Concordia University

Dr. Steven High

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

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 W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2413
Website(s): Steven High
Post-Industrial Montreal
Going Public
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, oral history methodology and ethics, and Montreal.

He has published extensively on deindustrialization and on the post-industrial 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, and 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). He published recently a monograph, entitled One Job Town: Work, Belonging and Betrayal in Northern Ontario, an article with Lysiane Goulet-Gervais, Michelle Duchesneau, and Dany Guay-Belanger on employment mobility and gentrification in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and chapters in the Routledge Handbook in Public History, and with Piyusha Chatterjee in Telling Environmental Histories. He has a forthcoming special issue of the US journal Labor, with Stefan Berger (University of Bochum, Germany).

His second area of expertise relates to 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 translation 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. Steven has a new chapter on storytelling in the Wiley Handbook on Public History and is currently working with Page-Rwanda (as well as Lu Xiao, Sebastien Caquard and others) on the development of the Living Archives of the Rwandan Diaspora. He is also part of the Spokenweb project and an exciting new project that uses oral history and digital storytelling to effect cultural change in working environments.

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, museology, 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, Concordia, and the American University of Armenia.

Selected Op-Ed Pieces

Steven High, “Donald Trump et la Rust Belt:  Quand les libéraux cherchent desréponses qui les confortent," Montreal La Presse (2 juin 2018). Share&utm_content=Screen


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


Steven High and Fred Burrill,“Industrial Heritage as Agent of Gentrification?” National Council for PublicHistory. History @ Work. 19 February2018.


Steven High, “Un siècle de syndicalismenoir à Montréal” Le Devoir (21novembre 2017).


Steven High, “Trump etl’embourgeoisement des progressistes,” LeDevoir (16 mars 2017).


Steven High, “Story of sleeping carporters demonstrates Quebec's racist past,” MontrealGazette (20 November 2017).


Steven High, “Donald Trump, Brexit, andthe Gentrification of Progressive Politics,” Active History 27 March 2017.


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


Steven High, Fred Burrill, andJean-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

Montreal Life Stories Press Conference at the Monument National

Teaching activities

Graduate (Co-)Supervision

Post-Doctoral Fellows (1 in progress, 10 completed):
Marie Lavorel, March 2018-December 2019, Horizon Postdoctoral Fellowship, "Oral History and the Rwandan Genocide." [Co-supervised with Sebastien Caquard]

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

Rodolphe Gonzales, May 2017-December 2017, Horizon Postdoctoral Fellowship, "Oral History and Web-Mapping." [Co-supervised with Sebastien Caquard]

Stéphane Martelly, 2015-2017, FRQSC Research-Creation (1 of 3 across QC), “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.”    


Doctoral Students (15 in progress, 11 completed):

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

Piyusha Chatterjee, In Progress (ABD) PhD INDI, “Busking in the Postindustrial City.”

Pharo Sok, In Progress (ABD), History PhD, “Are you Cambodian? Oh, Pol Pot!” – Life Stories, Inter-generational Storytelling, and Countering Narratives in Khmer Montreal.”

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, 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, PhD History, "Consultative Processes and the Management of Urban Change in Montreal and Toronto."

Laurence Hamel-Roy, In Progress, PhD Humanities, "

Laurence Parent, In Progress (ABD), Humanities PhD, “Roulez/Wheeling Montreal: Moving through and Belonging in an Ableist City."

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

Khadija Baker, In Progress, Humanities PhD, "Memory as an Instrument in Social Reform Across Digital Culture, Trauma, and Resilience." [Main Supervisor: Erin Manning]

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

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]

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) COHDS Award of Excellence in Oral History.

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

Awards: Canadian Committee on Labour History’s EugeneForsey Dissertation Prize; Governor General's Gold Medal for ConcordiaUniversity; COHDSAward of Excellence in Oral History; Concordia PhD Dissertation Prize for theHumanities, Social Sciences and Fine Arts.

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.”

Awards: Concordia Stand-Out Graduate Research Award, COHDS Awardof Excellence in Oral History; Canadian Oral History Association Prize.

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.” 
Concordia Doctoral Prize: FirstGraduating Class Award. 

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 (4 in progress, 22 completed):

Bryan Gordon, In Progress, History MA, "Hoarders: An Oral History."

Tanya Steinberg, In Progress, History MA, “Living through the Closure of St. John Bosco Elementary School in Montreal’s Southwest.”

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]

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, »

COHDS Prize for Excellence in Oral History;Thesis prize for the Department of History, Concordia University.

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.”Prize for best thesis in the Department of History, Concordia University.

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 the Public History Workshop as well as a topic course called Working Class Public History. In 2018-19, I will be teaching my Oral History Seminar (grad/undergrad) as well as my Telling Stories Class, which will focus on Black Montreal.

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