This week Professor Kristina Llewellyn will host over 150 leading international experts in educational history and history education for the 19th biennial Conference of the Canadian History of Education Association/Association canadienne d’histoire de l’éducation, taking place from October 27 to 30 at the Delta Waterloo.
CHEA/ACHÉ is Canada’s national, bilingual association, founded in 1980, to promote study of the educational past (www.ache-chea.ca). Its members, including academics, educators, local historians, museum curators, and university students, address such timely issues as reconciliation education and gender equity. Professor Llewellyn is President of CHEA/ACHÉ, and this is the first time the four-day conference is being hosted in Waterloo Region. On-site registration is available, and interested attendees can take advantage of a one-day registration fee of $100.
The theme of the conference is Teaching Nation? Histories of Education and the Politics of Commemoration. Delegates will explore the relationship of history and education to the idea of nation. CHEA/ACHÉ selected this theme because we are living in an age of commemoration. In 2012, Canada celebrated the bicentennials of the War of 1812 and the birth of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. Globally, many have honoured the 70th anniversary of WWII’s end and with it the creation of the United Nations. And, of course, in 2017, Canada will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
Delegates at the conference will address how these and other commemorative projects teach citizens about nation in specific ways. How education is implicated in the commemoration and counter-commemoration of our past is critical to the development of our nation’s historical consciousness. What we know about the past shapes what a society values and will act upon. As such, this conference is important to understanding the role of historians and educators in addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, our political commitments to international peace and/or war efforts, the significance of local monuments (e.g. statues debate at Wilfrid Laurier University), and much more.
The conference program, available in an e-book format thanks to Stephanie Lin and Tony Tin, shows the significant scholars and topics that will be featured during the event (http://www.ache-chea.ca/program/). Session themes include Decolonizing Histories of Education, Education and War Remembrance, as well as Teaching, National Identity, and Human Rights History. Attendees include undergraduate Social Development Studies students, who will participate in the conference as part of their course with Dr. Llewellyn entitled History of Education in Canada (SDS 205R/HIST 225).
The conference includes a Welcome Reception with greeting from Renison's Principal Wendy Fletcher and University of Waterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur, a special panel of speakers that will address the Politics of Commemoration, and a performance by the youth group Crossing Borders. The conference also includes a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the exhibit City on Edge at Waterloo Region Museum. Lastly, the conference has a history education day, designed for teacher practitioners, which features presentations by notable history education scholars and a series of sessions on community-based research.
This conference brings together scholars and practitioners committed to promoting a critical assessment of history and education that will strengthen a more just future for Canada as a nation.
Professor Kristina Llewellyn is an Associate Professor in the Social Development Studies program at Renison University College.