165 articles Messymorphosis Page 2 / 17

Transformations during the 2016/17 radical sabbatical.

Transforming Wistfulness

I recently wrote about the regret I feel over France. The eight months we spent there felt wasted to me, because of the cultural whiplash I inflicted upon our daughter; because of the resulting need to homeschool her for half our time in Lille; and because that homeshooling robbed me of the chance to write…

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Transfortressing Gratitude

The Fortress gig is the first job that has transformed me physically. It’s not exactly profound, but it’s a telling reveal of my privilege that, at 42, I’m developing work calluses for the first time. Mind you, the calluses are from carrying a replica 18th-century musket around all day, so that’s cool. Similarly, my tan…

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Transfortressing History, Part Deux

Who owns history? The aphorism goes, “History is written by winners,” but what if it’s not entirely clear who wins? What if countries win, lose, and draw their way through a cycle of wars and conquests and capitulations, until a tide of political reformation washes over all their sand castles and leaves… a reconstructed, 300-year-old…

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Transfortressing the Gate

Getting to the Fortress can be difficult. The modern-day town of Louisbourg is a pleasant 40-minute drive from Sydney, although if you’re coming from the airport or the Newfoundland ferry, you’d need to add another 20 minutes of driving time. But the National Historic site – that is, the site of the original French fortress,…

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Transfortressing Francais

My favourite question so far from a Louisbourg visitor – a retiree from West Virginia – had nothing whatsoever to do with the 18th century, or with French colonialism. It went (somewhat awkwardly) like this: “If a young Canadian who speaks English wanted to date a Canadian who speaks French… how would that work?” The…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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