Students in our History program can take advantage of engaging classes, a strong community, and the ability to apply their skills through a variety of research, institutional, and teaching internships for credit. Here are some examples of the benefits students have received as a result.
The History department at Bishop’s University’s is unique in every right. Established in 1843 at the confluence of the Massawippi and Saint-Francis rivers, the campus itself is a testament to the various ways in which the past both informs and inhabits the present. The History department offers a dynamic learning environment that fosters critical thinking and the necessary tools to develop a community. While pursuing my honors degree, I took courses that explore a variety of time periods and subjects. I quickly found my area of interest: Indigenous studies. In the seminar “The Law of The Land: Indigenous Treaties,” we examined the spirit and intent of treaties through Indigenous governance and forms of diplomacy. As in most seminars, there is always a hands-on and experiential approach. In this case, we did a mock trial that explored the negations surrounding Treaty 3 with the Anishinaabe First Nations in 1873. While the seminars fostered rigorous and stimulating conversations, the larger introductory courses provided me with the necessary analytical tools to engage with various historical documents in order to understand the larger historical contexts, frameworks, and timelines. The advantages of the small classes are abundant, but to name two: they offer a comfortable environment to engage with your peers, and they create the wonderful – and necessary – opportunities to build relationships with professors, who will support you throughout your degree, and even afterwards, in whatever path you choose. Above all else, what made my experience so memorable is the history department’s many fantastic experiential learning opportunities such as research assistant positions and department internships, for students to explore their respective fields of interest. And of course, one mustn’t neglect the social life. Every semester there are pizza and trivia nights; and various BUHA (History Association) activities such as trips to Odanak, which is the Abenaki reserve, Boston to participate in the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program, and Ottawa to explore public history. Attending Bishop’s was an experience I will cherish forever, and studying history has prepared me to work collaboratively with the Cree at the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay.Meagan Parsons, February, 2021
Being a recipient of the Research Training Award of the Bishop’s Alumni Foundation has been one of my most transformative university experiences to date. The chance to work in conjunction with my professors, Jean Manore and David Webster, presented a uniquely challenging and rewarding opportunity. I was assigned the task of compiling an annotated bibliography to aid my professors in creating a new course to be taught at Bishop’s—The History of Water. Executing this type of extensive research project was foreign to me; my previous research experience was limited to the standard research essays undergraduate students write for final papers. As a result, my research skills were thoroughly challenged throughout the research process. Thankfully, with the guidance of Profs. Manore and Webster, I began to develop new techniques for acquiring and analysing secondary and primary source material. By furthering my understanding of the techniques used in larger research endeavors, I have been able to alter my approach to smaller research assignments like my final papers, leading me to be a better researcher and more compelling writer. My second, and perhaps more intimidating, task as a research assistant was to propose and complete a research project on a subject of my choice. The independence afforded to me for this research project allowed me to select a topic of high personal interest. I chose to explore the growth and development of my hometown of Halifax N.S. through the lens of water history. Acquiring sufficient primary source materials to draw my own conclusions about Halifax’s water history proved challenging. Thankfully, I was not completely on my own as my professors aided me in refining my research focus and in developing new skills in primary source analysis.Isaac McNeil, February 2021
I could not have made a better choice than the BU undergraduate program in History and Global Studies. It gave me the opportunity to study and work with experienced, supportive, faculty and the chance to meet new friends and classmates through the Bishop’s University History Association, one of the most active clubs on campus. The department’s rich range of courses and independent study offerings allowed me to develop good critical thinking skills and effective research strategies and enhanced my understanding of the past and its relevance to issues and problems of today. The program also fueled my interest in pursuing graduate studies.
One of the reasons for this was that I was able to participate in one of several research internships available to history students. Working with Dr. Gordon Barker on the freedom fights of African American women in antebellum America, I travelled to several archival repositories in Pennsylvania, thanks to the Young Travel Award and research funds available to History Faculty.
The Bishop’s University History Program positioned me for successful applications for graduate studies and generous scholarship funding. I am confident that I am now well prepared to take on new scholarly challenges in September 2020 when I begin a graduate program for a Master of Arts in History at another leading Canadian university.Jaclyn Kaller, April 2020