As a graduate student in History you could conduct research at Lethbridge in a wide variety of areas. Gender, Women’s History, Histories of Childhood and Youth, and the History of the Family are notable strengths of the Department. The work of over half of us is situated in these domains of research expertise and much of it has been publically recognized with awards. We are particularly strong in these areas thanks also to our close affiliation with the Institute of Childhood and Youth Studies and the Department of Women and Gender Studies, and the different thematic approaches which result.
While Gender and Women’s History are popular research interests across Canada and internationally, our department is particularly strong in them. Carol Williams, our joint appointment with Women and Gender Studies, held at Trent University the only Canada Research Chair in Feminist and Gender Studies that has ever been established. The Histories of Childhood and Youth are somewhat less common elsewhere but are rapidly developing. Our Department is leading this development. For example, our Canada Research Chair, Kristine Alexander, is a specialist in the History of Childhood, while Janay Nugent and Heidi MacDonald have current research projects on young people.
Secondly, the department is strong in the research of violence in History, with a notable chronological breadth. This extends through research by Chris Epplett into violent spectacles in Ancient Rome through to resistance to war in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by Amy Shaw. This expertise dovetails with the previously mentioned research strength with, for example, David Hay deepening his analysis of the role of gender in military leadership in the Middle Ages.
A third research strength of the History Department is the deconstructing of nationalism and the nation-state. For example, Gideon Fujiwara researches the intellectual history of nationalism, especially in relation to regional and local identity, while Sheila McManus deconstructs the nation-state from its edges by analyzing and comparing borderlands. The work of most of the other members of the Department challenges assumptions about national identity in one sense or another.
The Department is also strong on research in the History of Medicine, with projects by Lynn Kennedy on childbirth in the American South, Cindy Ermus on plague control in the eighteenth century, Chris Burton on the medical profession in the twentieth, and Carol Williams on reproductive rights and behaviors.
Apart from research subjects listed already, Oral History stands out as a research method of particular strength, especially in comparison with elsewhere, as reinforced by the winning in 2015 of the Governor General’s History Award by the Coyote Flats Oral History Prize. The University’s Centre for Oral History and Tradition, closely associated with the History Department, was a partner in this project.
Because foreign languages are such an important part of historical training, some positions within the Department are aligned with languages taught at the University of Lethbridge, for example, in Japanese and French History.