Graduate Funding Workshop

Candace, 23 September 2009, No comments
Categories: Academia, Funding

Yesterday Dr. Stephen Pender, English and Dr. Marcello Guarini, Philosophy from the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Windsor hosted a workshop on how to best fill out applications for the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) and awards from the Social Sciences / Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). I twittered notes as I took them but here are some highlights (twitter posts in reverse chronological order so if you’re reading there scroll down and read bottom to top):

Using Audacity to Transcribe Oral History

Candace, 19 September 2009, 1 comment
Categories: History, Tools, Toys

Not long ago, I finished all the interviews for the-project-that-will-be-my-Masters but was then faced with the daunting task of transcribing them all. Since starting this project I’ve learned about an entire movement within oral history to work from the audio but I’d already committed to sending the texts back out to the participants so they could add or revise. Next time I’ll conceive the project with this in mind. That said, I needed the transcripts in a hurry so I set to fine-tuning my method. This is a run through of my workflow in hopes that it will be helpful to someone else.

First off, I recorded the interviews using my ordinary mp3 player: Sansa e250 mp3 player as voice recordera Sansa e250 that I’ve had for 3 years or so. It holds 2 GB of data onboard plus it has a microSD card slot if I need it. The voice record option will record up to 4 hours. Since my longest interviews were around 2 1/2 hours I was fine as long as I had time in between to dump the audio to my computer. The battery lasted just fine and the audio quality was good enough with just the onboard mic. All I did was place the mp3 player on a flat surface somewhere in the middle of the people speaking.

Audacity might seem over the top for transcribing software but I chose it for a number of reasons: Read more

Scottish Dancing as Kinesthetic History

Candace, 09 September 2009, No comments
Categories: Dance, History

For as long as I can remember dancing has been a large part of my life. You might call me a dance junkie. I’ve taught ballet and taken whatever classes I could find: swing, ballroom, tap, modern… I’ve let that drift away while attending grad school. There just isn’t enough time in a day to do everything. However, that’s not today’s story.

Tonight I went to an Open House of the Royal Scottish Country Dancing Society in my hometown. We learned three dances using two basic steps – nothing too strenuous, but a fine introduction – the purpose of the evening.

During the break, I spoke with one of the regulars, born and raised in Scotland. Everyone there, she said, learned the dances in elementary school and at every wedding and social gathering there would be dancing. Everyone joined in. No inhibitions.

These are social dances. They’re for ordinary folk to do at the end of the day or on weekends or whenever. They don’t require years of training to perfect, no special costumes or makeup or footware… Certainly there are specialty items (kilts, ghillies, sashes) to make the dance more fun, but nothing that is essential or a barrier to joining.

What there is, here at least, is a friendly group of people, having fun, moving around a bit, and enjoying each other’s company with music.

Tonight, doing these dances I felt connected to dancers across time and place. Dances are set and I was given the impression that they haven’t changed all that much over the years. The music and patterns are the same here as they are 100km away or 1000 or 100,000. When the leader calls Jamie’s Jig people know what to do no matter where or when they learned the dance. There is history here.

It’s kinesthetic history if there is such a thing. How long have these movements been done this way? Who set them? Why? I’d sure like to ask.

Is there anyone studying this? Who is curious about how dances travel across place and time? Even though I’ve read plenty of ballet history I don’t recall ever feeling curious this way before. Maybe because I’m so wrapped up in history these days (what with the whole Masters thing) I’ve learned to consider things in their context more readily. It’s definitely opened up a new area for me to contemplate.

And I’m definitely anxious to go back next week.


Candace, 21 July 2009, No comments
Categories: Food

The family was recently gifted a barbecue when dear friends moved to British Columbia. Best thing about this bbq is that it has always been veg-only. I’m already hooked – I especially love not heating up the west-facing kitchen (someone’s bad idea or terrible joke). Tonight we’ll be having asparagus, zucchini, tofu, and baby potatoes, each marinated in some kind of olive oil-balsamic vinegar-basil-oregano combination. And tomorrow there’ll be leftovers.

CFP: The Past’s Digital Presence

Candace, 14 July 2009, No comments
Categories: Academia, CFPs, Conferences

The Call for Papers is live for this graduate student conference at Yale to be held in February 2010. I have a couple of ideas for projects that would be suitable just not sure how far along I’ll be by the time the CFP is due (Sept 10, 2009).  Here are the details from the email announcement that’s been going around:

How is digital technology changing methods of scholarly research with pre-digital sources in the humanities? If the “medium is the message,” then how does the message change when primary sources are translated into digital media? What kinds of new research opportunities do databases unlock and what do they make obsolete? What is the future of the rare book and manuscript library and its use? What biases are inherent in the widespread use of digitized material? How can we correct for them? Amidst numerous benefits in accessibility, cost, and convenience, what concerns have been overlooked?

We invite graduate students to submit paper proposals for an interdisciplinary symposium that will address how databases and other digital technologies are making an impact on our research in the humanities. The graduate student panels will be moderated by a Yale faculty member or library curator with a panel respondent.

The two-day conference will take place February 19th and 20th, 2010, at Yale University.

Keynote Speaker: Peter Stallybrass, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania Colloquium

Guest Speaker: Jacqueline Goldsby, Associate Professor, University of Chicago

Potential paper topics include:

  • The Future of the History of the Book
  • Public Humanities
  • Determining Irrelevance in the Archive
  • Defining the Key-Word
  • The Material Object in Archival Research
  • Local Knowledge, Global Access
  • Digital Afterlives • Foucault, Derrida, and the Archive
  • Database Access Across the Profession
  • Mapping and Map-Based Platforms
  • Interactive Research

Please email a one-page proposal along with a C.V. to

Deadline for submissions is September 10th, 2009. Accepted panelists will be notified by October 1st, 2009.

We ask that all graduate-student panelists pre-circulate their paper among their panels by January 20th, 2010. Please contact Molly Farrell and Heather Klemann at with any additional inquiries. For more information about conference events, please visit our forthcoming website: (October).

Local strawberries

Candace, 14 June 2009, No comments
Categories: Food

I’ve been filling up on beautiful, juicy, bright red strawberries. Local even. This is a great time of year in this part of the country.

Grilled Tofu

Candace, 02 June 2009, No comments
Categories: Food

On nights when it’s too hot to light the oven a great favourite here is grilled tofu. I have a small countertop grill that’s just right for a single brick, marinated in tamari, hot sauce, garlic powder, and water. Grill each side for 10 minutes, basting every few minutes with more of the marinade — mmm summertime veg-friendly protein.

A Midwife’s Case

Candace, 28 May 2009, No comments
Categories: Birth, History, Women

On Pickwick Avenue, in Leamington, Ontario there is a Heritage Centre on the second floor of the Mennonite Home.  When I was there last month I received a tour from Astrid Koop and one of the treasures she showed me  was the midwife case of Mrs. Sara Matthies (nee Retzlaff). According to the record, Sara studied midwifery and medicine in Gnadenfeld and Riga, Latvia. She practiced midwifery and provided medical services in Kalantarowka, Russkowaja around 1910-1924.  She came to Manitoba in 1924 with her husband Gerhard and three children.  She died in 1926.

Her bag contains curved scissors, forceps, a hypodermic, soap dish, a curved instrument, and various containers and vials.



Birth Stories

Candace, 25 May 2009, No comments
Categories: Birth, Book, History, Oral HIstory

I was thrilled to find In Her Own Voice: Childbirth Stories from Mennonite Women on the shelf at the university library last week. These narratives were collected in 1988 by Katherine Martens and Heidi Harms in Manitoba through a government initiative to collect oral history interviews. The women interviewed represent three separate waves of Mennonite immigrants: the first coming in the 1870s, the next in the 1920s, and the last in the 1940s.

Mennonite Midwives

Candace, 19 May 2009, No comments
Categories: Birth, History, Mennonite, Midwives

More from Marlene Epp. This time it’s “Midwife-Healers in Canadian Mennonite Immigrant Communities: ‘women who made things right.'” Histoire Sociale/Social History 40 (November 2007): 323-344.

This one has a tiny mention of Pelee Island on page 326.

dancing frog