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 living archives.

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 (Saint Mary's U) and Andrew Perchard (U of Sterling). He also has a forthcoming monograph, entitled One Job Town: Work, Belonging and Betrayal in Northern Ontario as well as forthcoming chapters with Piyusha Chatterjee in Telling Environmental Histories, the Routledge Handbook in Public History, and with Lachlan Mackinnon in the Routledge Handbook on the Americas. He is currently co-editing a special issue of the US journal Labor, with Stefan Berger (University of Bochum, Germany). He is currently part of a SSHRC partnership project focussed on employment mobility, led by Barbara Neis at Memorial University.

His second area of expertise relates to oral history methodology and ethics, 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. A French language translation of Crossroads will be published by PUL. He has co-authored Going Public: The Art of Participatory Practice with Liz Miller and Ted Little which is forthcoming later in 2017, and is co-editor of a forthcoming Routledge Handbook on Memoryscapes with several others. Steven has a forthcoming chapter in the Wiley Handbook on Public History. He is currently working with Page-Rwanda on the development of the Living Archives of the Rwandan Diaspora.

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 in History, Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Humanities as well as being a secondary advisor or external reader for students in history, social work, art education, education, museology, environmental studies, geography, communications, 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, and so on. 

To date, he has supervised nine externally funded SSHRC or FRQSC post-doctoral fellows  - two of whom won the book prize from the US Oral History Association - as well as a Horizons Postdoctoral Fellow. He has published extensively with undergraduate and graduate students as well as with postdocs working under his supervision.



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 (2 in progress, 8 completed):

Lana Povitz, January 2017-December 18, SSHRC, “A Slow Burn: Activist Lives after Women’s Liberation and AIDS.”

Rodolphe Gonzales, May 2017-April 2019, 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 (11 in progress, 11 completed):

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

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

Piyusha Chatterjee, In Progress, PhD INDI, “Durgapur: Voices, memories and stories from a steel city in India.”

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

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

Fred Burrill, In Progress, PhD History, “Displacement Wars and the Battle for Collective Memory in Saint-Henri, 1970-2016."

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

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

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)

Carmen Ruschiensky, In Progress, PhD Humanities, "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)

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 (2 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.”

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 Fenger, 2009, History MA .“Banff Indian Days.”

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. I am developing a new 300-level course called the Urban History Laboratory which will focus on a selected aspect of Montreal's History, in partnership with area institutions or community groups. At the 400/graduate level, I teach the Public History Workshop as well as a topic course called Working Class Public History. In 2017-18, I will teach a new seminar on "Confronting Ruination in Post-Industrial Places."

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