by Corey Slumkoski
The Internet has had, and continues to have, a profound impact on historical practice. In an essay published in the edited volume Settling and Unsettling Memories: Essays in Canadian Public History, Sasha Mullally reinforces Roy Rosenzweig and Daniel Cohen’s contention that the internet holds the promise to “radically democratize the past.” While noting a disconnect between “scholars and public historians,” Mullally concludes that “Canadian public history on the Web exhibits diversity in authorship and content, with some excellent examples of historical creativity, and some good portal resources and impressive digital archives.” While this may be true for Canadian history writ large, it is a tougher claim to make for Atlantic Canada. As I have suggested in an article in Scholarly and Research Communication, although the democratizing nature of the internet “promised to further integrate Atlantic Canada into the national framework, this promise is not being fulfilled and Atlantic Canadian regional history is once again in danger of being subsumed into the broader, national story online.” Such once important regional websites as the Atlantic Canada Portal have fallen into disuse, and the leading practitioners of digital history are increasingly being located outside of the Atlantic region. The problems of regional marginalization that prompted some of the pioneers of Atlantic Canadian studies to found the journal Acadiensis in 1971, and that so many Atlantic Canadian scholars have since written about, seem in danger of filtering into the digital realm.
It was concerns such as this that compelled Acadiensis to revamp its online presence. In addition to a new website and greater focus on maintaining an active presence on both Facebook and Twitter, Acadiensis decided to begin this blog – one modeled in large part off the excellent example offered by ActiveHistory.ca. And we take inspiration from the print journal in our decision to conceive of Atlantic Canada and its history as broadly as possible. Just as Acadiensis focused on Atlantic Canada, but also included “within its geographic scope Gaspesia and Maine with further extensions into Central Canada and Northern New England when these seem relevant,” so too will this blog define Atlantic Canada in the broadest possible geographic terms. Like the journal, we will adopt a multidisciplinary approach and welcome not just the work of historians, but also of “anthropologists, political scientists, sociologists, or practitioners of any other discipline that will further our knowledge of the history of the Atlantic region.” Moreover, we welcome submissions from any temporal period – from those that examine the days before Native-newcomer encounter to those that engage with current events. In this manner, it is hoped that this blog can become a forum for emerging and established scholars to historicize contemporary issues, to provide brief introductions to their research, and to engage with the general public on a variety of issues and topics. In short, this blog is an effort to both democratize and popularize the history of the Atlantic region, to use web 2.0 ideologies to make up for the tragic demise of the Atlantic Canada Portal as a centre of regional scholarly and public engagement, and to promote a regional dialogue on matters of importance to Atlantic Canadian scholars and the public at large.
Content on this blog is both solicited and contributed. If you have an idea for a blog post, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We try to publish content on a weekly schedule, and are always interested in original posts and ideas from new contributors. Welcome to the Acadiensis Blog, and we hope you enjoy this exciting new chapter in the evolution of Acadiensis’ online presence.
Corey Slumkoski is an Associate Professor of History at Mount Saint Vincent University and the Digital Communications Editor for Acadiensis.
 Sasha Mullally, “Democratizing the Past? Canada’s History on the World Wide Web,” in Nicole Neatby and Peter Hodgins eds. Settling and Unsettling Memories: Essays in Canadian Public History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), 253.
 Corey Slumokski, “Regional History in a Digital Age: The Problems and Prospects of Atlantic Canada Studies,” Scholarly and Research Communication 4, 3 (2013), online version, available at: http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/viewFile/117/247
 P.A. Buckner, “Acadiensis II,” Acadiensis 1, 1 (Autumn 1971), 8-9.