Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Matthew Wiseman discusses the world of Canadian international history and exciting new developments for those scholars and members of the public looking to access declassified government records.
At the 2008 annual meeting of the Canadian Historical Association (CHA), held at University of British Columbia, a number of historians engaged in research in the field of Canadian International History met to discuss the possibility of creating a research network or affiliated committee of the CHA that would be devoted to the study of Canadian foreign relations, broadly defined. Robin Gendron, David Webster, and Kevin Spooner facilitated the early development of the group, including the establishment of an online platform for members to interact with one another. With financial support from Wilfrid Laurier University, the facilitators established the Canadian International History Committee (CIH/HIC). The network grew to about 40 members and continues to expand, providing a discussion platform open to scholars, policymakers, authors, historians and others interested in the history of Canadian foreign relations, both governmental and non-governmental. Today CIH/HIC is a vital forum for discussion and networking related to the international dimensions of Canadian history and politics. The Committee advertises publication notices for new books in the field, releases conference announcements and programs, facilitates scholarly meetings, and publishes an official blog, Canadian Eyes Only. In September 2017 the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History (BGCCIH) at the University of Toronto assumed financial responsibility for CIH/HIC, graciously offering to fund the Committee’s website and activities for the immediate term. Among the ongoing projects supported by the Bill Graham Centre is an exciting new research initiative called Canada Declassified. Conceived under the direction of Dr. Timothy Andrews Sayle, Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Toronto, Canada Declassified is a digital repository of government records declassified under the Canadian Access to Information Act. The holdings span the Cold War period from 1945 through 1991, the vast majority being government records declassified by the Access to Information and Privacy Division of Library and Archives Canada. All records on the Canada Declassified website are open access and fully available to students and scholars around the world. In addition to a growing library of declassified government records, Canada Declassified publishes interactive historical research exhibits and new materials about Canadian security, defence, and foreign policy in the post-1945 period. Canada Declassified is continuing to collect unpublished records from scholars, authors and journalists, so that these may be uploaded to the website. The Bill Graham Centre hosts Canada Declassified and Dr. Matthew Wiseman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, manages the database and affiliated projects. The website has been developed with support from University of Toronto Libraries, the Jackman Humanities Institute, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Moving forward, the Canada Declassified database will continue to incorporate newly declassified records obtained by students, scholars, journalists, and others associated with the Canadian International History Committee and the Bill Graham Centre. We encourage the CDA Institute and its members to access the website, search our holdings, and consider contributing archival materials and/or historical research exhibits. Please email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Matthew S. Wiseman Project Manager, Canada Declassified SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History and BGCCIH University of Toronto *Images courtesy of Canada Declassified and Library and Archives Canada