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RUDIN, Ronald (Core Member - History)

 

Professor, Department of History, Concordia University

Ronald Rudin, author of seven books and numerous articles and producer of three documentary films, carries out research that touches upon Canadian cultural and environmental history, with a particular focus on Atlantic Canada and its Acadian population.

Professor Rudin's interests in cultural and environmental history are front and centre in his most recent book, Kouchibouguac: Removal, Resistance and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park (University of Toronto Press, 2016). The book explores both the history and memory of the establishment of Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick, whose creation in 1969 led to the expropriation of over 200 (mostly Acadian) families. This project has also resulted in the creation of the website, Returning the Voices to Kouchibouguac National Park/Le retour des voix au parc national Kouchibouguac, which allows visitors to hear stories of former residents by way of 26 video portraits that are embedded in a map of the territory at the time of the expropriation. The website won the 2014 Public History Prize from the Canadian Historical Association.

This focus upon the cultural and environmental history of Atlantic Canada is also central to Professor Rudin's current SSHRC-supported project, Maritime Marshlands, which explores the legacy of the federal government's large-scale project after World War II to reconstruct the dykes and aboiteaux that had long protected lands in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick from the tides of the Bay of Fundy. This federal program (the Maritime Marshland Rehabilitation Administration) led to environmental and cultural changes that are still evident in the early twenty-first century.

More broadly, Professor Rudin has long had an interest in how the public comes to understand the past, which has drawn him to study the power of commemorative events. His book, Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie: A Historian's Journey through Public Memory (University of Toronto Press, 2009) and the associated website (rememberingacadie.concordia.ca) continue this interest in the connections between history and the larger public.  Winner of both the 2010 book award of the National Council of Public History and the inaugural Public History prize of the Canadian Historical Association (2011), the book focuses on a series of Acadian commemorative events that took place in 2004-05, a subject that he has also presented in the documentary film Life After Île Ste-Croix, made in conjunction with Leo Aristimuño and distributed by the National Film Board of Canada. He is also the producer of Remembering a Memory/Mémoire d'un souvenir (2010), a documentary film that deals with the Celtic Cross on Grosse-Île, exploring how memories of the past — stretching back to the Irish potato famine of the 1840s — have shifted over the past century. This project was carried out in collaboration with Robert McMahon of the Royal Ontario Museum.

Professor Rudin is also currently leading the Lost Stories Project, which takes little known stories about the Canadian past, transforms them into public art, and then documents the process by way of documentary film. The series pilot, Thomas Widd's Lost Story, is available in English, French and ASL at http://loststories.ca.

Rudin was the Academic Convenor for the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held at Concordia in 2010. Currently, he is the co-director of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, he has held a fellowship to support his research from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

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Concordia University