Dr. Robert Rutherdale

Associate Professor

Robert Rutherdale

Educational Background
PhD, York University
MA, McMaster University

BEd, University of New Brunswick
BComm, McMaster University

Teaching Philosophy

In the first stages of my career as an historian I focused on city life and popular culture during Canada’s First World War. How did the home front war experience—from recruitment and propaganda to the treatment of enemy aliens and veteran re-establishment—take shape in selected cities, in Québec, Ontario, and on the southern Prairies?  I worked to resituate our contemporary understanding of the home front towards the localized perceptions of those who lived through it in different urban spaces.  My studies of urban crowds and the outbreak of the war and the rituals of local send-offs appeared in theCanadian Historical Review and Histoire sociale/Social History. I then produced a monograph, published by the University of British Columbia Press in 2004, Hometown Horizons:  Local Responses to Canada’s Great War.  This book is the first comparative study of urban responses to the sudden formation and gradual dissolution of the Canada’s Great War home front.  From there, I moved on to consider masculinity in a topic area that no historian in Canada had explored in depth—fatherhood.  My interest in gender and wartime prompted me to look at the second postwar generation of men not as veterans but as fathers, male parents of Canada’s baby boom generation.  As a study of masculinity and parenthood, how did fatherhood take shape in postwar Canada?  How during a period of normalization efforts after fifteen years of economic collapse and total war, from 1929 to 1945, and in a society that remained profoundly patriarchal, did fathers attempt to balance their providing obligations with their parenting practices in the baby boom era of postwar, family-based consumerism?  Or did they?  As this work proceeded towards another book, Magda Fahrni and I co-edited Creating Postwar Canada:  Community, Diversity, and Dissent, 1945-1975, published by UBC press in 2008, and now used by students across the country.  In contributing my own research on fathers as providers, I joined our contributors to consider what drew Canadians together and what divided them during the enormously transformative generational period between the end of the Second World War and the end of the great postwar booms, from babies, to building an expanded welfare state, to the boost in automobile manufacturing after the 1965 Canada-U.S. Auto Pact was signed, just several of a wide range of intersecting histories we deal with.  Along with completing my book on fatherhood, I am at work a new co-edited collection with Peter Gossage that deals with Canadian histories of masculinity, from contact to the near-contemporary period.  As a set of historical essays, this work will be the first of its kind in Canada.

Before coming to Algoma University I had the opportunity as a graduate and post-doctoral student to teach in many parts of Canada, something that I have always felt helped me develop wider perspectives on Canadian regional differences and Canadian history.  Trent University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of the Fraser Valley, the University of Northern British Columbia, and the University of British Columbia are among the schools I taught in, with a focus on modern Canada.  My approach to the class and seminar room puts students first in terms of how they learn.  I encourage curiosity-based research projects and writing assignments that move students along a learning curve driven primarily by individual interests.  Using the research skills and writing competency developed as they progress, many of my senior students move on to complete an Honours Thesis, a capstone project of primary research, critical analysis, and scholarly contribution to a specific area of study.  At this stage my colleagues—all first-class researchers and teachers who I am proud to work with—join me to help individually supervise our students as they produce significant work, based on original sources, in their final year.

Hometown Horizons:  Local Responses to Canada’s Great War (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2004)
www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=2959 (for sample chapter, “Introduction”)

Edited Collection
Creating Postwar Canada:  Community, Diversity, and Dissent, 1945-1975, co-edited with Magda Fahrni.  (University of British Columbia Press, 2008)
http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=5148  (for front matter and “Introduction”)

Referenced Articles and Book Chapters
‘Fathers in Multiple Roles:  Assessing Modern Canadian Fatherhood as a Masculine Category’ in Canadian Men and Masculinities:  Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, eds., Christopher J. Greig and Wayne J. Martino (Toronto:  Canadian Scholar’s Press, 2012), 76-98
http://www.cspi.org/books/canadian-men-and-masculinities (for overview and table of contents)

‘Three Faces of Fatherhood as a Masculine Category:  Tyrants, Teachers, and Workaholics as “Responsible Family Men” During Canada’s Baby Boom’ in What is Masculinity? Historical Dynamics from Antiquity to the Contemporary World, eds., John H. Arnold and Sean Brady (Basingstoke, United Kingdom:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 323-48
http://www.palgraveconnect.com/pc/doifinder/10.1057/9780230307254 (for preview and table of contents)

‘Just Nostalgic Family Men?  Off-the-Job Family Time, Providing, and Oral Histories of Fatherhood in Postwar Canada, 1945-1975,’ Oral History Forum d’histoire orale, Special Issue:  Remembering Family, Analyzing Home:  Oral History and the Family, Vol. 29 (2009):  1-25.  http://www.oralhistoryforum.ca/index.php/ohf/article/view/248/323

Reprinted in Visions History Modules Custom History Reader: Visions Module 46 Brave New Families, eds., Daniel Samson, Marcel Martel, and Cynthia Comacchio (Toronto:  Nelson, forthcoming)

‘Introduction’ (with Magda Fahrni) in Creating Postwar Canada:  Community, Diversity, and Dissent, 1945-1975, eds. Magda Fahrni and Robert Rutherdale (University of British Columbia Press, 2008)
http://www.ubcpress.ca/search/title_book.asp?BookID=5148  (for front matter and “Introduction”)

‘New “Faces” for Fathers:  Memory, Life Writing, and Fathers as Providers in the Postwar Consumer Era,’ Creating Postwar Canada:  Community, Diversity, and Dissent, 1945-1975, eds. Magda Fahrni and Robert Rutherdale (University of British Columbia Press, 2008)

‘Send-offs During Canada’s Great War:  Interpreting Hometown Rituals in Dispatching Home Front Volunteers,’ Histoire sociale/Social History 36 (November 2003):  425-64

‘Fatherhood, Masculinity, and the Good Life During Canada’s Baby Boom, 1945-1965,’ Journal of Family History 24  (July, 1999):  351-373. http://jfh.sagepub.com/content/24/3/351.short?rss=1&ssource=mfr (abstract only)

Reprinted in Readings in Canadian History:  Post-Confederation, 6e, eds., Douglas R. Francis and Donald B. Smith (Toronto:  Nelson Thompson, 2006), 481-97

‘Raising Volunteers and Early Send-Offs’ in Images of a Forgotten War National Film Board of Canada/l’Office national du film du Canada, launched online March 2005. http://www3.nfb.ca/enclasse/ww1/en/texte.php?id=531632

‘Fatherhood and Masculine Domesticity During the Baby Boom: Consumption and Leisure in Advertising and Life Stories’ inFamily Matters:  Papers in Post-Confederation Canadian Family History, eds., Lori Chambers and Ed Montigny (Toronto:  Canadian Scholars Press, 1998):  309-33

‘Canada’s August Festival:  Communitas, Liminality and Social Memory,’ Canadian Historical Review 77 (June 1996):  221-49 http://www.synergiescanada.org/journals/utp/120322/l3606825k114/fl07448g0454658k

‘Fatherhood and the Social Construction of Memory:  breadwinning and male parenting on a job frontier, 1945-1966’ inGender and History in Canada, eds., Joy Parr and Mark Rosenfeld (Toronto:  Copp-Clark, 1996):  357-75

‘Approaches to Community Formation and the Family in the Provincial North:  Prince George and British Columbia’s Central Interior,’ BC Studies 104 (Winter 1994):  103-26

Selected Conference Presentations

  • ‘A Comparative Approach to the New Social Media Constructions of the “Occupy Movement” in the Historical Context of Newspaper Reporting and the Editorializing of Campus-Based Unrest in English Speaking Canada in the 1960s,’ presented at The Halbert Centre for Canadian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 14th Jerusalem Conference in Canadian Studies, Canada and Israel in a Changing World: New Trends and Directions, 20-23 May 2013
  • ‘Eric Hobsbawm, Tony Judt, and a Retrospective Approach to “Better Times” during Canada’s Long 1960s.’ Presented at the Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, 28-30 May, 2012
  • ‘Assessing Three Mythical Memories of Parenthood in English Canada in the 1950s: “The Lost Man,” “Momism,” and “Family Togetherness.”’  Presented at the Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting, University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 30-31 May and 1 June, 2011
  • ‘Growing up to Become Fathers after World War Two: A Life-Stories and Generational Approach to Family Men’s Drive for Security as Providers from the Great Depression to the Baby Boom Era.’ Presented at the British Association for Canadian Studies, 36th Annual Conference, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 4-6 April 2011
  • ‘Transcultural Contexts, Indigenous Language, and Translating the Life Stories of Poogleedee (James Sewid) and לAẋuẃ (Agnes Alfred)  of the Pacific Northwest Coast Kwakwakәẃakw Peoples.’ Presented at Translation/transmissibility and Transcultural Communication in the Humanities Conference, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 10-11 May 2010
  • ‘Fathering Across the “Generation Gap?  Fathers, Daughters, and Sons in Canada’s Baby Boom’ and panelist and speaker for ‘Conflicting Paths, Contrasting Cultures:  Comparative Approaches to Intergenerational Relationships Between Children, Youth, and Parents.’  Both at Canadian Historical Association, 87th Annual Meeting, University of British Columbia, 2-4 June 2008
  • ‘Fatherhood as a Masculine Category:  New Constructions of Family Manhood, the “Generation Gap,” and Fathers and Children during Canada’s Baby Boom.’  Presented at ‘What is Masculinity? How useful is it as a Historical Category?’ Conference at Birkbeck College, University of London, 14-16 May 2008
  •  ‘A Shared Endeavour?  Memory, Meaning, and Using Oral Histories of Canada’s Post-war Boom Era Fathers.’  Presented at ‘Sharing Authority:  An International Conference on Oral History,’ Concordia University, Montreal, 7-10 February 2008
  • ‘The Otherness of Family Men: Consumerism, Breadwinning and Father as Provider in Modern Canada, 1945-1975.’ Presented at the ‘Masculinity and the Other’ conference at Balliol College, Oxford University, August 2007
  • ‘Masculine Domesticity and Fatherhood in Canada’s Postwar Suburbs.’ Presented as a Research Forum, ‘Postwar Suburbs: Domesticity, Social Conformity, and Diversity,’ organized by the Canadian Historical Association, 85th Annual Meeting, York University, Toronto, May, 2006
  • ‘Canadian Fathers in Canadian Communities:  Fatherhood during Canada’s Baby Boom.’ Presented at the Eleventh Biennial Maple Leaf and Eagle Conference on North American Studies, Renvall Institute for Area and Cultural Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland, May, 2006
  • ‘Biography, Cultural Boundaries, and a Family Man:  Assessing the Life-Writing Process.’ Presented at the  2005 Annual Conference of the American Society for Ethnohistory, Santa Fe, New Mexico, November, 2005
  • ‘Fatherhood and Automobiles in Postwar Canada:  Family Men, Family Cars, and Re-Making Masculine Domesticity, 1945-1965.’  Presented at the Car in History:  Business, Space, and Culture in North America Conference, Department of History and The Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto, May 2005
  • ‘Becoming a Dad in a Conformist Era:  Canadian fatherhood and male parenting in postwar Canada, 1945-1965.’ Presented at Patriarchy and Power:  An Interdisciplinary Conference, University of Southhampton, Highfield Southhampton, United Kingdom, April 2004
  • ‘Fatherhood, Life Stories, and Gendered Responses to Domesticity.’ Presented at The Sixties Style and Substance Conference, Université du Québec á Montréal and the McCord Museum, November 2003
  • ‘Family Masculinities and Manful Maturity:  Father’s Roads to Self-Sufficiency from Depression-Era Youth to Manhood in the Postwar Years.’ Presented at the Canadian Historical Association Annual Meeting, Dalhousie University, Halifax, May 2003