Will Langford

Assistant Professor

Langford square 2 2021

Email: w.langford@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-2011
Fax: 902-494-3349
Mailing Address: 
Room 1158, Marion McCain Building 6135 University Ave. PO Box 15000 Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Canadian History
  • Political Activism and Social Movements
  • Development and Environmental History


  • B.A., University of British Columbia, 2009.
  • M.A., University of British Columbia, 2011.
  • Ph.D., Queen's University, 2017.

Professional Employment
SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History, Dalhousie University, 2017-2019.
Grant Notley Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta, 2019-2021.
Assistant Professor, Department of History and College of Sustainability, Dalhousie University, 2021-

Research Interests
A historian specializing in twentieth-century Canada, Will Langford is interested in political activism, social movements, environmental change, and transnational connections.  His first book is a history of development programs that approached the problem of ending poverty through empowering poor people and trying to create a more meaningful democracy.  He is currently working on a history of right-wing political movements in late twentieth-century Canada.

Selected Publications
The Global Politics of Poverty in Canada: Development Programs and Democracy, 1964-1979. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2020. *Honourable Mention, 2020 Wilson Book Prize, L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History.

"'Will Freedom Survive?': Reconstruction, Self-Disciplined Democracy and the Stirring of a New Right in Canada, 1943-1954." In Constant Struggle: Histories of Canadian Democratization, edited by Julien Mauduit and Jennifer Tunnicliffe, Ch.9. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2021.

“International Development and the State in Question: Liberal Internationalism, the New Left, and Canadian University Service Overseas in Tanzania, 1963-1977.” In Undiplomatic History: The Study of Canada in the World, edited by Asa McKercher and Philip Van Huizen, 184-205. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.

“Trans-Atlantic Sheep, Regional Development, and the Cape Breton Development Corporation, 1972-1982,” Acadiensis 46, no. 1 (2017): 24-48. https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/Acadiensis/article/view/25749

“Jean Lagassé, Community Development, and the ‘Indian and Métis Problem’ in Manitoba in the 1950s-60s,” Canadian Historical Review 97, no. 3 (2016): 346-376. https://doi.org/10.3138/chr.97.3.Langford

“Friendship Centres in Canada, 1959-1977,” American Indian Quarterly 40, no. 1 (2016): 1-37. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/605546/summary

“Gerald Sutton Brown and the Discourse of City Planning Expertise in Vancouver, 1953-1959,” Urban History Review/Revue d’histoire urbaine 41, no. 2 (2013): 30-41. https://doi.org/10.7202/1015379

“‘Is Sutton Brown God?’ Planning Expertise and the Local State in Vancouver, 1953-1972,” BC Studies 173 (Spring 2012): 11-39. https://doi.org/10.14288/bcs.v0i173.2371

History Blog Posts
“The Early History of Neoliberalism in Canada during World War II,” Beyond Borders: The New Canadian History, L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History, 1 February 2021, https://thenewcanadianhistory.com/2021/02/01/the-early-history-of-neoliberalism-in-canada-during-world-war-ii/

“Congress 2020, Interrupted: Racism and Commemoration in Western University’s Department of History,” Active History, 5 May 2020, https://activehistory.ca/2020/05/congress-2020-interrupted-racism-and-commemoration-in-western-universitys-department-of-history/

“Congress 2020, Interrupted: Racism, Academic Freedom, and the Far Right, 1970s-1990s,” Active History, 28 April 2020, https://activehistory.ca/2020/04/congress-2020-interrupted-racism-academic-freedom-and-the-far-right-1970s-1990s/

“Congress 2020, Interrupted: A Brief History of University Codes of Conduct,” Active History, 21 April 2020, https://activehistory.ca/2020/04/congress-2020-a-brief-history-of-university-codes-of-conduct/

With Lachlan MacKinnon and Andrew Parnaby, “Allan J. MacEachen and Cape Breton Island: A Transient Legacy?” Acadiensis Blog, 23 November 2017, https://acadiensis.wordpress.com/2017/11/23/allan-j-maceachen-and-cape-breton-island-a-transient-legacy/

Winter 2023 Office Hours 

  • Friday, 1:00-3:00
  • By appointment

Teaching 2021-2022

  • HIST 3282F: Public History

  • HIST 3502W: Topics in Global History: Environmental History

  • SUST 1000F: What is Sustainability?

  • SUST 1400W: Exploring Sustainability