The J.J. Talman Lecture Series

The Legend of the Wawa Hitchhiker: Youth Mobility in the Hippie Generation

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 via Zoom

3:30pm - 5:00pm

Our 2021-2022 Speaker

Image of Linda Mahood

Professor Linda Mahood

Linda Mahood is Professor of History at the University of Guelph where she specializes in the social history of Britain and Canada. She is the author of several books: The Magdalenes: Prostitution in the Nineteenth Century (1989); Policing Gender, Class and Family, Britain 1850-1940 (1996); Feminism and Voluntary Action: Eglantyne Jebb and Save the Children, 1876-1928 (2009); and, most recently, Thumbing a Ride: Hitchhiking, Hosteling, and Counterculture in Canada (2018). Since 2018, Professor Mahood has also served as Editor of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth (Johns Hopkins).

In 1969, Pierre Trudeau’s government struck a task force to investigate why thousands of young people with backpacks, beads, and long bushy hair were hitchhiking along the Trans-Canada Highway. This talk looks at Ontario’s response to the “transient youth” movement through the lens of what a hitch and hostel holiday meant to restless teenagers and twenty-somethings. It questions adult intervention in youth culture and how hitchhiking as a rite of passage for baby-boomers turned youth travel into a pressing social issue. 

About the J.J. Talman Lecture Series

image of J.J. TalmanPresented by the Department of History and Western Libraries

The J.J. Talman Lecture Series focuses on Ontario history, Ontario regional collections and innovative uses thereof, or previously unstudied aspects of Canadian history.

Reflecting the breadth of Dr. Talman’s career at Western, as a respected historian and Chief Librarian, the lectures are organized annually by a joint committee comprised of representatives from the Department of History and Western Libraries.

The J.J. Talman Lecture Series was envisioned and is funded by Raj Jain, Librarian Emerita, and her brother, Dr. Sushil Jain, in gratitude for Dr. Talman’s many personal kindnesses, and to recognize his substantial contribution to Western.

Past Talman Lectures

Year Lecturer Lecture Title
2020 Dr. David Koffman Unsettling Ethnic History: Jewish Indigenous Encounters in Canada
2019 Dr. Barrington Walker The Honourable Leonard Braithwaite: The Imprint of a Black Canadian Legal Pioneer on the History of Modern Ontario
2017 Prof. Constance Backhouse Viola Desmond: Her Historic Challenge to Race Segregation in Canada and Her Appearance on Our $10 Note
2015 Prof. Jane Errington 'A burthen to the community'? J.B. Hawke and Managing Migration to Upper Canada
2013 Prof. Alan Taylor Settling and Unsettling Borders: Continental Legacies of the War of 1812.
2012 Dr. Cecilia Morgan "Among the Six Nations": Celia B File and the Politics of Writing Memory, History and Home in Southern Ontario, 1920s-1960s
2011 Dr. Tim Cook Ghosts from the Trenches: Stories of the Supernatural and the Uncanny among Canada's Great War Trench Soldiers
2009 Dr. Carl Benn Mohawks in the Sudan War, 1884-85
2008 Dr. Peter Neary From War to Peace: Canada in the 1940s


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