Transfortressing Justice

At Louisbourg, there’s a LOT to talk about – cod, geopolitical maneuvering, colonial exploitation of foreign resources, aboriginal-French relationships, cod, sieges, Catholicism, how to load and fire a musket, cod, class and feudalism, 18th century gender dynamics, the first and second sieges, and also cod. It’s all about the cod. In cod we trust. One…

Transforming Exploration

A few years ago, CBU’s Department of Languages and Letters consolidated their offices in a single wing of the Campus Centre building. They voted to decorate the hallways with large framed photos juxtaposed with inspiring literary quotations, although in true academic fashion, no one agrees on what constitutes “inspiring.” Thus bell hooks’s “No woman writer…

Transfortressing History

There are so many good things about my new job at the Fortress of Louisbourg, it’s hard to know where to start talking about it. That’s also a recurring problem within the job: we’re on site to “interpret” the historical significance of Louisbourg to visitors who, in many cases, know nothing about its role in…

Transfortressing Employment

I’m working full-time hours for the first time since 2004. That requires many adjustments, including a regrettable but inevitable decline in blog posts. The Sydney-to-Louisbourg commute is about 40 minutes, so between that and my 8-hour shifts, I barely have enough time on either side of the day to catch up with my family and/or…

Transfortressing Summer

This summer, admission to all Parks Canada sites is free. It’s one of many federal initiatives to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, an anniversary shortened (for flag and hashtag purposes) to “Canada 150.” Never mind that Confederation is only one of numerous treaties and agreements that gradually brought our country together; never mind that…

Political Shakespeare in the Time of Tyrants

For the second time since the election, Donald Trump has butted antlers with the professional theatre industry. I guess it’s not that surprising; after all, he seems hard-wired to antagonize everyone within his reach, and thanks to Twitter and the U.S. Presidency (in that order), his reach is vast. Still, it’s disorienting to have worked…

Transforming Domestic Ant-Agonism

Last week, we had visitors in the kitchen. First one six-footed looky-loo wandered in from under a baseboard. I slid a Pokemon card under it and carried it to the backyard. It rushed to tell its relatives, vomiting excitedly into their mouths: “It smells amazing in there! There must be a five-year-old, and her parents…

Rereading Blues

Warning: Even by my self-indulgent standards, this one is going to be pretty navel-gazing. Shortly after returning from France, I had the pleasure of unpacking my office, which had been a bedroom for the house-sitters. Before leaving last June, I’d dumped everything into boxes, as one does, and I thought that perhaps I’d be able…