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The Laurier Legacy Project is a multi-faceted public history initiative that will explore the times and legacy of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. The university’s namesake and former Canadian Prime Minister was a political leader acknowledged as a nation-builder whose policy decisions related to immigration and relations with Indigenous peoples resulted in a complex legacy. The Laurier Legacy Project will be a scholarly examination of Laurier’s life and times that aims to create a better understanding of his legacy, and the ways that the past continues to influence the present day, through public education.

Approach

The research and scholarship components of the Laurier Legacy Project will include two postdoctoral fellows and one visiting professor. One postdoctoral fellow will pursue research on Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his legacy, while the other will embark on archival institutional research of Wilfrid Laurier University and its antecedent institutions from 1911 to the present. The visiting professor will be an Indigenous scholar working on Indigeneity or decolonization in an historical context or in the context of the historical legacies of current day issues.

Public education is part of the mandate of all three scholars, whose work is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and will be undertaken in collaboration with the Office of the Associate Vice-President: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Indigenous Initiatives. Another key component of the Laurier Legacy Project will be proactively designed processes that allow the entire university community to engage in the learnings and further their understanding of Sir Wilfrid Laurier as a nation-builder and as a contributor to systems of racism and discrimination.

Timeline

The research and public education components of the project will be ongoing over the next two years and it is anticipated that the Laurier Legacy Project will culminate in a final scholarly and public education workshop in 2023, the same year that marks the 50th anniversary of the institution’s renaming as Wilfrid Laurier University.

 

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