Skip to main content


Dr. Steven High

Full Professor , History
Founding Member, Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling

Dr. Steven High
Steven High is at the lower right with his son, with contributors to Remembering Mass Violence
Carol Gray
Office: S-LB 1001-21 
J.W. McConnell Building,
1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2413
Website(s): Living Archives of the Rwandan Diaspora
Post-Industrial Montreal
Going Public
Availability: Please contact me via email rather than the telephone.

Research Profile

Steven High, Vice-President of the Canadian Historical Association, is an interdisciplinary oral and public historian with a strong interest in transnational approaches to working-class studies, forced migration, community-engaged research, as well as oral history methodology and ethics.

He has published extensively on deindustrialization and the postindustrial transformation of North American cities. His first book, Industrial Sunset: the Making of North America’s Rust Belt (UTP, 2003), won awards from the American Historical Association, the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association, and the Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences. This was followed by Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization (Cornell / BTL, 2007), co-authored with photographer David Lewis; The Deindustrialized World: Confronting Ruination in Post-Industrial Places (UBC, 2017), co-edited with Lachlan MacKinnon (Cape Breton University) and Andrew Perchard (University of Sterling); and, One Job Town: Work, Belonging and Betrayal in Northern Ontario (UTP, 2019), which won the Clio Prize for the best book in Ontario History from the CHA and the Fred Landon Prize from the Ontario Historical Society. In 2019, he co-edited a special issue on "(De-)Industrial Heritage" in the US journal Labor with Stefan Berger (University of Bochum). He is currently leading a seven-year SSHRC Partnership project on "Deindustrialization & the Politics of Our Time," which brings together researchers, trade unions, labour archives, industrial museums and other partners in six countries

His second area of expertise involves oral history, particularly as it relates to oral accounts of mass violence. Steven High led the prize-winning Montreal Life Stories from 2005 until 2012, where he worked in partnership with survivor groups in the recording of 500 life stories and their integration into online digital stories, radio programming, audio walks, art installations, a year-long museum exhibition, pedagogical materials, and a range of theatrical performances. He also co-edited (with Ted Little and Thi Ry Duong), Remembering Mass Violence (UTP, 2013), edited Beyond Testimony and Trauma (UBC, 2015), and authored Oral History at the Crossroads (UBC, 2014) which won the Clio prize for best book published on Quebec history. Histoires de vie de réfugiés montréalais: une rencontre, a French language edition of Crossroads was recently published by Les Presses de l’Université Laval. He has also co-authored Going Public: The Art of Participatory Practice with Liz Miller and Ted Little, and is co-editor of the 2019 Routledge Handbook on Place and Memory with Sarah de Nardi, Hilary Orange, and Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto.  He is co-editing a special issue of Histoire sociale/Social History on "Activist Lives" with Lana Dee Povitz and a special issue on "Loss and the City" in Urban History Review with Laura Madokoro and Laura Ishiguro

Finally, Steven High has published extensively on race and empire in Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the British Caribbean during the Second World War. This research has resulted in articles in a number of journals as well as a monograph, Base Colonies in the Western Hemisphere (Palgrave-MacMilan, 2009) and an edited collection, Occupied St. John's: A Social History of a City at War (McGill-Queen's, 2010), which received Honorable Mention for the C.P. Stacey Prize in Military History. 

Steven High supervises graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in History, Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Humanities as well as being a secondary advisor, committee member, or external reader for students in history, social work, art education, education, museum studies, literature, environmental studies, geography, communications, sociology, human sciences, and architecture. Students under his supervision have won various thesis awards, including the Governor General's Medal, the Canadian Oral History Prize, Canada's labour history prize, and the US Oral History Association book prize.

Selected Newspaper Op-Eds

High, Steven. “With every death, we lose a link to our history,” Montreal Gazette (6 May 2020). 

____ “Pointe-Saint-Charles et le YMCA" La Presse (26 décembre 2019). 

____“L’ALENA 2.0 et la stratégie de Trump pour le Nord,” La Presse (20 décembre 2019). 

_____“YMCA will find there's lots of fight left in Pointe-St-Charles,” Montreal Gazette (18 December 2019).

_____ “Une longue tradition de syndicalisme à Montréal,” Le Devoir (31 August 2019).

_____ “Classe ouvrière et origines de la Révolution tranquille,”Le Devoir (8 July 2019).

_____ “From Balconville to Condoville in Montreal's southwest,” Montreal Gazette (27 March 2019)

_____ “Histoire du premier quartier multiracial de Montréal.” Le Devoir (1 February 2019). 

_____ “Remembering the Little Burgundy expropriations,” Montreal Gazette (1 February 2019).

_____ "Everything is Made Somewhere: General Motors and the Shifting Politics of Plant Closings." Our Times Magazine (December 2018).

_____ “GM Closures: Oshawa needs more than ‘thoughts and prayers.” The Conversation (27 November 2018).

_____ “Donald Trump et la Rust Belt:  Quand les libéraux cherchent des réponses qui les confortent," Montreal La Presse (2 juin 2018). 

_____ “One Job Town,” North Bay Nugget (1 June 2018), pages1-2. 

_____ “Un siècle de syndicalisme noir à MontréalLe Devoir (21 novembre 2017). 

_____ “Trump et l’embourgeoisement des progressistes,” Le Devoir (16 mars 2017). 

_____ “Story of sleeping car porters demonstrates Quebec's racist past,” Montreal Gazette (20 November 2017). 

_____ Fred Burrill, and Jean-Philippe Warren, “Les voix de Montréal: Pointe-Saint-Charles, entre la «track» et le canal,” Montreal Metro(1 avril 2017).  

_____ Fred Burrill, and Jean-Philippe Warren, “Les voix de Montréal: la Petite-Bourgogne," Montreal Metro (4 octobre 2017).


B.A. University of Ottawa, M.A. Lakehead University (Thunder Bay), Ph.D. University of Ottawa

Students in the Working Class Public History course were embedded in the deindustrialized district of Point Saint-Charles for a term.
Photo credit: David Ward

Teaching activities

Graduate (Co-)Supervision

Post-Doctoral Fellows:

Mathieu Aubin, January 2020-Present, Horizon, Co-Supervised with Jason Camlot (Literature), “Oral Literary History in the Spoken Web Project.”

Samuel Mercier, September 2019-Present, FRQSC, Co-Supervised with Jason Camlot (Literature), “Une histoire audiotextuelle des événements depoésie à Montréal (1960-1990).”

Marie Lavorel, March 2018-July 2019, Horizon, Co-Supervised with Sebastien Caquard (Geography)  "Oral History and the Rwandan Genocide."

Lana Dee Povitz, 2017-2018, SSHRC, “A Slow Burn: Activist Lives after Women’s Liberation and AIDS.”

Rodolphe Gonzales, May 2017-December 2017, Horizon, Co-Supervised with Sebastien Caquard, "Oral History and Web-Mapping."

Stéphane Martelly, 2015-2017, FRQSC Research-Creation, “Penser et créer depuis le lieu de ce silence. Élaborations de l’oeuvre absente et possible à partir des « histoires de vie » de Montréalais déplacés par la violence (Haïti-Québec).”

Lilia Topouzova, 2015-2017, SSHRC, “The Bulgarian Gulag: Survivors Remember.”

Amanda Ricci, 2016, FRQSC – Montreal History Group, “Oral History and the ‘Long’ Women’s Movement in Montreal."

Karoline Truchon, 2014-2016, SSHRC, “La mixité sociale pour qui, comment et avec quelles impacts? Témoignages audio-visuels croisés à Toronto et à Nouvelle-Orléans.”

Julie Perrone, 2014-15, SSHRC, “The Franklin Project,” Co-supervised with Peter Gossage.

Hourig Attarian, 2011-13, FQRSC, SSHRC, "'On Being Melez': Intergenerational Life Stories of Armenian Women".

Stacey Zembrzycki, 2010-12, SSHRC, “Professionalizing Survival: The Politics of Public Memory among Holocaust Survivor-Educators.”

Anna Sheftel, 2010-11, FQRSC, “Negotiating Family Narrative of Atrocity and Genocide.”    


PhD Students:

Tom MacMillan, In Progress, History PhD, “The Struggle Within: Transnational Labor Unions and the Left in the United States and Canada (1880-1955)"

Lisa Ndejuru, In Progress (ABD), PhD INDI, "Honoring Story: Speaking, Listening, Creating in the Aftermath of Violence."

Piyusha Chatterjee, In Progress (ABD) PhD INDI, “Stories from the streets of Montreal: An oral history project with buskers in the city." 

Brenda Fewster, In Progress (ABD), PhD INDI, "After Combat: Life Stories of Combat Veterans Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life."

Fred Burrill, In Progress (ABD), PhD History, “Heritages of Struggle and Dispossession in Saint-Henri, 1970-2016."

Kathryn Boschmann, In Progress (ABD), PhD History, "Faith and Space: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Post-1945 Winnipeg."

Derek Garcia, In Progress, PhD History, "Chicano Educational Activists at the Colegio Jacinto Treviño in the Rio Grande Valley."

Eliot Perrin, In Progress (ABD), PhD History, "Flour Mill se fane?:Deindustrialization and Urban Renewal in Sudbury’s Francophone Quarter."

Laurence Hamel-Roy, In Progress, PhD Humanities, "Luttes à l’assurance chômage au Québec 1971-."

Angela Arsenault, In Progress (ABD), Humanities PhD, "Keeper of Industrial Memory." [Main Supervisor: Cynthia Hammond]

Zeina Ismael Allouche, In Progress, INDI PhD (ABD), "Forced separation from the biological family as perceived by transracial/transnational adoptees and accounting for the forced separation of Indigenous children in Canada." [Main Supervisor: Elizabeth Fast]

Carmen Ruschiensky, In Progress, PhD Humanities (ABD), "Translating Cultural Memory: Migration and Mediations of Contemporary Québécois Literature." [Main Supervisor: Sherry Simon]

Linda FitzGibbon, 2019, PhD INDI,“The memory work of an Irish Seniors Group in Ottawa.” (Main Supervisor: Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin)

Laurence Parent, 2019, Humanities PhD, “Rouler/Wheeling Montréal: Moving through, Resisting and Belonging in an Ableist City."

Nadia Hausfather, 2017,Humanities PhD, “Ghosts in our corridors: Emotional Experiences of Participants in Quebec's General Unlimited Student Strike Campaigns (2005-12)."  (Main Supervisor: JP Warren).

Lachlan MacKinnon, 2016, PhD History, “Deindustrialization on the Periphery: An Oral History of Sydney Steel, 1945-2001."

Rosemary O’Flaherty, 2016, PhD History, “Damming the Remains: Traces of the Lost Seaway Communities.”

Ioana Radu, 2015, Humanities PhD, “Uschiniichuu Futures: Healing, Empowerment and Agency among the Chisasibi Cree Youth.

Heather McNabb, 2015, PhD History, “Visions of North: Exploring the Stories Photographs Can Tell and their Role in Museum Practice, 1947-1987.” 

Alan Wong, 2013, Individualized Study PhD, “Between Rage and Love”: Disidentifications Among Racialized, Ethnicized, and Colonized Allosexual Activists in Montreal. »

Shauna Janssen, 2013, Humanities PhD, “Spaces of Indeterminancy: Artistic Engagement with former Industrial Sites.” 


Luba Serge, 2013, Individualized PhD, “Benny Farm: A Study of Collective Action, Local Democracy and Power.

Catherine Foisy, 2012, Humanities PhD, “Des Québécois aux frontière : dialogues et affrontements culturels aux dimensions du monde. Récits missionnaires d’Asie, d’Afrique et d’Amérique latine (1945-1980) 

Lindsay Pattison, 2011, PhD History, The Dynamics of the Disc’: Ultimate (Frisbee),Community and Memory,1968-2011

Erin Jessee, 2011, Humanities PhD,“Inscribed Intent: Genocidal Symbolic Violence and Social Death in the Aftermath  of the Rwandan and Bosnian Genocides. 


Master’s Students:

Veronica Mockler, In Progress, INDI MA, “CreatingPerformance for Citizen Self-Representation."

Graham Latham, In Progress, History MA, “GainingGround: Land as Commodity in the Colonial Encounter"

Genevieve Riou, In Progress, History MA,“Haitian Cultural Memories of Conflict and Displacement in Canada."

Bryan Gordon, 2019, History MA, "Hoarders: An Oral History."

Lauren Laframboise, In Progress, History MA, "The Suburbanized Spatial Restructuring of Montreal’s Garment Factories, 1959 to 1989."

Kelann Currie-Williams, In Progress, INDI MA, "Image Worlds of Black Montreal." [secondary advisor]

Tanya Steinberg, 2019, History MA, “Place,Community and Memory in Postindustrial Pointe-Saint-Charles"

Sara Kendall, 2017,Individualized MA, “On the Revitalized City, At-Risk Youth, and Other Ways of Telling.”

Tyson Rosberg, 2016, History MA, “A Sheltered World: Remembering the Great Depression in Rural Quebec and the Prairies."

Eliot Perrin, 2016, History MA, “The Emergence of the Heritage Preservation Movement in Montreal.”

Pharo Sok, 2015, History MA, “Making Memories in Montreal: Cambodian Canadians and the Strategic Construction of Past and Present Selves, 1974-2015.”

Liam Michaud O’Grady, 2015, SIP MA (Co-Supervision), “La repression, ça finit par donner des résultats’: The Displacement and Erasure of Street Culture in Downtown Montréal, 1995-2010.”


Kyle Marsh, 2015, History MA, “The Consequence of Babel: 9/11 as Focal Point of Dispute in American Socio-Political Discourse.” 

Ashley Clarkson, 2015, History MA, “Oral History at Pier 21: Canada’s National Museum of Immigration.”

Aude Maltais-Landry, 2014, History MA, « Le concept de reserve indienne: étude de casde la communauté de Nutashkuan, »

Al Yoshizawa, 2014, History MA, “The Hunt for Matsutake.”

Simon Vickers, 2014, History MA, “From Balconville to Condoville – what about Co-opville? The Cooperative Housing Movement in Point St. Charles.”

Samah Affan, 2013, History MA, “Keywords in Conversation: Lessons from the Social Production of Space for Oral Histories of African Diasporas.”

Kim Moore, 2013, History MA, “Subjective Listening: Methodological and Interpretative Challenges and Opportunities in Constructing an Online Oral History Database.” 

Emily MacLeod, 2013, History MA. “Revisiting Old Town: Examining the Post-Occupational History of the Fortress of Louisbourg.”

Caroline Raimbault, 2012, Co-Director. "Une muséologie de l’immatériel: Réflexions sur la mise en valeur du témoignageoral à travers l’exemple de l’exposition Quartiers disparus au Centred’histoire de Montréal.” Université de Nantes.

Caitlin Alton, 2011, History MA, “Cultural Diversity in Mile End: Everyday Interactions between Hasidim and Non-Hasidim.”

Marie Pelletier, 2011, History MA “”Finding Meaning in Oral History Sources through Storytelling and Religion:  Case Study of Three Cambodian Refugees.”

Jessica Mills, 2010, History MA. “What’s the Point? The Meaning of Place, Memory, and Community in Point Saint Charles, Quebec.”

Maija Lise Fenger, 2009, History MA. “Banff Indian Days and the Stoney First Nation: An Exploration of the Frontier Myth.”

Jessica Silva, 2009, History MA, “Interpreting Genocide: The Graphic Novel of Rwandan-Montrealer Rupert Bazambanza.” 2009.

Christopher Clarke, 2008, History MA. “The Rucksack Revolution: The Beat Generation’s Views of Nature.”

Anna Wilkinson, 2008, History MA, “Oral History and Museums: A Case Study.”

William Hamilton, 2008, History MA, “The Miner’s Memorial of Kirkland Lake, Ontario.”


Undergraduate Teaching

I teach a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. At the 200-level, I teach Post-Confederation Canada. At the 300-level, I teach several courses in the public history stream including Telling Stories and the Urban History Laboratory. At the 400/graduate level, I teach Oral History, Working Class Public History, and Confronting Ruination in Postindustrial Places.  I am on 6 months sabbatical from July to December 2020.

Back to top Back to top

© Concordia University