Dr. Steven High
Professor of, History
Founding Member, Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling
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 (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 Canadian Historical Association 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), and has a forthcoming article on Donald Trump and our populist moment in the journal 20ieme Siècle.
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 a forthcoming Routledge Handbook on Place and Memory with several others. He is co-editing a special issue of Histoire sociale/Social History on "Activist Lives" with Lana Dee Povitz.
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. He has a 2017 article on US military base closures in Newfoundland and Labrador Studies.
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, Australian studies, and architecture. His students have won various thesis awards, including the Governor General's Medal, the Canadian Oral History Prize, Canada's labour history prize, the US Oral History Association book prize and so on. A number of former doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows teach at universities and colleges across Canada and internationally, including the University of Glasgow, UQAM, UQAO, Saint Paul, Vanier, Dawson, Cape Breton, Sherbrooke, Concordia, Toronto, York, and the American University of Armenia.
Selected Newspaper Op-Eds and Articles
Steven High, “Classe ouvrière et origines de la Révolution tranquille,”Le Devoir (8 July 2019). https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/idees/558223/classe-ouvriere-et-origines-de-la-revolution-tranquilleReproducedas “Voici comment parlaient les ouvriers canadiens-français avant la Révolutiontranquille” La Conversation (12 July 2019). https://theconversation.com/voici-comment-parlaient-les-ouvriers-canadiens-francais-avant-la-revolution-tranquille-119863
Steven High, “From Balconville to Condoville in Montreal's southwest,” Montreal Gazette (27 March2019)https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-from-balconville-to-condoville-in-montreals-southwest
Steven High, “Histoire du premier quartier multiracial de Montréal.” Le Devoir (1February 2019). https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/idees/546887/histoire-du-premier-quartier-multiracial-de-montreal
Steven High, “Remembering the Little Burgundy expropriations,” MontrealGazette (1 February 2019).https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-remembering-the-little-burgundy-expropriations
Steven High, "Everything is Made Somewhere: General Motors and the Shifting Politics of Plant Closings." Our Times Magazine (December 2018).http://ourtimes.ca/Featured_Story/article_596.php
Steven High, “GM Closures: Oshawa needs more than ‘thoughts and prayers.” The Conversation (27 November 2018).
Steven High, “Donald Trump et la Rust Belt: Quand les libéraux cherchent des réponses qui les confortent," Montreal La Presse (2 juin 2018). http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/21479344-ba2d-484c-8d26-4aacaa480f3a__7C___0.html?utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Internal Share&utm_content=Screen
Steven High, “One Job Town,” North Bay Nugget (1 June 2018), pages1-2. http://www.nugget.ca/2018/06/01/work-belonging-and-betrayal-in-northern-ontario
Steven High and Fred Burrill,“Industrial Heritage as Agent of Gentrification?” National Council for Public History. History @ Work. 19 February2018. http://ncph.org/history-at-work/industrial-heritage-as-agent-of-gentrification/
Steven High, “Un siècle de syndicalismenoir à Montréal” Le Devoir (21novembre 2017). https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/libre-opinion/513496/un-siecle-de-syndicalisme-noir-a-montreal
Steven High, “Trump et l’embourgeoisement des progressistes,” Le Devoir (16 mars 2017). https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/idees/494053/trump-le-brexit-et-l-embourgeoisement-des-voix-politiques-progressistes
Steven High, “Story of sleeping car porters demonstrates Quebec's racist past,” Montreal Gazette (20 November 2017). https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-story-of-sleeping-car-porters-demonstrates-quebecs-racist-past
Steven High, “Donald Trump, Brexit, and the Gentrification of Progressive Politics,” Active History 27 March 2017. http://activehistory.ca/2017/03/donald-trump-brexit-and-the-gentrification-of-progressive-politics/
Steven High, Fred Burrill, and Jean-Philippe Warren, “Les voix de Montréal: Pointe-Saint-Charles, entre la «track» et le canal,” Montreal Metro(1 avril 2017). http://journalmetro.com/local/sud-ouest/actualites/1120465/pointe-saint-charles-entre-la-track-et-le-canal/
Steven High, 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