Goodman Lecture Series

Goodman Poster
View/Download Full Sized Poster

2017 Lecture Details

In these lectures, Charlotte will explore the appeal of popular history. From 1066 And All That to Canada, The Story of Us, narrative history aimed at a general audience has always reflected contemporary concerns while incorporating the work of scholars. She will focus on some of the most successful popular historians in both Britain and Canada, and their relationships – often constructive, sometimes contentious -- with university-based historians. She will also trace the shifting Canadian narrative as portrayed on film and television. As Canada marks 150 years since Confederation, what role has history played in the celebrations? How has Charlotte’s own contribution to the celebrations reflected a twenty-first perspective on the past?

About our 2017 Speaker

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s best-known biographers and writers of popular histories. Author of ten acclaimed books of literary non-fiction, her most recent best-seller is The Promise of Canada: 150 Years – People And Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country. She is also the author of The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country which won or was nominated for most major Canadian non-fiction awards.

Her award-winning bestseller Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention is currently in production as a television miniseries. The television miniseries, Klondike, broadcast on Canadian and US Discovery Channel in January 2014, was based on Charlotte’s 2010 award-winning bestseller Gold Diggers, Striking It Rich in the Klondike. Gold Diggers is also the basis for a PBS documentary. Sisters in the Wilderness, which Charlotte published in 1999, was named as one of the 25 most influential Canadian books of the past 25 years by the Literary Review of Canada.

Born in Sheffield, and educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, Charlotte worked as a political commentator, book reviewer and magazine columnist before she turned to biography and popular history. An adjunct research professor at Carleton University, in Ottawa, she holds five honorary degrees and is a member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She lives in Ottawa.

About the Joanne Goodman Lecture Series

Presented by the Department of History and University Students' Council

Every autumn a distinguished historian is invited to the University of Western Ontario to deliver three public lectures on consecutive afternoons to students, faculty and members of the London community. The lecture series was established in 1975 by the Honourable Edwin A. Goodman and his family of Toronto to perpetuate the memory of their beloved elder daughter, a second year History student who died in a highway accident in April of that year. Since 1976 the series has been jointly sponsored by the Department of History and the University Students' Council.

The theme of the series is the history of the Atlantic Triangle (Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom). The first lectures were given in 1976 by the leading Canadian military historian, Colonel Charles Stacey, on 'Mackenzie King and the Atlantic Triangle'. Occasionally there have been lectures outside the general framework. In 1995, for example, the topic was 'The Birth of the "New" South Africa', tracing the collapse of apartheid and the construction of a new political and social system since 1990, by Rodney Davenport, a South African historian and opponent of apartheid.

The endowment also supports publication so that these important lectures may be shared by a readership well beyond the immediate audience at the University of Western Ontario. Most of the lectures have been published as books, either in a form similar to lectures or as part of a larger work. The lectures are widely recognized as being the most important history lecture series in Canada. The invitation to deliver them and the publications that result are highly regarded in this country and around the world.

Past Speakers

To see a list of our past Goodman Lecturers, click here. Many of the lectures are also available as books, please click here for a list.

In The News

(Sept 21, 2016) Western News - "Making a Middle Ages connection in politics" [Read Article]
(Sept 20, 2012) Western News - "Goodman Lectures create a legacy from tragedy" [Read Article]
(Sept 24, 2017) The Gazette - "Popular history comes to 2017 Joanne Goodman Lectures" [Read Article]


Contact the History Department at if you require information in an alternate format, or if any other arrangments can make this event accessible to you. For a campus accessibility map please visit: