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McGill on the Move with Gil Troy

Date: Tue, 10/23/2012 – 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Don’t miss your chance to hear one of North America’s leading presidential scholars discuss the upcoming US presidential election! McGill historian Gil Troy, author of the recently released book History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, will give his take on the upcoming election in his talk, “Some things never change – The 2012 Presidential campaign in historical perspective.” For more than 200 years, candidates have campaigned for the highest office in the land, debating the major issues facing the country, capturing the attention of the voters, and reflecting the will of the people. Presidential elections are the centerpiece of American democracy, as citizens go to the polls every four years to choose a new leader. Professor Troy will take us through a fascinating political journey through American history, reflect on both the Obama and Romney campaigns, and postulate what might come to pass this November. A native of Queens, New York, Gil Troy is a Professor of History at McGill and a Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, including History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady. He comments frequently about the American presidency on television and radio, and has published articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and USA Weekend.

Categories:

DAR, Branches, Boston, Massachusetts, Events, Learn, Reads

Event Details

McGill on the Move with Gil Troy (Boston alumni branch)
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General information:
Description: Don’t miss your chance to hear one of North America’s leading presidential scholars discuss the upcoming US presidential election!

McGill historian Gil Troy, author of the recently released book History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, will give his take on the upcoming election in his talk, “Some things never change – The 2012 Presidential campaign in historical perspective.”

For more than 200 years, candidates have campaigned for the highest office in the land, debating the major issues facing the country, capturing the attention of the voters, and reflecting the will of the people.

Presidential elections are the centerpiece of American democracy, as citizens go to the polls every four years to choose a new leader.

Professor Troy will take us through a fascinating political journey through American history, reflect on both the Obama and Romney campaigns, and postulate what might come to pass this November.

A native of Queens, New York, Gil Troy is a Professor of History at McGill and a Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

He is the author of several books, including History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady. He comments frequently about the American presidency on television and radio, and has published articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and USA Weekend.

Details: RSVP/Pre-Register: August 27 – October 19, 2012

Admissions: $15 (includes light refreshments and one non-alcoholic beverage)

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Location(s): MOITI (Boston Fish Pier),
212 Northern Avenue, East Building I, Suite 300
Boston, Massachusetts, 02210
U. S. A.
View map
RSVP/Pre-Register: August 22, 2012 to October 19, 2012
Admissions:
General $15.00 USD
Equivalent to $14.56 CAD charge per ticket.
(includes hors d’oeuvres, one non-alcoholic bev)
# of tickets
Web link: http://giltroy.com/
Contact: •  Event Registrar
Phone: 1-800-567-5175 x. 7684
Email: event.registration@mcgill.ca

•  Boston Alumni Branch
Email: boston.alumni@mcgill.ca

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OP-EDS & REVIEWS

By Gil Troy, National Post, 5-4-12

On Nov. 8, 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combatting Anti-Semitism, which gathered dozens of legislators from over 50 countries in Ottawa. Harper’s address stood out for its warmth, its passion, its power.

“I know, by the way, because I have the bruises to show for it, that whether it is at the United Nations or any other international forum, the easiest thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israel rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being evenhanded, and to excuse oneself with the label of honest broker,” Harper said. “There are, after all, a lot more votes – a lot more – in being anti-Israeli than in taking a stand. But as long as I am Prime Minister, whether it is at the United Nations, the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost.” He explained: “Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tell us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of us.”

In this, Harper articulated a vision for Canadian foreign policy far beyond a repudiation of anti-Semitism and bold support for Israel. Harper’s talk about “taking a stand, whatever the cost,” and his concerns about “a threat to all of us” – with “us” meaning the liberal democratic West – positioned Canada as a leading player in the Western democratic fight for survival. At a time when the United States under Barack Obama is flirting with isolationism and realism in foreign policy, Harper embraced idealism as an essential force in shaping his foreign policy.

Surprisingly, and most especially, that November in Ottawa, Harper’s idealism proved contagious – and all-party.

At a conference, Michael Ignatieff, reaffirmed his disgust at the way accusation of the crime of apartheid, as perpetuated for decades in South Africa, was being inaccurately and immorally applied to Israel’s actions in its national conflict with the Palestinians. In 2009, Ignatieff had first denounced the absurdity of “Israel Apartheid Week,” a week devoted to linking democratic Israel to the cruelties of racist, apartheid South Africa.

Further to Ignatieff ‘s left, Thomas Mulcair, new leader of the NDP, positioned himself as a thoughtful, reasonable progressive who refuses to join the pile-on against Israel. Mulcair affirmed his deep commitment to democracy and the rule of law, refusing to sacrifice core ideals to follow one trend or the other. In that spirit, he said he was embarrassed, as a graduate of McGill Law School, that McGill hosts Israel Apartheid Week. Finally, he de-scribed an ugly moment in an anti-Israel demonstration, when protestors wanted to attack a Jewish-owned business. He quoted Martin Luther King’s teaching that, “he who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

The Mulcair-King formulation goes even further than Harper’s affirmative, idealistic vision. While neither Harper nor Mulcair seems interested in getting Canada mired in every fight against evil on the planet, the simple comfort, from left and right, with language about good and evil in both foreign and domestic affairs is refreshing. We have come a long way from Jean Chrétien’s snivelling, split-the difference, don’t rock the boat, accommodationist foreign policy.

Moreover, claims of a backlash have been exaggerated. When Canada failed to get a seat on the Security Council in the fall of 2010, critics were quick to blame Harper’s support for Israel. In fact, internal regional bloc politics at the UN were the problem. Even more important, in May 2011, the Canadian electorate gave Harper a majority. Thus, claims that Harper and his party would suffer at the polls for befriending the Jewish state proved empty.

Canada can stand tall as a force for good in foreign affairs, defending democracy and Western civilization, as necessary, without overstretching. And in a world with too many forms of aggressive ethnic nationalism, which indeed sometimes seems to be “winning,” having this positive, constructive, tolerant, civilizing, civic vision can be most welcome, as Canada plays a new, affirmative and assertive role in its long, successful run as the world’s conscience.

 

Gil Troy is a professor of history at McGill University. A longer version of this article appears in the April issue of Policy Options magazine. 

Canada, back again as the world’s conscience, as the world lacks one — Policy Options, April 2012

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Date: Mon, 03/28/2011 – 12:30pm – 1:30pm

With the U.S. midterm elections over, President Barack Obama faces a complex array of challenges, choices and expectations. Join us for a thought-provoking lecture with McGill History Professor Gil Troy, who will offer a non-partisan analysis of, and questions about, (though no predictions for) President Obama’s promises, performance and prospects from a historical perspective. A native of Queens, New York, Prof. Troy is also the visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. and the author of several books, including “Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s” and “Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady.” He comments frequently about the American presidency on television and radio, and has published articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and USA Weekend. Seating for this event is limited so please register online as soon as possible to reserve your spot (one ticket per person). If you can’t attend, don’t worry, the event will also be streamed live on the Campus Community Committee’s website. This event is part of a Lunch and Learn series presented by the Campus Community Committee, which is working to bring the McGill community together through activities and helping Campaign McGill achieve its ambitious $750-million fundraising goal.

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Cross-border relations 

We’ve already talked about Canada’s, and particularly McGill’s, special interest in that big country to the south. But as far as recurring topics go, cross-border politics takes the cake.

This month’s campus events don’t exactly buck the trend. Two events in particular will close out the month with some serious, and star-studded, discussions about U.S.-Canada relations.

Kind of a big deal 

The first, and decidedly more glamorous, event is a two-day conference held in the swanky Hotel Omni Mont-Royal, but flying under the McGill flag. The event, entitled ‘Canada and the United States: Conversations & Relations’, seems like old hat at first glance but a quick peek at the guest list certainly suggests otherwise. Scheduled to attend the event are Brian Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada, the current Governor General of Canada David Johnston (a McGill head back in the 1990s), Quebec Premier Jean Charest, and acting Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, among a gaggle of other ambassadors, academics and career politicians. The format of the conferenace should please lecture-weary undergrads, as the organizers have opted for informal, moderator-led, conversations in lieu of the traditional podium and PowerPoint format. How many McGill students will actually be able to get in the doors is another question all-together. Registration has already been closed, and the majority of students that attend have probably been hand-picked from the department that is hosting the event, The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. In any case, the entire event will be web cast live here. Unfortunately, technology hasn’t advanced enough to have the cocktail portion of the event transmitted via the web. One day. For now, students can watch some major players in regional politics talk about the challenges of sharing the North American continent from the safety of their own room. Just don’t try to attend if you haven’t been invited, security will be tight.

Sizing up the many faces of Mr. Obama 

The other event focusing on US-Canada relations will keep the red carpet in storage and is decidedly more student-friendly. Gil Troy, McGill history professor and Queens, New York native will be hosting a lunch-time conference entilted ‘Obama at the Midterm’ on March 28th in the Leacock building’s room 232. The conference promises to be a non-partisan look at the challenges, choices and expectations facing U.S. president Barack Obama as he wades into the second half of his first term with the specter of a presidential re-election campaign looming. With American unemployment hovering near %10, U.S. led strikes launched against the Libyan regime, and a country-wide budget crisis in the news, there should be plenty to talk about. Although not quite up to snuff with the President’s, Troy’s resume is impressive, with a long list of book and article publications attached to his name. Registration for the event is required, but if you can’t make it the entire event will be streamed live for free. Either way, political junkies shouldn’t miss Troy’s talk.

Canada and the United States: Conversations and Relations

March 24th, 25th

Hotel Omni Mont-Royal (1050 Sherbrooke St. West)

REGISTRATION CLOSED

Lunch and Learn with Gil Troy: Obama at Midterm

March 28th: 12:30pm

Room 232, Leacock Building

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TAs are the unsung heroes of the university world

By GIL TROY, The Montreal Gazette, 9-8-09

As students return to university this month, the main focus on campus is on the dynamic between students and their professors. “Who’s teaching the course?” is the question on so many students’ lips. But they often give or get a partial answer. The truth is, at McGill and most large universities, students are not taught only by the professor, the marquee name on any course. In the many large lectures that abound, students are taught – and their experiences are often dramatically shaped – by teaching assistants, TAs, who play a critical role in helping the university function.

Unfortunately, most of the recent public attention regarding teaching assistants has been negative. Teaching assistants held a strike at McGill in 2008. Other universities have endured strikes as well. Unionizing TAs gives the impression of a strife-ridden relationship between TAs and professors. This is misleading. Universities thrive because of the warmth and co-operative spirit characterizing most professor-TA relationships

In fact, ideally, the professor is the TA’s adviser as well. By researching and teaching together, the professor and TA integrate the university’s two essential functions – discovering knowledge and transmitting it. The relationship, at its best, is delightfully old-fashioned, with the TA serving an apprenticeship under the mentoring professor’s watchful eye.

Of course, reality often intrudes. For example, at McGill hundreds of undergraduates take U.S. history courses but very few graduate students study U.S. history. Teaching assistants come from other fields, and the relationship between the professor and the TA is less multi-dimensional. Still, the TA is not only helping with discussion sections and grading, but is learning by doing and being coached by a senior teacher.

At McGill’s history department this fall, we are particularly sensitive to the importance of this relationship because one of our superstar TAs during the last few years, Thomas Brydon, died tragically in an automobile accident this summer, along with his girlfriend Laura Nagy. Tom started studying for his master’s degree in 1999. During that decade, he TAed in numerous courses and, most recently, had started teaching his own courses. As he taught, he worked on and completed his Ph.D in British cultural history: “Christ’s Last Ante: Charles Booth, Church Charity and the Poor-but-Respectable.”

I met Tom a year ago as I headed into a difficult semester filled with much travelling – and teaching. I had requested a top-notch TA who could substitute for me if ever I was away or delayed. When the department chair at the time, Catherine LeGrande, assigned me Brydon, a British historian whom I did not know, I was skeptical, knowing the semester he (and I) faced. My skepticism increased when I called him, and good Canadian that he was, he postponed our meeting because he was leaving on a canoe trip. I wondered: “What’s this Canadian bloke who specializes in England going to teach my students about the U.S.?”

Let’s be honest, historians, and certainly this history professor, are lone rangers. Most of us do our research, writing and teaching alone. To share the podium with someone else, to share responsibility with someone else, requires us to stretch outside our comfort zones. We are also thematic chauvinists, rooted in our specialties and doubtful that anyone who has not been steeped in our subject can understand us – let alone teach our material.

LeGrande reassured me, saying, “You’re going to love this guy, he is fantastic.”

If anything, LeGrande undersold him. Tom entered this ambiguous, fluid situation with his natural affability, his considerable experience as a teacher, and his strong vision as an historian – and thrived. He plunged into the work with great enthusiasm, sound judgment, and remarkable talent. Students loved him, respected him and learned from him – as did I.

In addition to mastering the mechanics of the course, Tom also mastered the material. The lectures he prepared were insightful, funny, energetic and well-received.

Tom should have lived to a ripe old age, continuing to teach and learn with the zeal that marks a great teacher and scholar. Coincidentally, highlighting that chain of transmission that links one scholarly generation to another, my graduate school adviser and mentor, David Herbert Donald, died at the age of 88, just weeks before Tom died at 33. Both left unfinished books – and resonant legacies – reminding me that great teaching turns us all into master mimics, as juniors imitate their seniors who imitated their seniors when they were juniors.

To honour Tom’s memory, all of us in the university community, professors, students, and administrators, should reflect on the importance of our TAs, as essential educational colleagues today and living links to tomorrow. And if those who control university budgets could invest more in hiring additional TAs and lowering the teacher-student ratio, that would be an ever more glowing, pragmatic, and most needed tribute to Tom Brydon, the kind of teacher we all wish we had, and the kind those of us in the education business should always aspire to be.

Gil Troy teaches history at McGill University.
© The Gazette (Montreal) 2009

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Tuesday November 25, 2008 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Canadian Consulate General in Boston

Three Copley Place, Suite 400
Boston, Massachusetts

Category: Education
McGill on the Move

The McGill Alumni Association of Boston
Extends a cordial invitation to graduates, family and friends
to attend a lecture and reception with

Gil Troy
Professor of History, McGill University

“Understanding How They Run By Seeing How They Ran:
A Historian’s Guide to the US Elections”

Once again, a hard-fought presidential campaign rages in the United States. With passions running high about Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, the 2008 election is certain to be remembered as a historic event. But to understand just how historic – and just how typical – we have to look backward as well as forward, appreciating the longstanding patterns at play as well as the unique and unprecedented situations the media likes to emphasize. Just a few weeks after the final votes are counted, McGill historian Gil Troy, author of the recently released book Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents, will explain what worked and what didn’t in the latest race to the White House.

Date: Tuesday, November 25

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Location: Canadian Consulate General in Boston
Three Copley Place, Suite 400
Copley Mall
(across from the Back Bay T and commuter rail stations)

Parking: Street parking is limited.
Copley Place parking garage costs approximately $18.

Cost: $20 USD (includes light refreshments), cash bar

RSVP: Register online at http://www.alumni.mcgill.ca/events/Troy-Boston08
For more information, call at 1-800-567-5175 x 7684 or email event.registration@mcgill.ca

Additional directions:
http://geo.international.gc.ca/can-am/boston/services/directions-en.asp

Please register by November 18.
You must pay in advance to reserve your place.

A native of Queens, New York, Gil Troy is a Professor of History at McGill and a Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, including Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady. He comments frequently about the American presidency on television and radio, and has published articles in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and USA Weeken

Ticket Info: $20.00 Buy Tickets

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McGill on the Move: Lecture with Gil Troy – SOLD OUT
(Alumni Education)

Gil Troy

Gil Troy

General information:

Description:

 

The McGill Alumni Association of Toronto extends a cordial invitation to graduates, family and friends to attend a lecture and reception with Gil Troy, Professor of History, McGill University.

“Understanding How They Run By Seeing How They Ran: A Historian’s Guide to the U.S. Elections”

Hosted by the Honourable Dwight Duncan, BA’81, Ontario Minister of Finance.

Before the lecture, please join us for an exclusive tour of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park.

6:30 pm – Tour (optional; meet in the Main Lobby)
6:30-7:30 pm – Reception
7:30 pm – Lecture

Public parking is not permitted on the grounds of the Legislative Building. Street parking is located on streets adjacent to the building, and public parking lots are available within a 10 minute walk.

Details:

 

Once again, a hard-fought presidential campaign rages in the United States. With passions running high about both Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, it’s easy to predict that this will be a historic election. But to understand just how historic – and just how typical – we have to look backward as well as forward, appreciating the longstanding patterns at play this fall as well as the unique and unprecedented situations the media likes to emphasize. To make sense of it all, McGill historian Gil Troy, author of the recently released book “Leading from the Center: Why Moderates Make the Best Presidents”, will explain the techniques each candidate is using to show that he will make the best president.

A native of Queens, New York, Gil Troy is a Professor of History at McGill and a Visiting Scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, including “Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s” and “Hillary Rodham Clinton: Polarizing First Lady”. He comments frequently about the American presidency on television and radio, and has published articles in the “Wall Street Journal”, “New York Times”, “Washington Post”, “Boston Globe” and “USA Weekend”.

Date/Time:

 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Location(s):

 

Committee Room 2,
Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Queens Park, 111 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario
CANADA

RSVP/Pre-Register:

 

August 15, 2008 to September 17, 2008

Admissions:

 

General $15.00 CAD
includes light refreshments; cash bar

 

Contact:

 

•  Toronto Alumni Office
Phone: 416-703-9795 x 223,
Email: toronto.alumni@mcgill.ca

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