I am very pleased to be spending a significant portion of my 2020 sabbatical at St. John’s College. This year, I’m working on three major projects. My main preoccupation is a book manuscript on the history of leftist internment during WWII in Canada, much of which has a Western Canadian focus. The book examines this topic through the experiences of the Ukrainian-Jewish extended Walsh/Weir/Boyd/Steele family. A good portion of the Ukrainian side of the family was based on the prairies (either in a Kananaskis internment camp or in communities in Alberta and Manitoba). This book will close out this research project; other outcomes have included a SSHRC-funded workshop that grew into the co-edited book, Civilian Internment in Canada: Histories and Legacies (University of Manitoba Press, 2020) and two scholarly articles dealing with female political internees.
I am also working on two collaborative projects. The first is an “HBO-style” broadcast series I’m developing with a team of Winnipeg-based film and television professionals grounded in my past and ongoing research on the history of sex work in early twentieth century Winnipeg. This project is intersectional, pro-sex worker, and sex worker-centric, and it actively considers the impact of settler colonialism in shaping approaches to policing, vice ‘containment,’ women’s economic circumstances, and sex work communities’ members’ individual and collective responses (including their ‘talking back’ to authorities). The second project is a virtual reality interactive depicting life in Brandon, Manitoba’s WWI-era internment camp. We are presently entering the third and final phase, which will involve the project’s technical build.