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Recruiting Footprints 2: Scattered Thoughts

In my previous post, I talked about some maps that I made using Leaflet, a JavaScript library, to map the enlistment footprints of four battalions in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The goal of the maps was to compare the enlistment patterns of ethnically-defined battalions, such as the 223rd (Canadian Scandinavian) Battalion and the 233rd (Canadiens-Français du Nord-Ouest) Battalion, against the enlistment patterns of local battalions raised in … Continue reading Recruiting Footprints 2: Scattered Thoughts

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Recruiting Footprints 1: A Certain Cultural Gravitas

Scottish communities in Canada rallied to the imperial war effort by forming Scottish battalions in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. As explained in a previous post, these battalions relied heavily on the hallmarks of Scottish culture. Members of these battalions would march in their kilts, often accompanied by the skirl of their regimental pipe band, while recruiting posters often relied on images of soldiers in kilts. Historians … Continue reading Recruiting Footprints 1: A Certain Cultural Gravitas

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Letter Rip

At the beginning of the year, I resolved to experiment more with Gephi to explore the possibilities of network analysis in historical research. Prompted largely by the need to organize some classroom activities for my course on the First World War, I delved back into the Canadian Images and Letters Project (CLIP) to scale up my efforts. In my first attempt, I explored the letters of … Continue reading Letter Rip

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Hands Across the Sea: Irish and Scottish Battalions in the AIF and CEF

Originally posted on the Four Nations History Network Blog on 8 February 2016. In December 1915, Reverend J.S. MacPherson of Morphett Vale, South Australia, wrote to the State War Council proposing to raise battalions for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) “representing the National Societies, such as the Caledonian, Hibernian, Welsh and Cornish.”[1] A little over one year into the First World War, voluntary enlistments were tapering off … Continue reading Hands Across the Sea: Irish and Scottish Battalions in the AIF and CEF

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Hashtag Commemoration

It’s been fun to observe the centenary of the First World War through twitter and other social media. These forms of communication allow people to experience and share commemorative events in new ways. Attendees at ceremonies can broadcast their thoughts, perspectives, and reactions and people unable to attend the ceremonies in person can use social media to participate from the other side of the world. Tapping … Continue reading Hashtag Commemoration

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Mapping Patriotism (sort of)

I’m prepping some GIS workshops, so I needed some data that workshop participants could map as part of an exercise. I could just make up some random numbers but it would be much more effective to demonstrate the power of GIS if I used some actual data that could reveal how space and place should factor into historical analysis. The problem is that I haven’t … Continue reading Mapping Patriotism (sort of)

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Loggers, not Fighters

As part of Black History Month, Canada Post issued a new stamp to commemorate No 2. Construction Battalion. The battalion was formed as an all-Black labour unit of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in 1916 to address the persistent exclusion of African Canadian volunteers by Canadian recruiting officers. The No. 2 Construction Battalion is often celebrated as a stepping-stone toward racial equality in Canada because … Continue reading Loggers, not Fighters

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Getting into Gephi

I don’t think this counts as a New Year’s resolution, but I’ve been meaning to play around with Gephi for a while now. The biggest hurdle for me was finding sources that were conducive to network analysis. My research does not rely heavily on personal correspondence, so I turned to the Canadian Letters and Images Project, based at Vancouver Island University. The project has build a corpus of … Continue reading Getting into Gephi

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Trawling Trove

As some of my earlier posts suggest, I often supplement my archival research by drawing on repositories of digitized newspapers. The National Library of Australia’s Trove database is easily one of the largest, most innovative, and best-curated public repositories for digitized newspapers. I have finally gotten around to using the Trove API  to scrape a large corpus of newspaper articles. The API (Application Programming Interface) allows users to … Continue reading Trawling Trove