As part of a larger SSHRC funded project titled “Through Veteran’s Eyes: Digital Approaches to the Hidden Histories of Veterans, Families, and the State 1918 – 2000,” the Departments of History at Memorial University and Wilfrid Laurier University will be offering four one-year fellowships valued at $20,000 each for students interested in studying projects in the following fields:

  • The history of shell shock, PTSD, and war trauma
  • The history of First World War veterans and their families
  • Medicine, Health and the First World War

In this exciting project, Mark Humphries (Memorial), Cynthia Comacchio (WLU), and Terry Copp (WLU) will be using newly available pension files from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VAC) to study how the experience of war shaped the lives of First World War veterans and their families. When 620,000 Canadians joined the military during the First World War, they began a life-long relationship with the Canadian state that produced files documenting their experiences from youth to death. These contain regular home visit reports, yearly household balance sheets, detailed household inventories, and voluminous medical records as well as the voices of veterans and their families. In short, they record the lives of Canadians down to the smallest detail. These files will allow students to examine a variety of topics in the fields of health and war as well related topics in working-class history, the history and treatment of specific diseases, family stability, the gendered economy, and minority experiences. There is, quite simply, no comparable group of records from which to write the social history of twentieth century Canada.

Successful fellows will receive $20,000 in total funding (including any Teaching Assistantships). They will also be provided with up to $2,500 of additional travel funding to undertake archival research on behalf of the team and to assist in the completion of their own major research paper at Veterans Affairs headquarters in Charlottetown, PEI, Library and Archives Canada, or another archival related to the team’s research project and/or the student’s interests. Each successful applicant will also be provided with funding to attend the 26th Canadian Military History Colloquium in May 2015. Fellowships will be awarded on a competitive basis, as space and supervisory expertise allows at each institution, and students will be free to choose their own research topics within the broad subject areas outlined above. Both institutions offer a one year master’s program.

Interested students are asked to contact Dr. Mark Humphries at [email protected] or 709.864.6109 for more information. A brief overview of the research project can be found on Dr. Humphries’ faculty page. Those applying for a SSHRC Master’s Fellowship are encouraged to select both Memorial and Wilfrid Laurier as perspective institutions on their application.

Click here to download the student fellowship poster