Meet our Faculty

Dr. Theodore Binnema
Professor and Department Chair
BA (Calvin), MA, PhD (Alberta)

Office:   3017 ADM
Tel:  250.960.6662

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

Dr. Binnema entered the historical profession after teaching high school English and social studies for several years. He has been teaching at UNBC since 2000, where he now teaches in the fields of Canadian and United States history, aboriginal 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 published The Hudson’s Bay Company Edmonton House Journals, Correspondence, and Reports: 1806-1821 (2012). That book consists of primary documents and a long essay offering a new interpretation of the history of the northern plains and Athabasca region between 1806 and 1821. “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 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 many scholarly articles including articles in Environmental History, The Canadian Historical Review, Journal of the Early Republic, Western Historical Quarterly, and The Journal of Canadian Studies.

Dr. Binnema’s graduate students have explored a wide range of topics in the aboriginal and environmental history of Canada and the United States.

Dr. Benjamin Bryce
Assistant Professor
BA (UBC), MA, PhD (York)

Office:  3092 ADM
Tel:  250.960.5759
Web page:

Research Interests:
          History of the Americas
          Transatlantic and Transnational History
          History of Migration, Education, and Health

Dr. Bryce joined UNBC in 2014 after receiving his PhD from York University in 2013. His research focuses on migration, health, education, and religion in the Americas. At UNBC, he teaches courses on the Americas and global history.

His monograph,To Belong in Buenos Aires: Germans, Argentines, and the Rise of a Pluralist Society (Stanford University Press, 2017), examines the activities, fantasies, and frustrations of the German speakers who sought to create a lasting community in Buenos Aires and those who challenged that project. Drawing on dozens of private and public archives in Buenos Aires and Germany, the book focuses in particular on social welfare, education, and religion, and analyzes the efforts of German-speaking immigrants to carve out a place for themselves in the broader landscape of an extremely culturally plural society. The broad group of institutions that German-speaking and other immigrants created in Buenos Aires had a significant impact on how other social actors such as the Argentine state, the Catholic Church, and Spanish-speaking philanthropists involved themselves with citizens and residents of the city. The approach offers new perspectives on broader topics of liberalism, nationalism, and language in the Americas.

He is the co-editor of Making Citizens in Argentina (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017). It illustrates how the Argentine state and other social groups have contested and defined the meaning of citizenship over the course of the twentieth century. It shows how citizenship is an expansive and malleable concept worthy of analysis. It is a term that appears in sources and historiography, but its meaning is all too often taken for granted. He is also the co-editor of Entangling Migration History: Borderlands and Transnationalism in the United States and Canada (University Press of Florida, 2015). The book explores how people, ideas, and policies transcended the political boundaries of the United States and Canada. It brings to light the value of situating the history of migration to the United States and Canada in broader comparative, borderland, and transnational contexts.

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

Office:  3003 ADM
Tel:  250.960.6343

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

Dr. Holler is a specialist in colonial Latin America and women’s/gender history who joined UNBC in 2003. She is the author of Escogidas Plantas: Nuns and Beatas in Mexico City, 1530-1601 (Columbia University Press, 2003/205). She is also author of articles and book chapters on early colonial Mexico; co-author, with Peter Bakewell, of the third edition of his History of Latin America (Blackwell, 2009); and co-author of the forthcoming Gendered Society: Canadian Edition (Oxford, 2010). Her current research projects include a SSHRC-funded book-length study of the Cortes Conspiracy of 1566 and a project on women's bodies, health, emotion, and sexuality in early colonial New Spain.

A past winner (2005) of UNBC's teaching award, Dr. Holler teaches fourth-year seminars on childbirth and women's bodies and the history of masculinity; History 190 (The West and the World to 1660); and courses on the history of Latin America. She also teaches an introduction to gender studies (WMST 103) in the Women's Studies Program, of which she is coordinator.

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

Office:  3010 ADM
Tel:  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
Tel:  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 September 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.

Currently Dr. Swainger is engaged in an assortment of book projects including a history of the University of Northern British Columbia’s first quarter century that is scheduled for release in 2015, a study of crime history in the Peace River country of British Columbia, and a history of northern British Columbia with Ted Binnema. Currently, a number of his smaller research projects include work on the crime history of Prince George in the 1920s

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. Nathan Smith

Dr. Nathan Smith
Assistant Professor - Term
BA Hons (York), MA (Toronto), PhD (Toronto)

Research Interests:
          History of modern Canada
          Interests range widely in  terms of themes, including
             war and society, labour, citizenship, popular politics
             and activism, society and culture