As part of its mandate to promote and recognise excellence in historical research, the CHA awards a series of prizes.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2022
Benjamin Hoy, A Line of Blood and Dirt: Creating the Canada-United States Border Across Indigenous Lands
Benjamin Hoy’s A Line of Blood and Dirt: Creating the Canada-United States Border across Indigenous Lands is at once wide-ranging and sharply conceived. Drawing on a wide range of written and oral archives, Hoy examines the physical, political, and cultural making of the Canada-US border from the 1770s to the early twentieth century in beautiful and compelling prose. A Line of Blood and Dirt documents a border made in conflict, inseparable from histories of colonialism and Indigenous resistance, and designed to mean different things for different people. Hoy shows the connections between environmental and political history and histories of migration and Indigenous people, all analyzed without compromise. This is a story of settler governments, but also of the environments and ordinary people who resisted and remade them.
A Line of Blood and Dirt is a powerful reminder of the capacity of history to cast new and needed light on the present, and especially the meaning and impact of international borders. The questions the book raises are difficult and tangled ones: how legal, governmental, and diplomatic decisions can determine the practice of everyday life while those lived experiences on the ground can also defy, ignore, and complicate the decisions made by the powerful. A Line of Blood and Dirt is a powerful and timely engagement between past and present, and one that will shape how we understand international and diplomatic history, environmental history, Indigenous history, and immigration history.
Pierre Anctil, Antijudaïsme et influence nazie au Québec: cas du journal L'Action catholique (1931-1939), Les Presses de L'Université de Montréal, 2021
Catherine Larochelle, L'école du racisme: La construction de l’altérité à l’école québécoise (1830-1915 ), Les Presses de L'Université de Montréal, 2021
Martin Pâquet et Stéphane Savard, Brève histoire de la Révolution tranquille. Boréal, 2021.
Allyson Stevenson, Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the colonization of Indigenous Kinship, University of Toronto Press, 2021.
The John Bullen Prize - 2022
Colin Murray Osmond
Colin Murray Osmond, “Paycheques and Paper Promises: Coast Salish and Mi’kmaw Work and Family Life under Canadian Settler Colonialism,” PhD dissertation, University of Saskatchewan, 2021.
Colin Osmond’s dissertation is an outstanding example of community-engaged research that amply illustrates the strengths of this framework while making a substantial contribution to the scholarship on First Nations labour history and to the historical analysis of settler colonialism in two very different settings. Building on a decade of engagement with Coast Salish communities, Osmond develops a comparative study of the lived experiences of the Tla’amin people of Tišosem (present-day Sliammon) in British Columbia and the Mi’kmaw people of Piktuk (Pictou Landing) in Nova Scotia through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing in particular on the role of waged labour and the dynamics of reserve creation (without treaty making) in both locales. Drawing on extensive archival sources and oral histories, the analysis takes into account the ways both localized manifestations of settler colonialism and Indigenous cultural contexts shaped daily life and work for these Tla’amin and Mi’kmaq communities. Further, it documents the multifaceted agency and complex strategies of First Nations who mobilized tradition to survive the challenges — economic, environmental, and political — posed by colonial intrusions on their lands. Osmond balances evidence of successful adaptations and community creation with the acknowledgement that, in the end, it was the amorphous, contradictory, and ever-shifting nature of settler colonialism that undermined Tla’amin and Mi’kmaw efforts to preserve an equitable share of, and control over, the economic resources of their traditional territories.
Osmond’s sensitivity to the ethical dimensions of collaborative research, thoughtful navigation of an asymmetrical evidentiary corpus, and commitment to producing knowledge that benefits the communities involved are models for work of this kind. It is most deserving of the John Bullen prize for 2022.
Melissa N. Shaw, ‘Blackness and British “Fair Play”: Burgeoning Black Social Activism in Ontario and Its Grassroots Responses to the Canadian Colour Line, 1919-1939,’ PhD dissertation, Queen’s University, 2021.
Melissa Shaw's dissertation provides a detailed analysis into how Black Canadians experienced the colour line post-World War I in Ontario, with a focus on the roles of local community organizations in challenging anti-Black racism. Her deep analysis of these organizations unpacks their internal and external dynamics, noting the significant role of women as leaders and activists. The committee highlighted in particular, Shaw's nuanced exploration of oral history interviews, church records, activist organization records, and newspapers as a means of uncovering the debates among activists, the struggles over colourism, and the impact that involvement in these community groups had on youth. This dissertation brings post-World War I Ontario to life from a perspective often unheard: Black women who through their positions in church and other community organizations combatted anti-Black racism and helped to inculcate intra-racial solidarity and Black pride. It is for the above reasons, the committee would like to note Melissa Shaw's dissertation as an "honourable mention" for the 2022 Bullen prize.
The CHA's Teaching Prizes - 2022
Funké Aladejebi, Benjamin Hoy
Early or Alternative Career Award, Canadian history
Funké Aladejebi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. Her nomination package impressed with diverse primary source engagement across all levels of instruction, as well as an incredible dedication to mentorship, advocacy, and inclusion in her teaching. Dr. Aladejebi’s pedagogical approach masterfully incorporates skill development and contemporary application, social justice and inclusion, accessible learning models, as well as public history and engagement. The development of her two hundred level course “Black Canadian History” led to her foundational role in the creation of the Certificate in Black Canadian Studies, the first of its kind at the University of Toronto. The committee was particularly impressed with her commitment to extending primary source engagement beyond traditional archives and creating opportunities to bring public history and collaboration into her instruction. She continuously seeks to create exceptional experiences for her students, such as inviting Clement Virgo, critically acclaimed director of the series adaptation of “The Book of Negroes”, to her classroom. Above all, Professor Aladejebi demonstrates an incredible dedication to student learning and the creation of community.
Early or Alternative Career Award, other than Canadian history
The prize was not awarded this year.
Open Career State Award, Canadian history
Benjamin Hoy is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Hoy’s nomination package provides evidence of his impressive ability to make history come alive in appropriately complex ways as well as his innovative use of a wide range of primary sources in the classroom. By incorporating primary sources effortlessly into lesson plans, he allows for students to not only learn history, but learn history as historians do. Thus, he offers students the toolset and confidence necessary to explore historical questions that would otherwise seem out of reach. The committee was particularly impressed by commitment to the teaching community. Dr. Hoy attended 41 pedagogical workshops, training, and certification programs offered by the History Department, professional bodies, and the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning at USask, and he earned a second teaching certification for online teaching in 2020. He also developed two games for instructional purposes. For example, Escaping the Office of Professor Brutalis teaches students how to learn about thesis statements, grammar, plagiarism, and the Chicago Style citation system by solving puzzles. Above all, Professor Hoy demonstrates an impressive commitment to fostering community in the classroom and student learning.
Open Career State Award, other than Canadian history
The prize was not awarded this year.
The Jean-Marie Fecteau Prize - 2022
Roxanne L. Korpan
Roxanne L. Korpan, "Scriptural Relations: Colonial Formations of Anishinaabemowin Bibles in Nineteenth-Century Canada," Material Religion 17, no. 2 (2021): 147-176.
Roxanne L. Korpan’s article is a gripping interdisciplinary analysis of religious and colonial history of North America, alongside a skillfully developed material culture analysis. Korpan offers an in-depth examination of Christian bible translations done by Anishinaabe chief and Methodist minister, Kahkeaquonaby, or Peter Jones. The article expertly demonstrates how Indigenous-language bible translations not only facilitated relations between Indigenous peoples, missionaries, and colonial agents, but also represented a form of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. The article stands out because Korpan prioritizes the object history and materiality of the Indigenous-language bibles and effectively argues that religious texts reveal a distinct form of Indigenous activism. The intersection of cultural and religious history, coupled with Korpan’s compelling argument about Indigenous sovereignty, highlights the creativity in her analytical approach and the importance of her work.
Emilie Jabouin, "Black Women Dancers, Jazz Culture and 'Show Biz': Recentering Afro-Culture and Reclaiming Dancing Black Bodies in Montréal, 1920s–1950s" Canadian Journal of History 56, no. 3 (2021): 229-265.
In this successful interdisciplinary article, Emilie Jabouin offers a restorative history of Montreal jazz and its origins. Despite the powerful marginalizing mechanisms of jazz historiography and the historical record - which she convincingly exposes - Jabouin demonstrates the fundamental role of dance, and in particular the performances of Black women, in the development of jazz culture and its subsequent commercialization. The author forcefully and coherently combines historiography, visual archives and personal experience to offer a feminist and transnational cultural history of Montreal jazz in the first half of the 20th century. Emilie Jabouin's article is also a true lesson in interdisciplinary methodology as she draws on historiography, Black feminist theory, iconographic analysis and experiential knowledge to unfold her argument.
Michel Dahan, «“Tout le monde voyage” : l’agence Hone & Rivet et les débuts de l’industrie touristique au Canada (1894-1939) ». Canadian Historical Review 102, 3 (2021) : 365-389.
The history of Canadian tourism is skillfully renewed by Michel Dahan's article, which offers a multidimensional analysis of the first decades of the existence of the Hone & Rivet Agency, a pioneer company in the Canadian tourism industry. Dahan's article stands out for its original approach at the junction of the history of entrepreneurship, the history of the tourism industry, and the history of Quebec Catholicism, all of which constitute an important contribution to Quebec historiography. Using a variety of sources - newspapers, pamphlets, family archives, photographs, correspondence, religious archives - in elegant prose, Dahan shows how this Catholic enterprise prospered through its links with the ecclesiastical hierarchy and various international intermediaries. The important players in the tourism industry that the author presents to us participated in the transformations of Quebec society in the early 20th century. Dahan reveals with finesse the gendered and transnational aspects of this history.
The Wallace K. Ferguson Prize - 2022
Royden Loewen, Mennonite Farmers. A Global History of Place and Sustainability
Royden Loewen’s Mennonite Farmers is a landmark scholarly achievement of comparative history, drawing upon the efforts of the “Seven Points on Earth” research team to study agricultural communities scattered across five continents, including four in the global north and three in the global south. Examining how ‘belief influences the business of farming’, the book centers communities that share Mennonite identities but which are otherwise shaped by diverse natural environments and local cultures. The book makes effective use of its broad primary material, including its treatment of oral histories and interviews, and offers a deep dive into several wellsprings of global environmental history. It brings together past and present, asking of its subjects and its readers what it means to be good stewards of the earth.
Mennonite Farmers is sprawling yet succeeds in keeping it together. But this jury has been most struck by its depth. Vertically, Mennonite Farmers stands out as it looks at its subjects’ different answers to different soils and climates; at their relations with the modernization of global agriculture and agricultural knowledge; at their understanding of their faith and purpose on Earth; at the work of Mennonite women; at their relations with state biopower; at their experience of climate change. Throughout, Loewen presents its subjects’ views with empathy, while reminding the reader of the regional and global forces at work.
Amidst a field of books remarkable for their reading and interpretation of evidence, Mennonite Farmers stood out for its ambition and innovative scholarly achievement.
Catherine L. Evans, Unsound Empire: Civilization and Madness in Late-Victorian Law (Yale UP, 2021).
Yunxiang Gao, Arise Africa, Roar China: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century (U of North Carolina Press, 2021).
Jocelyn Hendrickson, Leaving Iberia: Islamic Law and Christian Conquest in North West Africa (Harvard UP, 2021).
Paul Kellogg, Truth Behind Bars: Reflections on the Fate of the Russian Revolution (Athabasca UP, 2021).
The Clio Prizes - 2022
Ruth Compton Bower, Catherine Larochelle, Helen Olsen Agger, Allyson Stevenson, Robert A.J. Macdonald
Ruth Compton Brouwer, All Things in Common: A Canadian Family and Its Island Utopia. University of Toronto Press, 2021.
In 1909, an extended family of Comptons, with residential hubs in Belle River and Bangor, Prince Edward Island, pooled their resources and began operating a cluster of communally owned businesses, subsequently incorporated as “B. Compton Limited.” Dispersed family members, motivated as much by employment security as ideology, returned to this Island commune from the Prairies and New England to work in enterprises that ranged from a sawmill to lobster boats to farms. In All Things in Common: A Canadian Family and Its Island Utopia, Ruth Compton Brouwer, herself a Compton descendent, eloquently and with a gracious understanding of human frailties explains that although the Comptons never called their PEI communities a “utopia,” their Island ventures held many similarities to such utopian endeavours as Sointula on Vancouver Island or Oneida in upstate New York.
In Brouwer’s skillful telling, this “Island Utopia” becomes a sweeping history of the aspirations of generations of Comptons, beginning with loyalist refugees William and Sarah Compton, who journeys included Cape Breton and the Prairies, New Brunswick and New England, before a cluster settled in Prince Edward Island. It is also a history of dissenter Protestantism, with a focus on the little-known but robust McDonaldite sect, founded by the renegade Church of Scotland missionary, Donald McDonald, on Prince Edward Island in the early 19th-century. Brouwer found his followers in dispersed parts of North America, offering their fellow sectarians a safety net in their wanderings. All Things in Common is not a sanitized or romanticized story. Rather Brouwer unflinchingly relates both the praiseworthy and the questionable, relating details of unconventional sexual and marital relations, bad business decisions, and failed aspirations. In an exemplary blending of local details and broad transatlantic and transcontinental trends, All Things in Common: A Canadian Family and Its Island Utopia is a history that will resonate with Canadians across the country, but which is still firmly anchored in the Atlantic region.
Catherine Larochelle, L’école du racisme. La construction de l’altérité à l’école québécoise (1830-1915)
For her book L’école du racisme, Catherine Larochelle fully deserves the Clio Québec 2021 Prize. The result of a remarkable research in its breadth and depth, Catherine Larochelle gives us a glimpse of the Other - the Indian, the Muslim, the Chinese - as it was presented to young Francophones and Anglophones in Quebec during a period covering almost a century. Her look at the making of racism helps us understand how, in this view of the Other, traditional linguistic divides give way instead to civilizational oppositions within the framework of an imperial vision and the rise of nationalisms. Contrary to a perception centered on Quebec, we can see through the book how students are called upon to inscribe themselves in the world, but from a racist perspective. After presenting her solid theoretical framework, the author situates us in the world, then examines this school of racism from the angle of observation (the body), the figure (the Indian), the medium (the image) and the theme (the missions). Finally, with a dense and pleasant writing style, she also demonstrates that it is possible to conduct engaged research while respecting the highest scientific criteria. In short, this book is remarkable for its innovative approach and its contribution to research on history in Quebec.
Helen Olsen Agger, Dadibaajim: Returning Home Through Narrative. University of Manitoba Press.
Dadibaajim: Returning Home Through Narrative, by Helen Olsen Agger, is an original and significant contribution to our understanding of histories rooted in Namegosibii Anishnaabe, which are connected to narratives frequently and infrequently told about the places we have come to call Ontario and Canada. It makes critical historiographical and epistemological interventions in regional and more than regional histories simultaneously.
Dadibaajim emerges from intergenerational teaching and learning relationships between Agger and her mother, Elder and language steward Dedibaayaanimanook Sarah Keesick Olsen, and a wider circle of seven Namegosibii Anishnaabe Elders. Through these relationships we learn that dadibaajim narratives are critical for understanding lived experiences of settler colonialism in Treaty 3 territory, adding a crucial human dimension to the “at all costs” approach to regional development and resource exploitation during the period from the 1930s to 1950s in northern Ontario. Critically, Agger shows that sharing her and her Elders’ knowledge isn’t simply about recovering the histories of the Namegosibii Anishinaabe or piecing together the larger important story of Anishinaabe persistence. It is about reckoning with the cultural fragments that have survived purposeful destruction, of which Canadian history as a discipline is deeply implicated, and thinking carefully about how we go about documenting and sharing histories of the past. In important ways, Dadibaajim centres Anishnaabe ways of being, and of thinking about, asking questions of, and learning from the past and present that are rooted in Anishinaabemowin, in lands and waterways, and the unique and dynamic lives and relationships of Namegosibii Anishnaabe. Agger’s frequent use of Anishinaabemowin is an especially powerful method for disrupting non-Anishnaabemowin speakers’ ways of thinking and compelling readers to inhabit the text and the world differently. Ultimately, this book is a profoundly generous offering of Namegosibii Anishinaabe dadibaajim, for which readers owe a great debt of gratitude.
Allyson D. Stevenson, Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the Colonization of Indigenous Kinship. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2021.
Allyson D. Stevenson’s Intimate Integration is a timely work that shines a light on the often-neglected topic of Indigenous transracial adoption in post-War Canada, with a particular focus on Saskatchewan. Stevenson’s meticulously researched, theoretically rooted and accessible work provides an insightful analysis of transracial adoption as a settler-colonial project that sought to dismantle Indigenous kinship systems in the pursuit of “Indigenous elimination.”
The author maps out Indigenous resistance to assimilative and genocidal policies as well as efforts to rebuild kinship ties in the wake of these policies. Stevenson’s book is a moving work infused by a sense of compassion that only enhances its sound scholarship. The author manages to weave the personal into a larger institutional story without ever losing a connection to the wider historical currents of gender, race, and settler colonialism in post-War Saskatchewan and Canada.
In a year with many excellent submissions, we are happy to recommend Allyson D. Stevenson’s Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the Colonization of Indigenous Kinship for the Clio Prize in Prairie History.
Bob McDonald, A Long Way to Paradise: A New History of British Columbia Politics.
A Long Way to Paradise is a comprehensive, nuanced analysis of how a distinctive political culture took shape in the province of British Columbia between 1871 and 1972. McDonald draws on extensive primary sources, and deftly engages the secondary literature on BC history, to provide a fresh perspective on longstanding questions about the apparent polarization of the province’s political culture. Departing from earlier studies that emphasized class, McDonald convincingly argues that ideology was at the heart of most political divisions in the province. Such divisions reflected varying perspectives on how BC should meet the changing conditions of modernity, and were grounded in competing strands of the liberalism which McDonald identifies as the “commonsense foundation of the province’s mainstream political culture.”
The book offers new insights on the many intriguing leaders and events that comprise BC political history. The approach taken is, however, far from traditional and top-down. Instead, McDonald sets forth an innovative, textured analysis of BC’s political culture – a culture that was broadly based yet contested, that varied in critical ways by region, and that was grounded in, and sustained by, patriarchy, whiteness, and the ongoing denial of citizenship rights to Indigenous and Asian peoples. Richly detailed, accessible, and engaging, A Long Way to Paradise will appeal to all who are interested in deepening their understanding of BC, and is certain to become the go-to reference work for the province’s political history for years to come.
The Clio-North prize was not awarded this year.
Public History Prize - 2021
A Seat at the Table, Awakenings, Landscapes of Injustice
1. A Seat at the Table: Chinese Immigration and British Columbia
Photo credit: Rebecca Blissett
Category: Products and Projects
A co-production: Museum of Vancouver (MOV), University of British Columbia, Chinese Canadian Museum Society of BC
Co-curators: Denise Fong, Viviane Gosselin, Henry Yu
A Seat at the Table is two connected exhibitions exploring Chinese immigration in British Columbia. Located in the community and in a traditional exhibition space, the project explores Chinese migration from multiple viewpoints using voices and artifacts from the public. Based on deep research and extensive community consultation and collaboration, “A Seat at the Table” is accessible and engaging. Food is a key part of the story and provides a through line for both projects, which invites visitors to ‘take a seat’ and engage with home video, personal stories, artifacts and public art projects. The project strikes an effective balance between challenging histories of racism and discrimination, and stories of resilience and vibrant community life. Visitors are also invited to record their personal stories as or with Chinese Canadians, providing a connection to contemporary experiences and creating an oral history archive for future researchers. Combined, the mutli-modal storytelling, community partnerships and compelling 3-D experience make “A Seat at the Table” an exceptional exhibition experience.
A Portrait in Red, 2020. A film by Alexandra Lazarowich. Aerial shot by Andrew Williamson.
Umbereen Inayet and Cheryl Blackman, Awakenings, Toronto History Museums.
Awakenings a multimedia series from the City of Toronto Museums, using music, art and performance to explore under-represented histories. Delivered online, the ambitious project features artists, performers and historians ruminating on the inter-connected histories of Torontonians of different ethnocultural and class backgrounds. It shows how places and stories seemingly connected to White settler colonial histories, have erased the presence of racialized people. “Lanes,” a film by Karimah Zakia Issa” draws a connection between 19th-century publishers William Lyon Mackenzie and Mary Ann Shadd Cary. In the film, a contemporary activist moves through the Mackenzie King House in downtown Toronto, pulling Shadd Cary back into the narrative of rebellion and protest that is located at the historic site. Videos also explore histories of race and racism through explorations of food, identity, Indigeneity, place and culture. Awakenings succeeds as a public outreach project because it connects hidden histories to contemporary debates about race and colonialism, creatively engaging the public in a dialogue about past, present and future.
3. Landscapes of Injustice
Photo Credit: Michael Abe
Jordan Stanger-Ross, lead investigator & Michael Abe, project manager
Landscapes of Injustice is a multifaceted project about the history of displacement and dispossession of Japanese Canadians. The byproduct of an impressive partnership of academic and non-academic organizations and practitioners, Landscapes applies best academic public history research and dissemination practices to bear on the problem, identifying the scope of dispossession in hopes of helping Japanese Canadians recover from these losses. The project presents a series of blog posts and online content that connect archival material to living Canadians, showing how people continue to be touched by dispossession. Other outputs of the project include a museum exhibit, resources for educators, and an academic book. Combined, this is an excellent example of historians expanding the footprint of their research beyond traditional publications to publicly-engaged projects.
Business History Book Prize - 2021
Andrea Benoit, Viva M.A.C: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of M.A.C Cosmetics (University of Toronto Press, 2019).
Andrea Benoit’s VIVA MAC: AIDS, Fashion, and the Philanthropic Practices of MAC Cosmetics is a path-breaking narrative on the creation and impact of a pioneering Canadian firm. MˑAˑC Cosmetics began in Toronto as Make-up Arts Centre and was founded by Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo. Benoit’s book reveals how the “Franks” created an entirely new business model in the global cosmetics industry, including novel methods of retailing their products. Most crucially, she shows how MˑAˑC Cosmetics seamlessly integrated genuine corporate social responsibility into its business model through tireless support of AIDS charities and activism. Benoit’s analysis is based on extensive archival sources and is firmly situated in relevant secondary literature. Her book is a tremendous work of business, social, and cultural history that will inform the research of current and future Canadian historians.
Matthew Bellamy, Brewed in the North: A History of Labatt’s, Kingston and Montréal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.
Matthew Bellamy’s Brewed in the North: A History of Labatt’s is an engaging and revealing study of the formation and development of a quintessentially Canadian company. John Labatt Limited was founded in London, Ontario as a family firm. It was shaped by wider social and economic trends such as Prohibition in the United States, and eventually became one of two dominant firms in the domestic brewing industry. Bellamy uses extensive archival materials to show how the company successfully evolved from being private and family-owned to becoming a publicly-traded firm. He also describes how globalization and consolidation of the global beer business ultimately impacted Labatt’s. Bellamy recounts the firm’s product and marketing successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses of management, and what it meant to work at Labatt’s. His book is a welcome addition to the existing Canadian business history literature and will guide historians who hope to undertake broad studies of other Canadian companies.
The Clio Prizes - 2021
Andrea Procter, Daniel Horner, Brittany Luby, L.K. Bertram, Doug Cass, Lara Campbell
Andrea Procter. A Long Journey: Residential Schools in Labrador and Newfoundland. St John’s, NL: ISER Books, 2020.
Andrea Procter’s remarkable book, A Long Journey: Residential Schools in Labrador and Newfoundland, and part of the province’s Healing and Commemoration project, is a model of engaged collaborative scholarship with the Inuit, NunatuKavut, and Innu nations of Labrador. Building on a longstanding cooperative relationship with Labradorians, Procter incorporates hundreds of hours of oral history, much of it collected by the project, and some from published accounts. She skillfully combined them with extensive archival research, particularly in the records of The International Grenfell Association, which administered three residential schools in St. Anthony, Cartwright, and North West River for the NunatuKavut, and in the records of the Moravian Church of Labrador, which administered residential schools in Makkovik and Nain for the Inuit. Her efforts yielded a book that captures diverse points of view and individual experiences of former students. Each residential school had its own history, particularly among the Moravians, who first built schools in northern Labrador in the eighteenth century.
Proctor’s commitment to listening to former students makes this book come alive with their individual voices as they tell of cruelty and kindness, work and fellowship. Dozens of photographs, many from Them Days Archive in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, convey the outsized role these educational institutions in Labrador. Procter’s efforts of inclusivity provide a respectful representation of her informants as children at the schools and as adults making sense of life defining experiences. The book’s extensive archival research in Labrador, Newfoundland, Canada and further afield draws out the differences between the Moravians and the Grenfell Association in their approach to education. The Innu, many who were Catholics or familiar with Catholicism, chose to send their children to the Mount Cashel Orphanage in St. John’s, or to the Grenfell-run school at North West Arm. Sensitive to Indigenous traditions of child raising, this book will give readers an appreciation of the challenges and resilience of these Inuit, Innu, and NunatuKavut as they were subjected to a more punitive philosophy of education. While specifically about residential schools in Labrador and Newfoundland, this book is also evocative depiction of the Indigenous peoples of the province, particularly in their homelands in Labrador, and deserves a wider readership for the stories it tells and the nuances it expresses. It can also serve as an example for others who are committed to respectful collaborations that enable Indigenous peoples, in this case with diverse cultural perspectives, to convey their understandings of their own lives in a way that models rigorous collaborative scholarship.
Daniel Horner, Taking it to the Streets. Crowds, Politics and the Urban experience in Mid-Nineteenth Century Montreal. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2020.
Dan Horner's book has merit in many ways. First, through his renewed approach to known and lesser-known archival sources, he shows us how these documents reflect the political sensibilities of the time. Second, by placing the street as a political and cultural space, he inserts into the very fabric of the city the expression and negotiation of the diverse perceptions of the time. The street thus becomes the anchor in Montreal space for the manifestations of the social issues that these interactions reflect. Finally, his reflections also contribute, through his renewed approach, to a better understanding of the role of violence in this crucial decade for the transition to the modern liberal state, the 1840s. In short, he allows us to grasp the spirit of a movement, the spirit of a time.
Brittany Luby. Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2020.
In this important and compelling work, historian Brittany Luby invites the reader to look out from the Niisaachewan Anishinaabe territory centred on the Winnipeg River and Lake of the Woods. She insists that we reconsider narratives of postwar Canadian development and prosperity, that we treat as peripheral the settler colonial newcomers who viewed the region as a resource to be exploited, and as central the Anishinabeg who treated the natural world -- and tried to treat the newcomers -- as partners in sustaining their homeland in the present and for future generations. In a series of chapters that draw on and deftly handle oral and written archives, the book explores the “cascading” impacts of hydroelectric development on a community that lived both upriver and downriver of dams, which over a century narrowed the possibilities for sustaining livelihoods and life there. Throughout, Luby describes disruptions that become obvious when we view this history, as Luby insists we must, with our feet firmly planted on and in relationship to Niisaachewan Anishinaabe territory. As importantly, Luby keeps the reader focused on the multiple responses of Anishinaabe men and women to these disruptions – their adaptive family survival strategies, efforts to work with non-Indigenous newcomers and their institutions, and diverse forms of resistance. Dammed tells an important story of a century of creative responses – some thwarted and undermined by an indifferent and exploitative settler colonial society – and, in doing so, commemorates the strength of the Niisachewan Anishinaabe Nation.
L. K. Bertram, The Viking Immigrants: Icelandic North Americans. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020.
Viking Immigrants explores the “three-dimensional” cultural history of Icelandic Immigrants to North America, most of whom settled on the Canadian prairies in the last quarter of the 19th century and connected to other Icelandic immigrant communities throughout Canada and the United States. The immigrants crafted a new identity in an effort to fit into their new North American communities, employing heroic Viking imagery and Scandinavian racial compatibility to deflect anti-immigrant status. The resulting everyday culture of cake, coffee, ghost stories, and Viking statues was, to quote a novelty button from Gimli, “made in Canada with Icelandic parts.” The book explores in particular the gendered nature of migration and makes substantial contributions to clothing and food history, leaving readers with images of the wonderful striped torte known as vinetarta and the frustrating and funny search all over Iceland for the famous cake that cannot be found.
Author L. K. Bertram extensively researched documentary sources in both Icelandic and English, as well as material culture, utilizing methods in social history and ethnography to explore the multi-sensory world of Icelandic immigrants and their descendants. Engagingly written, the book charts new paths in cultural, immigration, and cross-border histories, opening conversations with home communities. Viking Immigrants helps us understand the construction of prairies communities which worked alongside and yet distinguished themselves from neighbouring First Nations, other immigrant communities, and Anglophone elites. It transcends the categories of prairie, gender, ethnicity, and class to offer a very compelling, multifaceted analysis of the experience of being Icelandic in Canada.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Doug Cass, Glenbow Archives
Many historians acknowledge the Glenbow as their favourite archive. Doug Cass had a lot to do with creating a warm and welcoming environment. He was genuinely interested in what researchers were working on and was always helpful in ferreting out sources that enriched and expanded our work. His knowledge of the collections was unparalleled. One hour with Doug was worth a full day’s work in another archives. Over many decades, he has advised researchers working in a diverse range of fields, including histories of petroleum, labour and the working class, Indigenous peoples, the North-West Mounted Police, farming, ranching, politics, railroads, women and gender, and many more. We thank him for his energetic acquisition of manuscripts, photographs, and other archival records that made the Glenbow such an extraordinary place for researching Western Canada. As the library hours were curtailed and staff budgets threatened, Doug maintained professional advocacy for the library and archives, and for the inherent connections among all the collections. We will miss him, and the Glenbow, but we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement and hope his legacy is carried on in the new University of Calgary setting.
Lara Campbell, A Great Revolutionary Wave: Women and the Vote in British Columbia. (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2020)
A Great Revolutionary Wave is an engaging, richly textured analysis of women’s struggles for political equality in British Columbia that reshapes our understanding of women’s suffrage movements in that province while also deepening its political, social, and gender historiography. Campbell convincingly dispels the notion that women’s suffrage campaigns in BC were exclusively driven by white, middle-class reformers by highlighting the contributions of working-class, racially marginalized, socialist, and conservative individuals and groups. And by “extending suffrage” beyond 1917 (when many but not all BC women were first granted the vote) she astutely demonstrates that women’s rights varied in critical ways due to exclusionary race- and ethnicity-based government policies. Throughout, Campbell remains impressively sensitive to nuances of region and place, showing how women’s political activism for the vote and other rights was influenced by similar movements elsewhere in the world but was not merely a reproduction of them, and took shape differently in communities across BC.
The Clio-North prize was not awarded this year.
The John Bullen Prize - 2021
Bocar Niang’s study of mass broadcasting is an important reflection on the dominant role of this medium in the construction of state authority and the official ideology of negritude in the history of Senegal and of West Africa. From the introduction of the radio in 1939 by France, through the period of independence, until the 1970s when African socialism developed, radio has been an essential strategic tool in the development of political life in the country and in the affirmation of the authority of the existing power. However, as Niang demonstrates in the case of Senegal, propaganda has a particular trajectory and has undergone significant transformations. In the postcolonial context, where the official ideology favours orality and the use of national languages, the role of radio goes beyond propaganda, and Niang convincingly demonstrates that radio had several functions in the formation of public opinion.
Through a detailed study of the sound archives of Radio-Television of Senegal (RTS), of the archives of the Association colonies-sciences at the National Library of France, of several newspapers, and with the help of numerous oral interviews conducted with former hosts of the first French African radio station, Niang offers a new perspective on the role played by the media in postcolonial politics. His intervention in the history of negritude offers an innovative perspective on the development of postcolonial ideology and on the cultural revolution of black Africa. His thesis is stimulating and provocative in several ways. Situated in the era of the Black Lives Matter movement, this thesis demonstrates the important intersectionality of political, cultural and intellectual criticism in rejecting and contesting cultural assimilation.
This clearly written thesis makes an important contribution to the historiography of Senegal and French Africa as well as to postcolonial studies. It is an exceptional model of a thesis and was thus considered the most deserving PhD dissertation for the John Bullen Prize in 2020.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2021
In Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory, Brittany Luby offers a vivid and timely illustration of the embodied legacies of settler colonialism on the bodies, lands, and lives of Indigenous peoples. Her analysis of the Treaty 3 region in Northwestern Ontario centres an area usually treated as peripheral in both official decision-making and historical scholarship, and the resulting portrait of postwar hydroelectric development powerfully challenges the dominant narrative of universal post-Second World War prosperity in Canada. The book is engaging and accessibly-written, draws on deep and wide research in both oral and written sources, and makes important contributions to environmental history, women’s history, and Indigenous Studies. Along the way, Luby reveals the many ways in which the Anishinabeg of Dalles 38C Indian Reserve (who supported this research) saw their own ability to economically thrive persistently undermined by efforts designed to boost the prosperity of non-Indigenous people elsewhere in the region. As Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation chief, Lorraine Cobiness, writes in the foreword: “When we teach history, we build common ground for the process of reconciliation.” For this reason, Dammed not only represents exemplary scholarship, but deserves to be read and meditated on by audiences well beyond the historical community.
Heidi Bohaker, Doodem and Council Fire, Anishinaabe Governance through Alliance (University of Toronto Press for The Osgoode Society, 2020)
Paul-André Dubois, Lire et écrire chez les Amérindiens de la Nouvelle-France (Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2020)
Patrizia Gentile, Queen of the Maple Leaf: Beauty Contests and Settler Femininity (UBC Press, 2020)
Eric W. Sager, Inequality in Canada: The History and Politics of an Idea (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2020)
The Indigenous History Book Prize - 2021
Brittany Luby, Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory. University of Manitoba Press, 2020.
Looking out from Anishinaabe territory, Dammed: The Politics of Loss and Survival in Anishinaabe Territory is an insightful and illuminating examination of Canada’s hydroelectric boom of the 20th century. Taking place in Treaty 3 territory, Brittany Luby shows us that the postwar affluence of non-Indigenous Canadians relied on the exploitation of Indigenous resources, such as water and hydroelectricity. Focusing on the Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (also known as Dalles 38C First Nation), located between the Norman Dam and the Whitedog Falls generating station, she demonstrates that the much celebrated post-war development and economic growth experienced by many non-Indigenous Canadians resulted in a precipitous decline in living standards on reserve. Intended to serve the priorities of the settler populations and economy, governments and developers did not consult Anishinaabe peoples, the caretakers of the surrounding waters and lands. The hydroelectric stations destroyed Indigenous economies, health, and relations to the territory. The hydroelectric projects changed water levels and ecologies, diminished fish and manomin (both resources and relatives to Anishinaabeg), and allowed for methylmercury to be released into the river.
Luby draws extensively on oral histories, archival documents, and environmental observation. As recommended by the Elders of Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation, she uses the Indigenous methodology of “presence-ing” – being in the place and developing relationships with all beings, including flora, fauna, and people. She illustrates how the Anishinaabeg did not have a singular response to the colonization of their homes and traces how they adapted to, cooperated with, and passively resisted non-Indigenous occupation through individual, family, and community strategies. Her nuanced portrayal of Indigenous resistance to hydroelectric development is a powerful call for all non-Indigenous peoples living in the geographic area that has come to be known as Canada to reflect on the continued benefits drawn from past and present dispossession, and serves as a lesson for future generations about the value of their homes and how to navigate changing futures.