The Portuguese Canadian History Project | Projeto de História Luso Canadiana (PCHP | PHLC) is an incorporated, non-profit, community outreach organization founded in 2008 by Gilberto Fernandes (Ph.D. History, York University) and Susana Miranda (Ph.D. History, York University), and later joined by Raphael Costa (Ph.D. History, York University) and Emanuel da Silva (Ph.D. Sociolinguistics, University of Toronto). Its objectives are to:
1. Preserve the collective memory of Portuguese immigrants and their descendants in Canada.
2. Democratize access to historical knowledge, both in its consumption and production.
As young scholars researching the history of Portuguese immigrants in Canada, we encountered a scarcity of records pertaining to this group in public archives. But in the course of our fieldwork, we discovered that many individuals and organizations in had amassed a wealth of archival records of great value to uncovering that community’ʹs history. Despite their best efforts, these collections were not maintained in optimal preservation conditions, and in some cases were partially destroyed. The PCHP emerged in response to this reality and it has since worked to bridge the gap between public archives, university departments, and immigrant communities.
We believe that historiography, even that which is produced “from below,” remains inaccessible to most. Without undermining the importance of academic publications, we believe it is imperative for historians to explore other forms of communication in order to engage wider audiences and disseminate historical knowledge.
Since September 2009, the PCHP | PHLC has partnered with the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, York University Libraries (CTASC), with whom we have developed an exceptional synergy. We have enriched the CTASC’ʹs holdings by facilitating the donation of archival records from entities associated with Toronto’s Portuguese community. Besides preserving the records for present and future generations, and making them available for consultation at Scott Library, the CTASC continues to digitize the PCHP | PHLC’s collections and make them easily and freely accessible online. Together, we have developed various public history and digital humanities initiatives that have connected with the general public. Educators, researchers, and students can use these as tools for learning or teaching migration, ethnicity, class, gender, politics, and other social and cultural subjects pertaining to Portuguese immigrants and descendants in Canada. Our online exhibits can be seen here.
In November 2015, the PCHP became associated with the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University, through the hiring of our co-founder and president Gilberto Fernandes as postdoctoral visitor, whose responsibilities include implementing the PCHP’s strategic plan, released in 2015.
The PCHP | PHLC can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the archivist Anna St. Onge, at 416 736 2100 ext. 22374, email@example.com. You can also follow us on Twitter (@PCHP_PHLC) or join our Facebook group (Portuguese Canadian History Project).