Jul 29, 2020
Nova Scotia Colonial History
Play • 30 min

How can we get to know people from the past? Primary sources, like government records, letters and diaries, give historians valuable insight into human experiences of the past and making connections with modern crises.


Episode four of Foreword features a conversation with Danny Samson, an Associate Professor of History, about his work on Acadian and Nova Scotian colonial history and shares how historians use primary sources to build a more thorough understanding of past events.


Samson discusses his most recent work with his fourth year students on the Acadian expulsion from modern-day Prince Edward Island, which has been receiving international scholarly attention. He shares how his students completed their online project an interactive website Ile St-Jean: The Expulsion of 1758, which details the forcible deportation of thousands of Acadians from modern-day Prince Edward Island using primary forces, despite having their semester disrupted by the pandemic.


Samson also talks about his ongoing project studying the diary of James Barry, a nineteenth-century miller in rural Nova Scotia. Analysis of Barry’s diary shows his connection with intellectual ideas and debates and politics in pre-Confederation Nova Scotia, as well as giving insight into the role of the miller in a small rural community.


Find a full transcript at



Ile St-Jean: The Expulsion of 1758 (2020)


History course gains international scholarly attention for groundbreaking work (Brock News, 20 May 2020)


Daniel Samson faculty profile


@ruralcolonialns Daniel Samson on Twitter; see also #JamesBarryDiary 


Department of History


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Foreword is hosted and produced by Alison Innes for the Faculty of Humanities at Brock University.

Sound design and editing by Serena Atallah. Theme music is by Khalid Imam.

Special thanks to Brock University’s MakerSpace and Brock University Marketing and Communications for studio and web support.

This podcast is financially supported by the Faculty of Humanities at Brock University.




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