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Research on the history of sanctuary in Canada

August 6, 2017

Posted on behalf of Laura Madokoro:

My name is Laura Madokoro and I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University.

I am currently undertaking new research on the history of sanctuary in Canada from the 1800s to the present. I am looking at both religious and secular acts of sanctuary, meaning the tradition of protection offered by Judeo-Christian churches and other religious institutions as well as protection offered by ethnic and local communities in the face of state efforts to arrest, prosecute or deport individuals for various reasons.

To date, my research team has uncovered dozens of sanctuary by exploring digitized historical newspapers from across the country available on line. However, I believe the bulk of the relevant material related to sanctuary rests in the local communities where sanctuary offers once took place.

I am writing to you in the hopes that you might assist me with this research by disseminating my email to members of your association. I am most interested in learning about any sanctuary offers that might be captured in archival / museum / library holdings and would appreciate guidance on searching these holdings. I also suspect that many stories of sanctuary are not captured in archival repositories but rather are housed in the memories of people who live and work in the communities where sanctuary once took place. I would therefore appreciate any assistance in terms of tracking down local histories / local lore.

I would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have. I can be reached at

Sincerely, and with many thanks,

Laura Madokoro

Assistant Professor
Department of History and Classical Studies
McGill University


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