History students explore local cemeteries
April 23, 2019
Written by Leo Aul, Communications Intern
King’s senior-level History students visited the Mount Pleasant and Woodland Cemeteries in London to share the biographies they made about local soldiers who fought in World War I. These students were guided in learning about this topic by King’s History Professor Dr. Graham Broad as part of the HIST 4209: Canada in the First World War course. These students shared their biographies next to the grave of the soldier they wrote about.
This lesson had an impact on many of the students.
“It's been a really powerful lesson, and a humbling one, too - just imagining these men and women who might not have had many people talking about them and remembering them at this point, after so much time. It's truly been one of the best lessons of my undergraduate career!” says Nina Nouwens, fourth-year Honors Specialization in History.
“This experience was a powerful reminder of the importance of remembrance,” says Seamus Sylvester, fourth-year Honors Specialization in History.
In this course, the students developed a fuller understanding of the complexities of Canada’s experience in the First World War. This includes a greater appreciation for the nuances of the historiography. A few of the topics this course covered include the social and cultural impact of the war, victory and defeat on the fighting fronts, and domestic politics and repression.
“Our focus for much of the course with Dr. Broad has been on remembering the individuals from Canada who served in the First World War. We have been researching their stories and taking a few minutes to say their names. Many of the people we have commemorated this year lost relatives in the war, and some did not leave behind families of their own, so the chance to talk about them and remember them over one hundred years later is an incredibly moving experience. We are trying to find a way to continue their story, and to allow them to live on in our minds,” says Nouwens.
In describing the impact the course had on his students and himself as a professor, Dr. Broad tweeted, “They came out on a cold day, officially one day after classes ended, to conclude the year with moving biographies. I am very proud of these students. How we remember the dead is a human rights issue, too.”
For more information about this course, please visit: www.kings.uwo.ca/hist-4209/