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Mark Humphries

Mark Humphries - Department of History, Memorial UniversityAssistant Professor
Department of History
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL A1C 5S7
Room: A1022
Phone: 709-864-6109


  • BA Wilfrid Laurier University; M.A. Wilfrid Laurier University; Ph.D. University of Western Ontario

Research Interests

Dr. Humphries' research focuses on the fields of war and health, gender and conflict, and military operations in the First World War era. He believes that military history should be written comparatively within a global or transnational context and that both the battlefield and home fronts should be approached from a war and society perspective. This means employing the methods and frameworks adopted by social, cultural, and intellectual historians to answer new questions about how conflict shapes and is shaped by society. It also means building bridges to the larger historical community and embracing a variety of perspectives and approaches.

Mark is currently finishing a book on shell shock in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and continues to publish the series Germany's Western
Front: Translations from the German Official History of the Great War. He is currently principle investigator on a major SSHRC funded project 'Through Veteran's Eyes: Digital Approaches to the Hidden Histories of Veterans, Families, and the State 1918 - 2000' along with co-investigators Cynthia Comacchio and Terry Copp.

Master's Fellowships in War, Health, and Canadian Veterans

As part of a larger SSHRC funded project titled Through Veteran's Eyes:

Digital Approaches to the Hidden Histories of Veterans, Families, and the State 1918 - 2000, the Department of History at Memorial University and Wilfrid Laurier University will be offering four one-year fellowships valued at $20,000 each for students interested in studying projects in the following fields:

. The history of shell shock, PTSD, and war trauma

. The history of First World War veterans and their families

. Medicine, Health and the First World War

In this exciting project, Mark Humphries (Memorial), Cynthia Comacchio (WLU), and Terry Copp (WLU) will be using newly available pension files from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VAC) to study how the experience of war shaped the lives of First World War veterans and their families. When 620,000 Canadians joined the military during the First World War, they began a life-long relationship with the Canadian state that produced files documenting their experiences from youth to death. These contain regular home visit reports, yearly household balance sheets, detailed household inventories, and voluminous medical records as well as the voices of veterans and their families. In short, they record the lives of Canadians down to the smallest detail. These files will allow students to examine a variety of topics in the fields of health and war as well related topics in working-class history, the history and treatment of specific diseases, family stability, the gendered economy, and minority experiences. There is, quite simply, no comparable group of records from which to write the social history of twentieth century Canada.

Successful fellows will receive $20,000 in total funding (including any Teaching Assistantships). They will also be provided with up to $2,500 of additional travel funding to undertake archival research on behalf of the team and to assist in the completion of their own major research paper at Veterans Affairs headquarters in Charlottetown, PEI, Library and Archives Canada, or another archival related to the team's research project and/or the student's interests. Each successful applicant will also be provided with funding to attend the 26th Canadian Military History Colloquium in May 2015. Fellowships will be awarded on a competitive basis, as space and supervisory expertise allows at each institution, and students will be free to choose their own research topics within the broad subject areas outlined above. Both institutions offer a one year master's program.

If you are interested in applying for a fellowship, please contact me using the information at the top of this page.

2013 Student Recruitment Poster

Current Research Funding

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Insight Grant, April 2013 to March 2018, ($400,000) - Through Veterans' Eyes: New Approaches to the Digital History of Veterans and their Families (Co-Applicants: Terry Copp and Cynthia Comacchio, WLU)

Memorial University Office of Research Special Research Award, April 2013 to March 2017 ($100,000)

Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, April 2013 to March 2017 ($100,000)

Memorial University School of Graduate Studies Special Graduate Funding, April 2013 to March 2018 ($157,000)


Mark Humphries, The Last Plague: Spanish Influenza and the Politics of Public Health. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.

Mark Humphries and Terry Copp, Combat Stress in the 20th Century: the Commonwealth Experience. Kingston: Canadian Defence Academy, 2011.

Mark Humphries and John Maker (editors) with a forward by Hew Strachan, Germany's Western Front: Translations from the German Official History of the Great War, 1915. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2010.

Mark Humphries and John Maker (editors) with a forward by Hew Strachan, Germany's Western Front: Translations from the German Official History of the Great War, 1914, Part I. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013.

Mark Humphries (editor), The Selected Papers of Sir Arthur Currie: Diaries, Letters, and Report to the Ministry, 1917-1933. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008.

Select Articles and Book Chapters

'Willfully and With Intent: Self-Inflicted Wounds and the Negotiation of Power in the Trenches,' Histoire Sociale/Social History 47, 92 (November 2014): In Press.

'Paths of Infection: The First World War and the Origins of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic,' War in History, 20, 4 (Fall 2013): In Press.

'A Calamity from which no Relief can be expected': Empire, Authority, and Civilian Responses to the French Occupation of Newfoundland, June-September 1762,' Acadiensis XLII, 2 (Summer/Fall 2013): In Press.

'Terry Copp's Approach to History,' in Canada and the Second World War:

Essays in Honour of Terry Copp, Geoffrey Hayes, Michael Bechthold, and Matt Symes, eds. (Waterloo: WLU Press, 2012), 15-32.

'The Limits of Necessity: Public Health, Dissent, and the War Effort during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic,' in Esyllt Jones and Magda Fahrni, eds.

Epidemic Encounters: Influenza, Society, and Culture in Canada, 1918-20 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012), 21-47.

'War's Long Shadow: Masculinity, Medicine and the Gendered Politics of Trauma, 1914-1939,' Canadian Historical Review 91, 3 (September 2010): 503-531.

(with Kellen Kurchinski) 'Rest, Relax, and Get Well: Re-Conceptualising Great War Shell Shock Treatment,' War & Society (Australia) 27, 2 (2008): 89-110.

'Old Wine in New Bottles: A Comparison of Canadian and British Preparations for the Battle of Arras,' in Geoff Hayes, Andrew Iarocci and Michael Bechthold, (eds.) Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007, 65-86.

'The Horror at Home: the Canadian Military and the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918,' Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 16 (2005): 231-265.