New Controversial Characters in Context history series launches

John A Macdonald

Four historians will present brief “warts and all” biographies of four historical figures in the news:  John A. Macdonald, Joseph W. Trutch, Matthew Baillie Begbie and James Douglas and put them in their historical context to help inform public discussion. Each talk in Controversial Characters in Context will be followed by a discussion to inform such questions as “how should we remember these characters and their contexts?” and/or “to commemorate or not commemorate?” The Department of History series will be held downtown at City Hall Council Chambers from May 9 to October 22.

History chair John Lutz says to understand the issues raised by recent controversies around renaming and destatuing it is important to learn as much as we can about the historical characters in the news before we decide the best route forward. "To move forward in the spirit of 'truth and reconciliation' we need to know the truths of our past," he said.

All talks will take place in Council Chambers, City Hall, 1 Centennial Square, Victoria, B.C. 7-8:30 pm.  Moderated by Dr. Dave Obee. 

John A. Macdonald, May 9

Presented by Dr. Penny Bryden, author of Canada: A Political Biography.

Joseph W. Trutch, June 19

Presented by Dr. John Lutz, author of Makuk: A New History of Aboriginal-Settler Relations.

Matthew Baillie Begbie, September 5

Presented by Hamar Foster, QC, co-editor of The Grand Experiment: Law and Legal Culture in British Settler Societies.

James Douglas, October 22

Presented by John Adams, author of Old Square Toes and His Lady: The Lives of James and Amelia Douglas.