Beyond the Ridge: Soldiers, Nurses, and the 1918-1919 Pandemic

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Date(s) - May 21 2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Beyond the Ridge, a series of conversations in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada, brings together Vimy Foundation program alumni and expert academics to examine knowledge of the First World War and how it relates to the Canadian experience today.

The first instalment of this limited series, in collaboration with Defining Moments Canada, explores the 1918 Influenza Pandemic through the lens of Canadian military personnel of the Great War. This conversation between Kandace Bogaert (PhD in medical anthropology) and Caroline Tolton (Vimy Foundation program alumna) will look at Canada’s pandemic reality over a century ago and how it informs our current reactions to the Covid-19 crisis.

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Kandace Bogaert is currently the Cleghorn Fellow in War and Society at Wilfrid Laurier University within the Dept. of History and the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies. She completed her PhD in medical anthropology in 2015 within the Department of Anthropology at McMaster University, where she studied the 1918 influenza pandemic among soldiers in Canada. Some of her research interests include infectious diseases, psychiatric illness and the long term impact of the Great War on soldiers.

Caroline Tolton has just completed her second year at Trinity College in the University of Toronto. She is pursuing a double major in International Relations and Health Studies and also works as an intern at the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History. Caroline is a 2018 recipient of the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize. She is also a recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship and the University of Toronto’s Humanities Excellence Scholarship.

This webinar is part of an ongoing series of virtual events exploring topics related to the First World War through a contemporary lens. Stay tuned for more conversations to come in both English and French!

In 2018, Defining Moments Canada launched a national commemoration of the 1918 Influenza epidemic, featuring diverse microhistories, digital storymapping, and robust educational resources. We are pleased to be partnering with the Vimy Foundation to present Soldiers, Nurses, and the 1918-1919 Pandemic to continue the discussion of this significant historical event in the modern context of COVID-19.

Join the conversation: watch The Last Days of Okak directed by Anne Budgell and Nigel Markham, and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. This short documentary tells the story of the once-thriving town of Okak, an Inuit settlement on the northern Labrador coast that was decimated by the deadly Spanish influenza during the world epidemic of 1919.