Will Langford

Assistant Professor

Langford square 1 2023

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 of Canadian History

Apartheid Internationalism: Canadian Activism in Defence of White Rule in Southern Africa, 1965-1994,” Canadian Historical Review 104, no. 2 (2023): 198-226.

A Common Situation? Canadian Technical Assistance and Popular Internationalism in Tanzania, 1961-1981,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 15, no. 2 (2021): 317-338.

“‘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, eds. Julien Mauduit and Jennifer Tunnicliffe (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021), 264-296.

“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 New Study of Canada in the World, eds. Asa McKercher and Philip Van Huizen (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019), 184-205.

Trans-Atlantic Sheep, Regional Development, and the Cape Breton Development Corporation, 1972-1982,” Acadiensis 46, no. 1 (2017): 24-48.

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.

Friendship Centres in Canada, 1959-1977,” American Indian Quarterly 40, no. 1 (2016): 1-37.

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

‘Is Sutton Brown God?’ Planning Expertise and the Local State in Vancouver, 1953-1972,” BC Studies 173 (2012): 11-39.

Popular Writing

With Catherine Carstairs, “The High Cost of Inadequate Funding for Grad Students,” University Affairs, 3 January 2023.

Les theses d’histoire au Québec (2016-2022): survol,” Histoire engagée, 22 novembre 2022.

The Academic Job Market: Tenure-Track Assistant Professors in History in Canada,” Active History, 25 October 2022.

Time to Completion of History PhDs in Canada,” Active History, 20 October 2022.

Recent History PhDs in Canada, by the Numbers,” Active History, 18 October 2022.

The Early History of Neoliberalism in Canada during World War II,” Beyond Borders: The New Canadian History, L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian, 1 February 2021.

Congress 2020, Interrupted: Racism and Commemoration in Western University’s Department of History,” Active History, 5 May 2020.

Congress 2020, Interrupted: Racism, Academic Freedom, and the Far Right, 1970s-1990s,” Active History, 28 April 2020.

Congress 2020, Interrupted: A Brief History of University Codes of Conduct,” Active History, 21 April 2020.


With Catherine Carstairs, Sam Hossack, Tina Loo, Christine O’Bonsawin, Martin Paquet, John Walsh, Report on the Future of the History PhD in Canada, 6 October 2022.

Winter 2024 Office Hours 

  • Online Fridays, 1:00-3:00 
  • By appointment

Teaching 2023-2024

  • HIST 2240W French Canada
  • HIST 2920W Environmental History
  • HIST 3282F Public History
  • SUST 1000F What is Sustainability?
  • SUST 1400W Exploring Sustainability