Meet our Faculty

Dr. Theodore Binnema
BA (Calvin), MA, PhD (Alberta)

Office:   3017 ADM
Phone:  250.960.6662

Research Interests:
          Canadian and US Aboriginal and Environmental History
          History of Indian Policy
          History of Science

Dr. Ted Binnema has been teaching at UNBC since 2000, where he has taught in the fields of Canadian and United States history, Indigenous history, and environmental history.

He has written several books that examine various aspects of Environmental history, Aboriginal history, and the history of science. Common and Contested Ground (2001) examines the human and environmental history of the northwestern plains of North America from AD 200 to 1806. With Gerhard Ens of the University of Alberta, he edited three volumes of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Edmonton House Journals consisting of primary documents and long introductions offering new interpretations of the history of the northern plains and Athabasca region between 1806 and 1840. “Enlightened Zeal”: The Hudson’s Bay Company and Scientific Networks, 1670 to 1870 (2013), is the first book to examine the relationship between science and a major chartered monopoly over its entire lifetime. Dr. Binnema is now working on a history of the Vancouver Island Treaties and a study of five maps drawn by Blackfoot people in 1801 and 1802. Dr. Binnema also co-edited two collections of original articles,
New Histories for Old: Changing Perspectives on Canada's Native Pasts (2007) and From Rupert's Land to Canada (2001). He has also published scholarly articles, including in Environmental History, The Canadian Historical Review, Journal of the Early Republic, Western Historical Quarterly, and The Journal of Canadian Studies.

Dr. Jacqueline Holler
BA & MA (Simon Fraser), PhD (Emory)

Office:  3003 ADM
Phone: 250.960.6343

Research Interests:
          Colonial Latin America
          Colonial Mexico
          Women's and Gender History
          Religion, Health, and Political Culture

Dr. Jacqueline Holler is an early modern cultural historian who joined UNBC in 2003. She is the author of books, articles ,and book chapters on early modern Mexico, Latin American history, and contemporary gender studies. Her most recent articles and book chapters study religion, emotion, medicine, midwifery, and medical knowledge.

Her current research project (2020–2025) is a SSHRC-funded study of women’s healing network and medical knowledge exchange in New Spain between 1530 and 1750.

A two-time winner (2005, 2019) of UNBC's teaching award, Dr. Holler teaches fourth-year seminars on Caribbean piracy; childbirth and women's bodies; and the history of masculinity. She also teaches second-year courses on global expansion and colonial Latin America. She supervises graduate students in History and Gender Studies.

Dr. Dana Wessell Lightfoot
Professor, Department Chair
BA, MA PhD (Toronto)

Office:  3010 ADM
Phone: 250.960.5706

Research Interests:
          Medieval Spanish History with a focus on Gender
          and Medieval European History

Dr. Wessell Lightfoot received her PhD from the University of Toronto in 2005. Her research focuses on the lives of women often seen as “powerless” in late medieval Europe—lower status women, Jewish women and converted Jewish women—and how they navigated marriage, property, family alliances and religion in 14th and 15th century Spain. Her book, Women, Dowries, and Agency: Marriage in Fifteenth-Century Valencia was published by Manchester University Press in 2013. Currently, she is working on a collaborative project with Alexandra Guerson (University of Toronto) entitled “Negotiating Conversion: Jewish Women, Conversas, and Migration in Late Medieval Catalonia”. This project is funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant.

Dr. Wessell Lightfoot has published articles in Viator, the Women’s History Review, and book collections including "The Power to Divide? Germania Marriage Contracts in Early Fifteenth-Century Valencia" in Across the Religious Divide: Women, Property and the Law in the Wider Mediterranean (ca. 1300-1800) (Routledge, 2010). Her article "The Projects of Marriage: Spousal Choice, Dowries and Domestic Service in Early Fifteen-Century Valencia" Viator 40.1 (2009) was named the 2009 article of the year by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women.

In September 2014, Dr. Wessell Lightfoot was named as a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.

She teaches courses on medieval and early modern European history, medieval Spain, European women's history, the witch hunts and the medieval Mediterranean.

Dr. Jonathan Swainger

Dr. Jonathan Swainger
BA (Lethbridge), MA (Calgary), PhD (Western)

Office:  3091 ADM
Phone: 250.960.5310

UNBC Department of History Alumni Liaison

Research Interests:
          Canadian legal and crime history with an emphasis
           on the 19th and 20th centuries

Dr. Jonathan Swainger joined UNBC in August 1992 and has lived and taught in Terrace, Fort St. John and Prince George. He was History Department Chair from 2004 to 2009 and his teaching includes Canadian, legal, crime, and historiography.

His research centers on legal and crime history in which he has published numerous articles on topics including capital punishment, the politics of judicial appointments, seditious language and free speech during the First World War, crime and community identity, and teen culture in northern British Columbia during the 1950s. His books and edited collections include The Canadian Department of Justice and the Completion of Confederation (2000), The Alberta Supreme Court at 100: History and Authority (2007), Laws and Societies in the Prairie West, 1670-1940 (2005) with Louis A. Knafla, and People and Place: Historical Influences on Legal Culture (2003) with Constance Backhouse.

Dr. Swainger has also authored a book-length history of the grassroots campaign to establish what eventually became the University of Northern British Columbia in the province’s northern Interior. Aspiration: A History of the University of Northern British Columbia to 2015 explores the public campaign and the institution’s early success, disappointments, and future challenges.

His most recent book, The Notorious Georges: Crime and Community Identity in Northern British Columbia will be released by UBC Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History in the autumn of 2023.  Centered on the connection between community identity, policing, locals politics, and crime, the book explores the origins of the Georges’ – South Fort George, Fort George, and Prince George – bad reputation. Not only was the community’s rough and tumble reputation not the work of bad lads who had spent too much time in the Northern Hotel bar, but the evidence suggests that this notoriety casts light on a longer and deeper legacy of a region that feels ignored, misunderstood, and dismissed by decision-makers elsewhere in the province and nation.

Dr. Max Hamon

Dr. Max Hamon
Assistant Professor
PhD (McGill)

Office:  3004 ADM
Phone: 250.960.5290

Research Interests:
          Socio-cultural and Political History
          Indigenous-newcomer Relations

Dr. M. Max Hamon received his PhD from McGill University in 2017. He has also taught at Carleton, Brandon and Queen’s. Broadly, he is interested in socio-cultural and political history of the nation state and the Indigenous-newcomer relations with a particular focus on the Métis. His first book, The Audacity of His Enterprise: Louis Riel and the Métis Nation that Canada Never was, 1840-1875, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press, won the Wilson Institute Prize in 2019 and the Prix de l’Assemblée nationale du Québec in 2020.

Max is currently writing a history of borderland policing in Canada and the United States. He is particularly interested in the early forms of community policing that pre-date the federal police. He has also created a podcast series titled “Police and the Border”.

He teaches courses on pre- and post-confederation Canadian history, Indigenous history in North America, as well as the history of crime and policing in North America.

Dr. Sara Farhan

Dr. Sara Farhan
Assistant Professor
BA (Western), MA (Western), PhD (York)

Office:  3092 ADMIN
Phone: 250.960.5759

Research Interests:
           Modern Middle East
           History of Medicine and Science

I am a cultural and social historian of the modern Middle East with broad training accumulated in interdisciplinary environments. My research considers the intersections between colonialism, gender, and class in the production and reproduction of medical professionals. I am also interested in the politics of archives and the gatekeeping practices of record management and knowledge production.
I received my Ph.D. from York University (2019) for writing a dissertation on medical education, professionalization, and health in late Ottoman and independent Iraq. Since then, I taught at various universities in Canada and the Middle East. I teach a variety of courses on modern world history. These offerings carry a wide range of themes including colonialism, nationalism, medicine and health, crime and criminality, and intellectual history, among others. I strive to cultivate curiosities in social and cultural histories while encouraging interdisciplinary analyses of diverse source material.

Professors Emeritus

Dr. Charles Jago, Professor
VA (Western Ontario), PhD (Cambridge)
Dr. Jago has retired from UNBC and remains Professor Emeritus
The Department of History thanks you for your years of service and wishes you well

Dr. Gordon Martel, Professor
BA (Simon Fraser), MA (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy), PhD (Toronto)
Dr. Martel is now retired from UNBC and remains Professor Emeritus
The Department of History wishes you well in your retirement.

Dr. William Morrison, Professor
BA (McMaster), MA (McMaster) PhD (Western Ontario), DLit (Brandon)
Dr. Morrison is now retired from UNBC and remains Professor Emeritus
The Department of History wishes you well in your retirement.

Adjunct Professors

Dr. Maureen Atkinson

Dr. Maureen Atkinson
BA (UNBC), MA (Athabasca University), PhD (University of Waterloo)

Maureen Atkinson graduated from UNBC with a history degree in 2002 and went on to complete a MA through Athabasca University and later a PhD through the University of Waterloo (2018).  Dr. Atkinson is provincial and regional historian interested in aspects of public history, history of the environment, communications, gender and Indigenous history. She has presented at international conference in Sweden, and US, but her current research interests are much closer to home investigating the Georgetown sawmill and community on the northwest BC coast.  Dr. Atkinson has taught for several years at the UNBC Regional campus in Terrace, but now teaches sessional courses for Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake.  She is also a current faculty member of the TRU Open Learning.