Sept. 16, 2021
An Empty Grave: Grief and Mourning on the Canadian Home Front in the First World War
Congratulations to Tracy Iverson on successfully defending her History MA thesis, "An Empty Grave: Grief and Mourning on the Canadian Home Front in the First World War."
Her committee members included Dr. David Marshall (Supervisor), Dr. Lyndsay Campbell, Dr. Anne Moore, and Dr. John Ferris (Neutral Chair).
We asked Tracy to provide us with some insight into her thesis, and her graduate studies experience in the Department of History at the University of Calgary.
Tell us about your thesis topic.
My thesis argues that the First World War brought a significant disruption to rituals surrounding death, specifically concerning the lack of access to the bodies of the deceased, and forced Canadians to adapt existing rituals and create new rituals with respect to the mass deaths of Canadian Soldiers in the First World War. Many of the adaptations to rituals and the creation of new rituals were based on myths which employed the religious language of sacrifice as a way to justify the deaths at the front, which allowed Canadians to process and grieve their losses while continuing to support the war.
What was the most valuable outcome of the Graduate program for you?
The most valuable outcome of the Graduate program for me was that I was able to develop my critical thinking skills. The further development of my critical thinking skills has allowed me to accept criticism, identify and participate in thoughtful debate, and consider other opinions without feeling defensive. I feel I have become a much better researcher and writer, while being able to recognize the value in opinions and arguments that differ from my own.
What are the next steps/plans for you?
I will be starting the Secondary Education Program at St. Mary’s University this Fall (2021) to earn my teaching certificate and embark on a career teaching High School Social Studies. I would also like to continue writing about Canadian history.