Carly Ciufo

From the outside, academia appears to offer those who partake in it a life full of reading and writing. And, to some degree, it does. At the LR Wilson Institute for Canadian History and in the Department of History at McMaster University, students are pushed by their professors and colleagues to do some of the best, most challenging historical work out there.

But to be a graduate student also means seeking some reprieve from the seemingly endless administrative slog. Rather than spending an early morning writing while we clasp that first cup of coffee, we are often trying to dig ourselves out from under incessant streams of email correspondence, funding applications, and other paperwork by lunchtime.

All this is to say that much of our daily work can sometimes feel as if it has very little to do with our own immediate interests and projects. But when you grasp at the right chances outside of your own research, there can be opportunities to do something for the field that is bigger than your own dissertation.

When Ryan Heyden and I—along with a devoted group of our fellow peers—volunteered to organize this year’s graduate conference, that is exactly what we found. “Historiographical Innovations: A Conference on Emerging Historical Practices” focuses on the unique methodologies that emerging historians bring to the discipline in order to highlight some of the best graduate student work around the world. It will take place on November 9th and 10th, 2018.

By doing a conference on methodologies, we are able to be interdisciplinary, relevant, and collaborative across historical time, geographic space, and theoretical practice to talk about how we can all do history better. With the conference, we hope to promote inclusivity and storytelling through oral history projects. We are striving to platform marginalized narratives by using theories borrowed from other disciplines. We are also expecting to highlight digital work that nods to library sciences, mapping applications, and coding methodology to make previously unseen connections apparent. And our keynote speaker, Dr. Heather Igloliorte of Concordia University, will invigorate the emerging historians in attendance with important considerations of what history can do when methodology meets decolonization.

This is why “Historiographical Innovations” strives to be on the vanguard of history as a discipline. By putting emerging historians’ work on stage for a two-day conference, we can work beyond the computer screens, dissertation defences, and classrooms of our daily lives to do something more.

If you think that your work does history differently, we strongly urge that you consider applying to our conference by its March 31st, 2018 deadline. We will be publishing the best papers of the conference in a volume that will appear as part of the Wilson Series through McGill-Queen’s University Press. And, with the generous support of the LR Wilson Institute for Canadian History, we will be able to fund your travel and accommodations (!!!) to ensure that the best work in historical methodology from around the world will have a captive audience here on our campus in Hamilton, Ontario.


Carly Ciufo is a doctoral candidate at McMaster University’s Department of History. Her dissertation will be a comparative study of human rights museums and the cities that build them, under the supervision of Ruth Frager and Ian McKay. After defending her MA thesis on the Catholic foundations of Québécois separatism at Queen’s University, she held multiple research, exhibit, and librarian positions at the University of Manitoba, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

Cover Image: Laurentius de Voltolina, Liber ethicorum des Henricus de Alemannia, 1350s. University Classroom. Wikimedia Commons.



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