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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
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2413
Website(s): Living Archives of the Rwandan Diaspora
Going Public
Deindustrialization and the Politics of Our Time
Availability: Please contact me via email rather than the telephone.

Research Profile

Steven High 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 (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 (2007), co-authored with photographer David Lewis; The Deindustrialized World: Confronting Ruination in Post-Industrial Places (2017), co-edited with Lachlan MacKinnon (Cape Breton University) and Andrew Perchard; and, One Job Town: Work, Belonging and Betrayal in Northern Ontario (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. His most recent monograph, Deindustrializing Montreal: Entangled Histories of Race, Residence and Class was published in 2022. He publishes regularly on these issues in Montreal-area newspapers. He is currently co-editing several special issues and edited volumes. He is currently leading a seven-year SSHRC Partnership project on "Deindustrialization & the Politics of Our Time" (DePOT -

His second area of expertise involves oral history, particularly as it relates to 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 (2013), edited Beyond Testimony and Trauma (UBC, 2015), and authored Oral History at the Crossroads (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 then published. 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 regularly contributes to oral history-related publications. He was awarded a Governor General's History Award for Popular Media.

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 (2009) and an edited collection, Occupied St. John's: A Social History of a City at War (2010), which received Honorable Mention for the C.P. Stacey Prize in Military History. In August 2018, Base Colonies was used to justify a special parliamentary committee to investigate establishing a minimum living wage for Bermuda. It has also been used extensively by families seeking recognition of Historic Losses of Land in Bermuda.


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

Graduate and Postdoctoral Supervision

Supervised Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

Post-Doctoral Fellows:

Désirée Rochat, January 2023-present, FRQSC, “Community Archiving as Ethnography: Historicizing the Grassroots Heritage Activism of Black Canadians"

Indranil Chakraborty, September 2021-August 2023, Horizon, “Bankruptcy, Sears, and the experience of displaced department store workers.”

Mathieu Aubin, January 2020-2021, Horizon, Co-Supervision with Jason Camlot, “Oral Literary History in the Spoken Web Project.”

Samuel Mercier, September 2019-2021, FRQSC, Co-Supervision with Jason Camlot, “Une histoire audiotextuelle des événements de poésie à Montréal (1960-1990).”

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

Marie Lavorel (2018-2019). Horizon Postdoctoral Fellowship, “Oral History and Web Mapping.” [co-supervised with Sébastien Caquard, Geography]

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.” Winner of the Oral History Association Book Award. 

Anna Sheftel, 2010-11, FQRSC, “Negotiating Family Narrative of Atrocity and Genocide.” Winner of the Oral History Association Book Award.


PhD Students: