 

“Flaunting It!: Reading the Body Politic” – Join some of the original members of the Body Politic collective, along with others, when they read their favourite passages from Canada’s influential voice for gay liberation. Glad Day Bookshop, 598A Yonge Street, Toronto, 30 June 2013, 5:30pm. For more info:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/461399560617106/

 

“The Ballad of Everett Klippert,” a performance by John Greyson at the AGO - Art Gallery of Ontario, a First Thursdays programme: July 4, 2013! 7-11:30pm, Advance Tickets: $12 / $10 AGO Members At the Door: $15 / $13 AGO Members, 19+

 

UVic Transgender Archives: New Web Resource

(Steven Maynard/11 December 2012)

 

Since 2007, the University of Victoria Transgender Archives has been collecting documents, rare publications, and artifacts of people and organizations associated with transgender activism. This fall, the Transgender Archives launched a website, so it’s now possible to check them out from a distance. Lara Wilson, the University Archivist in charge of the collection, reports that they continue to digitize more material and would be happy to respond to research queries.

 

New Articles in Canadian Sex History

(Steven Maynard/11 December 2012)

 

Looks like 2012 has been a good year for the history of sex in Canada judging by these recent publications. If you have or know of recent work on the history of sexuality of Canada, send CCHS the citations and we’ll post them here and in our bibliography.

 

·         Valerie Korinek, “’We’re the girls of the pansy parade’: Historicizing Winnipeg’s Queer Subcultures, 1930s–1970,” Histoire sociale/Social History 45(May 2012): 117-55

 

·         Liz Millward, “Making a Scene: Struggles Over Lesbian Place-making in Anglophone Canada, 1964–1984,” Women’s History Review 21,4(2012): 553-69

 

·         Christopher D. O’Shea, “’A Plea for the Prostate’: Doctors, Prostate Dysfunction, and Male Sexuality in Late 19th- and Early 20th-Century Canada,” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 29, 1(2012): 7-27

 

·         Laura Robinson, “‘Sex matters’: L. M. Montgomery, Friendship, and Sexuality,” Children’s Literature 40(2012):167-90

 

·         Becki Ross, “Outdoor Brothel Culture: The Un/Making of a Transsexual Stroll in Vancouver's West End, 1975–1984,” Journal of Historical Sociology 25(March 2012): 126-50

 

·         Shannon Stettner, “’He is still unwanted’: Women’s Assertions of Authority over Abortion in Letters to the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada,” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 29, 1(2012): 151-71

 

Queer/Sexuality Studies in Canada: Round Table Discussion

(Steven Maynard/9 September 2012)

 

On September 27th, 2012, the UofT’s Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies and Canadian Scholars’ Press will host a round table discussion on “Queer/Sexuality Studies in Canada Today: Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?” Mariana Valverde, Rinaldo Walcott, Steven Maynard, and Brenda Cossman will take part in the discussion to be held at 3pm in Room 140 of University College, UofT. The round table will be followed by a reception at Croft Chapter House, UofT, from 4:30 to 7pm, to launch the new book Queerly Canadian (see below for details on the anthology).

 

 

http://www.cspi.org/sites/default/files/covers/uploaded/Queerly%20Canadian%20full%20size_0.jpgQueerly Canadian: A New Anthology

(Steven Maynard/24 July 2012)

 

 

Queerly Canadian is the title of a soon-to-be-released reader on sexuality studies in Canada. Edited by Maureen FitzGerald and Scott Rayter, both associated with the Sexual Diversity Studies program at the University of Toronto, Queerly Canadian is a showcase of interdisciplinary queer scholarship in Canada, including work by a number of historians. For details, see the Canadian Scholars’ Press website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toronto the Gay: History Series

(Steven Maynard/24 July 2012)

 

 

http://www.xtra.ca/BinaryContent/stories/12/21/12210/web/HIstory_Pic1.jpg.jpgHistorian and CCHS co-chair Steven Maynard (Queen’s U) has a series of articles in Xtra!, Toronto’s gay/lesbian community newspaper, on queer men’s history in early 20th-century Toronto. The series, which features archival photographs, explores the various layers of Toronto’s early subculture of public sex, including parks, lavatories, and laneways. Based on research and writing initially undertaken in academia, the series is an experiment in public history, an effort to popularize academic work.

(Ward’s Island Lavatory, Toronto, 1926: City of Toronto Archives)

 

 

 

Prostitution on the Prairies

(Steven Maynard/3 June 2012)

 

“The Oldest Profession in Winnipeg” is the name of a recent documentary film on the history of prostitution. Directed by Aaron Floresco, and co-written by Floresco and Rhonda Hinther, this dramatic recreation tells the story of Winnipeg’s infamous red-light district in the years between 1909 and 1912. Watch the trailer here. The film was recently awarded a prize from the Public History subcommittee of the Canadian Historical Association at its recent annual meeting. For more details on the film, see Past Perfect Productions website.

 

New Book: History of Sexuality in Québec

(Steven Maynard/9 May 2012)

 

Livre Histoire de la sexualité au Québec

 

 

 

Out this month, a new anthology on the history of sexuality in Québec with contributions by a number of CCHS members. Edited by Jean-Philippe Warren, Une Histoire des sexualités au Québec au XX siècle (Montréal: VLB) covers a wide range of topics, including sexology, pornography, WW II, religious communities, the counter-culture, the body, and much more. For more further details, see the publisher’s website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Round-up

(Steven Maynard/3 May 2012)

 

A reminder that the CCHS Prize for Best Article will be announced at the Canadian Historical Association annual meeting in Waterloo, Ontario, May 28-30, 2012. Check back here after the announcement for details on our 2012 winner.

 

The bibliography on the history of sexuality in Canada (under the Resources tab) continues to grow, including recent articles by Barbara Freeman, Beth Palmer, and Becki Ross. Anyone with other recent work on the history of sexuality in Canada should send the references along. Details on where to send the information can be found on the bibliography page.

 

2012 Michael Lynch Grant in Queer History

(Steven Maynard/21 Feb 2012)

 

Applications for the 2012 Michael Lynch Grant in Queer History are now being sought.

The $1,500 grant is awarded by the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, and is open to individuals, groups, and organizations.

 

The Grant is named for Michael Lynch, the late University of Toronto English professor, long-time gay and AIDS activist, and founder of the Toronto Centre for Lesbian and Gay Studies. For over ten years (starting in 1990), the TCLGS encouraged community-based and academic research on queer history. The Lynch Grant is supported by the Lynch Fund at Sexual Diversity Studies, designed to carry on such work. The Lynch Grant is intended to encourage history research endeavors, and projects designed to transmit knowledge about queer history to a broad audience.

 

Projects must contribute to an understanding of the historical development of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered sexualities, identities, politics, and communities in Canada. Priority will be given to projects that reflect the diversity (for example along the lines of gender, race, culture, language, or class) that characterizes the queer historical experience.

 

Projects may take the form of workshops, conferences, oral history compilations, art exhibits, video presentations, academic articles, popular pamphlets, or books. Alternative formats are encouraged and welcomed. Grants are not awarded retroactively to work already completed. Applications must be for projects begun or in progress during 2012. Adjudication of Grant applications is the responsibility of the SDS Lynch Grant Committee. For more information contact Wendy Koslow, Program Assistant, at sexual.diversity@utoronto.ca.

 

To apply, you are asked to submit:

1. An outline of the project (up to 750 words), describing its scope, objectives, and intended audience.

2. An overall budget, highlighting those expenditures for which the Grant would be used. Information on other grants applied for, expected, or received should be included.

3. A résumé (1-2 pages), highlighting the relevant qualifications and experience of the applicant(s) or (if applicable) the organization.

 

Applications must be received no later than April 1, 2012. Results will be announced in late spring 2012. They may be submitted in English or French, and mailed to:

 

The Michael Lynch History Grant,

The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies,

University College,

University of Toronto,

Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3H7

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Queering Canada

(Steven Maynard/21 Feb 2012)

 

“Queering Canada: Gay and Lesbian Political and Social Activism, 1969-1982” is the title of Matthew Hayday’s (University of Guelph) recent contribution to Visions: The Canadian History Modules Project. A product of Nelson Education, Visions is a customizable reader in pre- and post-Confederation Canadian history. Each module contains primary sources and secondary readings, along with an introduction by the compiler of the module. Hayday’s module comprises nine primary sources, including Chris Bearchell’s important 1977 piece, “Gay Men and Lesbians Can Work Together,” and photographs of the 1981 police raid on Toronto’s gay bathhouses. Hayday selected readings by Miriam Smith, Tom Warner, and Becki Ross, and he also provides a list of questions for discussion and further readings. For more information, see:

 

http://www.visions.nelson.com/module34.html

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New Book: Sexuality Studies in Canada

(Steven Maynard/21 Feb 2012)

 

A new anthology, Canadian Perspectives in Sexualities Studies: Identities, Experiences, and the Contexts of Change, edited by Diane Naugler and published by Oxford University Press contains several contributions by Canadian historians of sexuality, along with much else. For more details, see:

 

http://www.oupcanada.com/catalog/9780195439731.html

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CFP: International LGBTI Archives Conference

(Steven Maynard/21 Feb 2012)

 

An international archives, libraries, museums, and special collections conference on the future of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans histories will be held in Amsterdam, August 1-3, 2012. For the call for proposals and other information, see:

 

http://www.ihlia.nl/english/english/english_home/LGBT%20ALMS%202012%20Conference

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CFP: Reproductive Health History

(Steven Maynard/23 September 2011)

 

Special Session of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine Annual Meeting, University of Waterloo in June 2012

 

Women’s bodies have always been sites of struggle – over meanings and for control.  The most polarizing conflicts involve women’s reproductive health and autonomy.  Women’s bodies are a terrain contested by and between the medical establishment, the state, churches, the media, and activists. Battles over meanings and rights also pit men against women and women against one another.  Further complicating these conflicts are issues of race, class, gender, and heteronormativity. Papers in this panel should seek to illuminate these struggles for meaning and control in innovative ways.

 

Subjects may include, but are not limited to:

-abortion

-contraception

-pregnancy

-sterilization

-in/fertility, treatments and technologies

-surrogacy

-adoption

-gynaecological health

-menopause

-sexuality

-breastfeeding

-reproductive health activism

 

Scholars are invited to submit proposals of 250-300 words, along with a 1-page CV, by November 30, 2011. For more information or to submit a proposal, please contact Shannon Stettner (rhhincanada@gmail.com). Following the conference a CFP will be issued inviting scholars to submit articles for a special issue of the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History on Reproductive Health History in Canada, guest edited by Shannon Stettner and Tracy Penny Light, with the aim of publishing in 2014.

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CFP: ‘We Demand’ Demands Your Paper!
(Steven Maynard/19 August 2011)

 

Not one, but two calls for papers have gone out from the folks at the “We Demand” conference. An anthology to be published by UBC Press and a special issue of the Journal of Canadian Studies will feature papers from the conference. With these calls for papers, the editors are also inviting others to contribute.

 

History/Sex/Activism in Canada, edited by Patrizia Gentile

Since the 1969 passage of the Omnibus Bill legalizing birth control and decriminalizing homosexual acts between adults, Canada has enjoyed a reputation as on the cutting edge of progressive sexual politics. Canadian debates surrounding obscenity laws, same-sex marriage, recognition of transgender health rights, human rights legislation, queers and immigration policies, and constitutional challenges to sex worker legislation resulted in significant policy changes and the impact of these actions continue to reverberate internationally. Abstracts are invited for an edited collection on the history of sexuality in Canada. Especially encouraged are papers that critically engage sexuality with normative and hegemonic notions of race, class, age, ability, gender, citizenship, and nation (including problematizing the idea of Canada) from a historical perspective. Other potential topic areas include but are not limited to:


• colonialism, race, violence and sexuality
• sexuality and space
• sexuality and nation/citizenship
• sex education
• childhood/adolescence and sexuality
• the aging/aged body and sexuality
• medical/scientific discourses and sexuality
• dis/ability and sexuality
• trans-  and sexuality
• (re) productive bodies and sexuality (eg.  sexuality and the workplace;
pregnancy and sexuality)

This anthology will be targeted for use in post-secondary courses in Canadian history, the history of sexuality, gender history, sexuality studies, sociology, health studies, cultural studies, urban studies, and women’s and gender studies. Interested authors should submit a 300 - 500 word abstract, working title and brief biography by September 30, 2011. The editor will review all proposals and authors of accepted proposals will be invited to contribute to the collection. Completed manuscripts (6000-8000 words) will be due February 1, 2012. All manuscripts will be externally peer reviewed. Please send queries and submissions to: patrizia_gentile@carleton.ca

 

We Demand!”: Sexuality and Activism in Canada
Special Theme Issue of the Journal of Canadian Studies
Guest Editor: David S. Churchill
Associate Editor, JCS: Matthew Hayday


On August 28, 1971, activists rallied in front of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa and the Vancouver Courthouse.  Occurring two years after the decriminalization of a limited number of homosexual sexual acts, these were the first large-scale public gatherings in support of lesbian and gay rights in Canada.  As part of these demonstrations, the activists proclaimed their “We Demand!” manifesto, which laid out their agenda to change Canadian laws and culture around the regulation of sexuality. 

Forty years later, Canada is viewed internationally as a leader in progressive sexual politics, although some of the objectives of the “We Demand” manifesto remain unattained or only partly achieved. Canadian debates concerning birth control and abortion, obscenity laws, same-sex marriage, recognition of transgender health rights, human rights legislation, and queers and immigration policies resulted in significant
legal and policy changes, and these actions have reverberated around the globe.  This special issue of the Journal of Canadian Studies, inspired by the “We Demand: History/Sex/Activism in Canada” conference hosted by Simon Fraser University, will provide an opportunity to assess the impact of these developments on the social, cultural, political, and historical landscape in Canada and beyond. 

Although this special issue will be primarily oriented around the intersections between sexuality and activism in Canada, we invite submissions more broadly connected to lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, two-spirit, and queer studies and sexuality in Canada. We welcome submissions from a wide array of academic disciplines, particularly articles which address these issues from an interdisciplinary perspective. 

Please send brief proposals (250-500 words, plus a short CV) to David Churchill churchil@cc.umanitoba.ca and Matthew Hayday mhayday@uoguelph.ca by November 15, 2011.  Full articles (7,000-10,000 words, plus notes/bibliography) will be due by January 15, 2012.  All papers will undergo a formal peer review process through the Journal of Canadian Studies.
-------------------------------------------

 

New Book: Sex and Violence in the ‘Wild West’

(Steven Maynard/ 12 August 2011)

 

 

Westward Bound.jpgA major new book on the history of sexual violence against women in Western Canada is just about to be released from UBC Press for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. Lesley Erickson’s Westward Bound: Sex, Violence, the Law, and the Making of a Settler Society is a detailed study of criminal court cases involving sexual offences against women. The Press’s website describes the book this way:

 

Westward Bound debunks the myth of Canada’s peaceful West and its masculine conceptions of law and violence by focusing on criminal cases involving women between 1886 and 1940. Rather than a desire to protect, official responses to the most intimate or violent acts betrayed an impulse to shore up the liberal order by maintaining boundaries between men and women, Native people and newcomers, and capital and labour. Victims and accused could only hope to harness entrenched ideas about masculinity, femininity, race, and class in their favour. This fascinating exploration of hegemony and resistance in key contact zones draws prairie Canada into larger debates about law, colonialism, and nation building.”

 

For further information and a sample chapter, go to:

http://www.ubcpress.ca/books/pdf/chapters/2011/WestwardBound.pdf

 

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“Looking Back on Pride” by Mathieu Brûlé
(Steven Maynard/3 August 2011)

 

Mathieu Brûlé, a doctoral candidate in history at York University, sketches the four-decade-long and often-troubled relationship between the City of Toronto and its queer communities. The overview was prompted by Mayor Rob Ford’s decision to forgo the 16-year tradition of mayoral participation in Pride festivities in favour of his family cottage. Brûlé’s piece can be found at activehistory.

 

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“John McCrae ‘gay’? No way” by Steven Maynard

(Steven Maynard/2 August 2011)

 

The simplistic, if familiar, ‘was he or wasn’t he?’ approach to the history of sexuality has been on full view in the pages of the Ottawa Citizen of late. The ‘debate’ centers on the nature of the relationship between John McCrae, author of “In Flanders Fields,” and his friend and former student, Alexis Helmer. The controversy erupted when Ottawa’s gay community newspaper suggested that McCrae might have been “gay” and Helmer his “probable lover.” The Citizen picked up the story, assembling a number of experts critical of the very idea of a gay McCrae. Neither the gay paper nor the Citizen interviewed a historian of sexuality. I weighed in on the discussion in an op-ed piece, offering a different approach. Back in 1999, a similar controversy emerged over Charlotte Whitton when the last box of her personal papers was opened at the national archives.

 

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“What We Demanded, What We Got” by Rick Bébout

(Steven Maynard/25 July 2011)

 

In the lead-up to the conference, “We Demand: History/Sex/Activism in Canada” (see the news item below), I want to share several resources put together by Rick Bébout which are archived on the website of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. Back in 1997, Rick had the idea to track the fate of the original ten demands that made up the “We Demand” manifesto and which were read out at the demonstration on Parliament Hill in August of 1971. What he discovered he wrote up in “What We Demanded, What We Got: Follow-up to ‘We Demand,’ 1971.” Rick was nothing if not a stickler for historical detail and a thorough researcher, so it’s no surprise he also included a background paper that lists and summarizes the more than 170 stories from The Body Politic and Xtra he read in preparation for “What We Got.” Finally, Rick also included and introduced the original “We Demand” manifesto as it was published in the first issue of The Body Politic, which appeared in November/December of 1971. Rick’s introduction featured some reflections on “We Demand” by Herb Spiers, one of the original drafters of the document, who died this past March. For those who don’t know, Rick was a gay liberationist and queer community historian. His keen sense of history stemmed in part from his role as a long-time member of the collective that produced The Body Politic and whose records, maintained by the CLGA, he helped to inventory. Rick died in June of 2009. For an indication of his queer and creative imagination, see his website.

 

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Conference on the History of Sexuality in Canada – August 2011!
(Steven Maynard/20 July 2011)

 

"We Demand": History/Sex/Activism in Canada / « Nous demandons »: Histoire/Sexe/Activisme au Canada is the first conference in Canada since 1993 devoted to the history of sexuality. Organized by the Canadian Committee on the History of Sexuality/ Comité canadien d’histoire de la sexualité, the conference will be held at the Coast Plaza Hotel in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, August 26-28th, 2011. The aim of the conference is to facilitate, promote, and expand the study of sexuality and activism in Canada from a historical perspective. Designed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first national gay liberation action in Ottawa and Vancouver, "We Demand" will interrogate connections between history, sexuality, theory, activism, and the archives. As such, the conference will engage an estimated 140 participants in a three-day exploration of a broad range of issues and a variety of methodological and disciplinary approaches particular to the study of sexuality.

 

The “We Demand” conference features some of the most important critical thinkers and activists in the field today. Among them are keynote speakers Ann Cvetkovich, an internationally renowned cultural theorist, and Jessica Yee, Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Ann Cvetkovich is the author of An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (Duke, 2003), which includes an oral history project with ACT UP/NY’s lesbians. Her work is at the leading edge of queer theory and engages with methodological and interpretive issues of relevance to a wide range of scholars. Jessica Yee is a sexual rights activist who currently serves as the first Chair of the National Aboriginal Youth Council at the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network and is also Chair of the International Indigenous HIV/AIDS Working Group.

 

The conference includes two plenary sessions that anchor the conference themes. “History as Activism” explores the role assumed by the history of sexuality in progressive sexual political struggles in North America and features five founders of the history of sexuality in Canada: Mary-Louise Adams, Line Chamberland, Karen Dubinsky, Steven Maynard and Becki Ross. “Activism as History” offers historical reflections on the history of activism relating to sexuality and features leading activists in the area of sexual rights politics: activist/academic Gary Kinsman, bookstore manager and anti-censorship activist Janine Fuller, lawyer barbara findlay, BC queer community archivist Ron Dutton, and long-time lesbian activist Amy Gottlieb. Peter Dickinson, a leading expert on queer culture and guest curator of the Pacific Cinémathèque film program and Tom Waugh, a scholar and prolific writer on queer film, especially in Canada, will also participate as presenters. A preliminary program and abstracts for each presentation are available through the links at the bottom and the right hand side of this page.

 

For almost half a century Canada has enjoyed an international reputation as a leader in progressive sexual politics. Canadian debates concerning birth control and abortion, obscenity laws, same-sex marriage, recognition of transgender health rights, human rights legislation, and queers and immigration policies resulted in significant legal and policy changes, and these actions have reverberated around the globe. This conference is an opportunity to assess the impact of these developments on the social, cultural, political, and historical landscape in Canada and beyond.

 

The simultaneous rise of Canadian queer culture is also a focal point for this conference. A four day parallel film program hosted by Pacific Cinémathèque uses film screenings and panel discussions to explore the role of Canadian cinema in post-1960s sexual politics. It is open to the public, thus providing an opportunity to connect scholars from across the nation and residents of the broader Lower Mainland community.

 

The conference is open to the public. Members of the public can register on site but as seating is limited, we recommend advance registration. Check out the conference website:

http://ocs.sfu.ca/history/index.php/wedemand/2011

 

 

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