For the past five years before the annual meeting of the CHA at Congress, NiCHE hosts CHESS – Canadian History and Environment Summer School. The theme for the 2010 Concordia edition it is “Edible Environments.” Since the environmental history/historical geography community is pretty small, CHESS is an excellent opportunity to meet other people working in the field, hear about the new work being done, and have interesting discussions about pretty much anything history, environment, and Canada.
Last year was my first CHESS experience, at the Carleton University edition. It was my first such workshop and I had no idea what to expect. Turned out to be a fun and interesting few days of talks, discussion groups, meeting new people and two field trips; I choose the hike in Gatineau Park – which was complete with wading in Meech Lake and a nudist sighting – and the tour of the Central Experimental Farm.
This year, since I know what to expect, the plan is to blog about CHESS. There is a trip out to Kahnawake, the first live and in-person meeting of the NiCHE New Scholars Reading Group, a couple talks and discussion groups, and three urban field trips to choose from (I’m going for the granaries and sugar mills on the Lachine Canel/Old Montreal option). Since this is an academic trip readings have been assigned and, well, I’m not quite done all of them. Should probably get on that before the excitement of Montreal carries me away!
From a ViaRail train somewhere between Ottawa and Montreal (not too far from Casselman, Ontario),