Western University HistoryWestern Social Science

Michelle A. Hamilton

- Associate Professor
- Director, M.A. Public History Program

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PhD, University of Western Ontario, 2004
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 84973
Email: mhamilt3@uwo.ca
Office: Lawson Hall 1223
Office Hours: TBA


Research Interests

Professor Hamilton is a Public Historian whose research focuses on historical and contemporary issues surrounding museums and heritage, social memory and commemoration, the history of anthropology, cultural identity and issues of representation and repatriation, usually in regards to First Nations peoples in Canada.


Major Research Projects

As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Guelph (2005-08), I began researching the enumeration of First Nations and Métis people in Canada, particularly the links between census-taking, race, and the regulation of Aboriginal communities by the Department of Indian Affairs. This SSHRC-funded research is ongoing and forms a part of the 1871 and 1891 Census of Canada projects at the University of Guelph.

I am also part of the Franz Boas Papers Documentary Editing Project which aims to recontextualize the Canadian fieldwork of this noted anthropologist and to intellectually repatriate knowledge to First Nations communities represented in that fieldwork. I am particularly interested in Boas' museological and collecting practices. The team is funded by a SSHRC Partnership Grant, by the American Philosophical Society which holds the Boas papers, and the University of Nebraska Press which will publish the approximate 25 volumes.

I am also a member of the Canada 150-funded Lost Stories Project which aims to discover little known Canadian stories and document them through oral history, place-based public art, and documentary video.


Select Publications

Books

Dr. Oronhyatekha: Security, Justice, and Equality (2016) With K. Jamieson. Dr. Oronhyatekha: Security, Justice, and Equality. Toronto: Dundurn Press.
Franz Boas as Public Intellectual: Theory, Ethnography, Activism (2015) Franz Boas as Public Intellectual:  Theory, Ethnography, Activism. Eds. R. Darnell, M. Hamilton, R. Hancock, J. Smith. Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press.
Collections and Objections: Aboriginal Material Culture in Southern Ontario (2010) Collections and Objections: Aboriginal Material Culture in Southern Ontario. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Book Chapters

Forthcoming. With M.F. Dove. “Public Service or public service?: Public History in Canada.” What is Public History? Ed. P. Ashton, J. Lalzarliana and A. Trapeznik. Bloomsbury. 

(2015) "'An expansive archive…not a diminished one':  The Franz Boas Documentary Edition Project." Franz Boas as Public Intellectual:  Theory, Ethnography, Activism. Eds. R. Darnell, M. Hamilton, R. Hancock, J. Smith. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

(2015) With K. Inwood. "The aboriginal and mixed-race population in Canada, 1871–1901." Mariage et Métissage dans les Sociétés Coloniales. Bern: Peter Lang, 207-24. 

Journal Articles

(2017) “Canada’s First Indigenous Physician? The Story of Dr O (1841-1907).” Canadian Journal of Surgery 60, 1: 8-10. 


Awards and Distinctions

2013-20 SSHRC Partnership Grant for the Franz Boas Papers Documentary Editing Project

2013 SSHRC Connection Grant for the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Public History/International Federation for Public History

2012 Finalist, the Speaker's (Ontario Legislature) Book Award for Collections and Objections

2012 Community Service Learning Grant, UWO

2011 Clio (Ontario) Prize Winner for Collections and Objections from the Canadian Historical Association

2011 Chalmers Award Winner for Collections and Objections from the Champlain Society

2011-16 SSHRC Standard Research Grant, for Aboriginal Peoples and the Canadian Census research project


Public History Experience

Since 1993 I have worked at various museums across Canada, including the Museum of Ontario Archaeology (London), the Aylmer and District Museum, the Woodland Cultural Centre (Six Nations of the Grand River) and the Glenbow Museum (Calgary), in curatorial, interpretative, and collections management capacities. Locally,  I have sat on the Material Culture Committee of Museum London, the Board and Planning Committee of Fanshawe Pioneer Village, the Board of the London Heritage Council, and the Academic Sub-Committee of the Museum of Ontario Archaeology.  Between 2010-13, I sat on the Board of Directors of the National Council on Public History, co-chaired its 2013 Annual Conference Program Committee, and chaired its Professional Development Committee (2010-15). I have also acted as a consultant or contract researcher for organizations such as the JP Metras Museum at Western, the Ontario Heritage Trust, the C.A.V. Barker Museum of Canadian Veterinary History at the University of Guelph, and Know History Historical Services. I am currently a member of the Ontario Museum Association's Indigenous Collections Working Group, the Ontario Heritage Trust board and, with Prof. Shelley McKellar, I manage the Medical Artifact Collection at Western.