Skip to main content

Ronald Rudin

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, History



Education

B.A. University of Pittsburgh, M.A., Ph.D. York University (Toronto)

Ronald Rudin, author of eight books and numerous articles and producer of eight 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, Against the Tides: Reshaping Landscape and Community in Canada's Maritime Marshlands (UBC Press, 2021). The book 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. This book is accompanied by the film Unnatural Landscapes that Rudin produced and Bernar Hébert directed.

This focus on the cultural and environmental history of Atlantic Canada also underpins Professor Rudin's current research project whose jumping off point is the 1959 Escuminac Disaster that saw the decimation of the drift-net fishing fleet that was struck by a freak hurricane while harvesting Atlantic salmon in the Gulf of St-Lawrence, just beyond Miramichi Bay, on the east coast of New Brunswick. The project explores how the community survived following the loss of 35 men, looking both at the role of private philanthropy and the increasingly interventionist provincial government. Secondly, the project considers drift-net fishing from an environmental perspective, exploring the conflict between recreational fishers upstream on the Miramichi and the drift-net fishers in the Bay. Ultimately, the lobbying of the anglers -- together with mounting evidence that industrial fishing was decimating salmon stocks -- led to a temporary ban on commercial salmon fishing in 1972, that became permanent in the 1980s Finally, the project examines the place of English-speakers and Acadians in the communities that were involved in the salmon fisheries, but which lived apart from one another.

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 has also served as director of 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 project's five films -- that Rudin produced --  are available in English, French and (in one case) ASL at http://loststories.ca.

Rudin was the Academic Convenor for the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held at Concordia in 2010. A fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, he has held a fellowship to support his research from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.


Selected publications

Books

Against the Tides: Reshaping Landscape and Community in Canada's Maritime Marshlands (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2021)

Kouchibouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016).

Remembering and forgetting in Acadie:  A historian's Journey through Public Memory.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009.[Translated as L'Acadie entre le souvenir et l'oubli: Un historien sur les chemins de la mémoire collective. Montreal: Boréal, 2014.]

Founding Fathers: Champlain and Laval in the Streets of Quebec, 1878-1908. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003. [Translated as: Histoire dans les rues de Québec.  Québec: Presses de l'Université Laval, 2005]

Making History in Twentieth Century Quebec. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997. [Translated as: Faire de l'histoire au Québec. Sillery QC: Septentrion, 1998]

In Whose Interest?: Quebec's Caisses Populaires,1900-1945. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1990.

Banking en français:The French Banks of Quebec,1835-1925. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985. [Translated as: Banking en français: Histoire des banques canadiennes-françaises. Montréal: Boréal, 1988]

The Forgotten Quebecers: A History of English-Speaking Quebec, 1759-1980. Quebec: Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture, 1985. [Translated as: Histoire du Québec anglophone. Quebec: Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture, 1986].

Selected Journal Articles

"The First Acadian Film: Visibility, Modernity, and Landscape in Les aboiteaux, Canadian Historical Review, 96 (2015), 507-33.

"The First French-Canadian National Parks: Kouchibouguac and Forillon in History and Memory," Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 22, no 1 (2011), 160-200.

"Making Kouchibouguac: Acadians, the Creation of a National Park, and the Politics of Documentary Film during the 1970s," Acadiensis, Vol XXXIX, no. 2, Summer/Fall 2010, 3-22.

"The Champlain-De Monts Tercentenary: Voices from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine, June 1904," Acadiensis, 33 (Spring 2004), 3-26.

"Retour sur les vingt premières années de l'Institut: Regards sur l'IHAF et la RHAF à l'époque de Groulx," Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, 51 (1997), 24 pages.

"Revisionism and the Search for a Normal Society: A Critique of Recent Historical Writing in Quebec," Canadian Historical Review, 53 (1992), 31 pages.

Selected Book Chapters

"Qui est Clio, et qu'est-ce l'Acadie?" in Patrick D. Clarke, ed., Clio en Acadie (Ste-Foy: Presses de l'Université Laval, 2014), pp 243-55.

"Dugua vs Champlain: The Construction of Heroes in Atlantic Canada," in Nicole Neatby and Peter Hodgins, eds., Settling and Unsettling Memories: Essays in Canadian Public History (University of Toronto Press, 2012), pp 94-131

Kouchibouguac: Representations of a Park in Acadian Popular Culture," in Claire Campbell, ed., A Century of Parks Canada (University of Calgary Press, 2011), pp 205-33.

"Unravelling Dichotomies: Ethnic and Civic understanding of the Nation in Quebec Nationalist Discourse," in Bruno Coppieters and Richard Sakwa, Contextualizing Secession - Normative Studies in Comparative Perspective (Oxford: OUP, 2004).

"Réflexions québécoises alimentées par l'expérience irlandaise," in Stéphane Kelly, ed, Les idées mènent le Québec: Essais sur une sensibilité historique (Ste-Foy: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 2003).

"From the Nation to the Citizen: Quebec Historical Writing and the Shaping of Identity," in Robert Adamoski, Dorothy E. Chunn and Robert Menzies, eds.,  Contesting Canadian Citizenship: Historical Readings (Peterborough ON: Broadview Press, 2002), pp. 95-111.

"Bargaining from Strength: Historical Writing and Political Autonomy in Late-Twentieth-Century Quebec," in Bruno Coppieters and Michel Huysseune,  Secession, History and the Social Sciences (Brussels: VUB Brussels University Press, 2002), pp.159-177.

"The Discovery of the Body of Mgr François de Laval and the Construction of Identity in Quebec," in Jean-Pierre Wallot, ed, Constructions identitaires et pratiques sociales (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2002), pp. 229-242.

"Contested Terrain: Commemorative Celebrations and National Identity in Ireland and Quebec," in Yvan Lamonde  and Gérard Bouchard, eds., La nation dans tous ses états : le Québec en comparaison. Montréal: Harmattan, 1997.


Multimedia Production

Websites

Lost Stories/ Histoires retrouvées: http://loststories.ca. The Lost Stories Project collects stories from the Canadian public, transforms them into public art, and documents the process by way of short documentary films. The site features the project's five episodes, with versions of the films in English, French, and (in one case) ASL. Launched July 2015.

Returning the Voices to Kouchibouguac NationalPark/ Le retour des voix au parc national Kouchibouguac: http://returningthevoices.ca; http://leretourdesvoix.ca. 26 videoportraits of residents removed from their lands to create KouchibouguacNational Park, launched April 2013.

Remembering Acadie: http://rememberingacadie.concordia.ca. Multimedia website to accompany, Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie. Launched April 2009.


Documentary Films

Unnatural Landscapes. Digital Video, 22 minutes. Directed by Bernar Hébert: unnaturallandscapes.ca (site currently under construction).

Sheldrake: Digital Video, 25 minutes, 2018. Directed byJulien Cadieux: loststories.ca.

Yee Clun and the Exchange Café. Digital Video, 15 minutes, 2018. Directed by Kelly-Anne Riess: loststories.ca.

Kidnapped Stó:lō Boys. Digital Video, 19 minutes, 2018. Directed by Sandra Bonner-Pederson: loststories.ca.

Quamatiik: From the North to Ottawa's Southway Inn. Digital Video, 20 minutes, 2018. Directed by Mosha Folger: loststories.ca.

Thomas Widd's Lost Story/ L'histoire retrouvée de Thomas Widd. Digital Video, 22 minute, 2014. Directed by Bernar Hébert: loststories.ca.

Remembering a Memory/Mémoire d'un souvenir : Digital Video, 25 minutes, 2010. Directed by Robert McMahon: rememberingamemory.cohds.ca; and memoiredunsouvenir.cohds.ca

Life After Île Ste. Croix : Digital Video, 60:00 min, 2006. In collaboration with Leo Aristimuño (Professor of Video Production and Media Studies, Rutgers University, Newark).  Distributed by National Film Board of Canada: http://rememberingacadie.cohds.ca/video.html


Awards

National Council on Public History, 2018 Book Award, Honorable Mention for Kouchbouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park.

Canadian Historical Association, 2017 Clio Prize, Atlantic Canada, for Kouchbouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park.

Canadian Historical Association, 2017 Oral History Prize for Kouchbouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park.

Canadian Historical Association, 2017, Finalist for Macdonald Prize for Kouchbouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park.

Institut d'histoire de l'Amérique française, 2017 Prix de l'Assemblée nationale for Kouchbouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park.

Canadian Historical Association, 2014 Public History Prize (with Philip Lichti and Archinodes) for the website Returning the Voices to Kouchibouguac National Park/ Le retour des voix au parc national Kouchibouguac.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Fellowship, 2011-14.

Canadian Historical Association, 2011 Public History Prize for Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie: A Historian's Journey through Public Memory.

National Council on Public History, 2010 Book Award for Remembering and Forgetting in Acadie: A Historian's Journey through Public Memory.

Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, since 2009.

Back to top

© Concordia University