The Eugene A. Forsey Prize - 2021
Mathieu Houle-Courcelles, « “Ni Rome, ni Moscou” : l’itinéraire des militants communistes libertaires de langue française à Montréal pendant l’entre-deux-guerres », thèse de doctorat, Université Laval - Université Paris 1, 2020.
This dissertation examines the little-studied libertarian Communists of Montréal, from 1906 to 1937. Through a collective biography, or prosopography, of over 300 participants in this politically diverse milieu, Houle-Courcelles analyzes not only the politics of libertarian communism, but also the social and economic lives of its adherents. Using a creative methodology that combines traditional social history methods with digital humanities, Houle-Courcelles documents the evolving occupational, gender, ethnic, and household characteristics of the movement. Throughout, the findings are expertly situated within the context of pre-war Montréal and within the historiography of the Quebec, Canadian, and global lefts, to which the thesis makes an important contribution.
Mason Godden, “That ‘70s Strike Support: Labour, Feminism, and the Left in three Ontario Strikes, 1972-1979,” M.A. Thesis, Trent University, 2019.
Godden’s thesis focuses on three case studies of strikes in Ontario between 1972 to 1979, during a crucial decade for workers and their communities. His analysis incorporates extensive primary and secondary sources including archival documents and oral history. This thesis is a welcome addition to the corpus of post-Second World War Canadian labour and working-class history.
The Wallace K. Ferguson Prize - 2021
Rachel Hope Cleves
Rachel Hope Cleves’ Unspeakable : A Life Beyond Sexual Morality has stunned this jury. In its exposition of Norman Douglas's lifelong, self-consciously shameless pursuit of sex with children, this book accomplishes several significant feats, even amid a bumper crop of impressive scholarship. For its archival work spanning many types of documents and places, its pioneering use of children’s letters, its layered appeals to theory and secondary sources, and its smart, sensitive, elegant writing… for these virtues only, this book would be prizewinning.
But on a broader plane, Unspeakable is particularly timely as we now reconsider the ‘art of bad men’, grapple with permitting freedom of speech for even ‘the unspeakable’, and struggle to recognize the power imbalances that structure sexual encounters in ways that complicate discourses of ‘consent’. The book defamilarizes such “familiar events” as early twentieth-century sexuality and the cosmopolitan world of letters, bringing to life a culture of post-war hedonism and sexual adventurism that invoked the allure of the pagan past to exploit the poverty and dislocation of children in a rapidly changing Europe. It forces the reader to historicize both moral norms to which they cling and the language of ‘monstrosity’ that pushes some kinds of harm outside the society that produces them. Rachel Hope Cleves risked a great deal in telling this story about intergenerational sex. The result is a gripping, heart-breaking biography that explodes the genre’s conundrum of sympathy for its subject.
Katie Hindmarch-Watson, Serving a Wired World: London's Telecommunications Workers and the Making of an Information Capital (U. of California Press)
David Monod, Vaudeville and the Making of Modern Entertainment, 1890-1925 (U. of North Carolina Press)
Ishita Pande, Sex, Law, and the Politics of Age: Child Marriage in India, 1891-1937 (Cambridge University Press)
Despina Stratigakos, Hitler’s Northern Utopia: Building the New Order in Occupied Norway (Princeton University Press)
Best Scholarly Article in Canadian Business History - 2021
Sarah Elvins & Janis Thiessen
Sarah Elvins, “Lady Smugglers and Lynx-Eyed Customs Agents: Gender, Morality, and Cross-Border Shopping in Detroit and Windsor”. CHR, Volume 101 Issue 4, December 2020, pp. 497-521
This article offers a brilliant look at what Canadians and Americans have historically viewed as consumer necessities, and why. It also enables in-depth understandings of the lengths to which many consumers have gone to obtain foreign goods. By showing that Canadians and Americans regularly crossed the Detroit-Windsor border to buy items on each side between 1900 and 1960, Elvins reveals that when it came to material entitlement, consumers in both countries viewed their own countries’ laws as irrelevant. Ignoring customs regulations and risking fines, female shoppers, especially, purchased such items as meat, butter, and clothing on both sides of the border, and attempted to smuggle such items home, in a variety of ways. Revealing not only the gendered aspects of cross-border shopping, but also the motivations compelling such shoppers to break laws, this article makes a highly original and innovative contribution.
Janis Thiessen, “The Narrative Turn, Corporate Storytelling, and Oral History: Canada’s Petroleum Oral History Project and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Call to Action No. 92”. Enterprise and Society, 20, 1 (March 2019): 60-73.
This is an excellent, necessary, and important article on the pressing need for business historians to engage with the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada: Calls to Action report, particularly the call to action number 92, on the importance of adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a “reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and … activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources.” In particular, argues Thiessen, corporate historians must engage in oral history work with Indigenous Peoples. Such partnerships will help reveal the role that business has played in resource development on Indigenous lands, and the impacts and profits, among other effects, that such developments have generated. By adopting this 92nd call to action, business historians will offer more critical, thorough, and fulsome histories of the companies and other entities that they study. They will also help to bring the goals of truth of reconciliation more centrally into their research, findings, and practice.
Network in Canadian History and Environment Prize for Best Article or Book Chapter - 2021
Shannon Stunden Bower
Shannon Stunden Bower, “Irrigation Infrastructure, Technocratic Faith, and Irregularities of Vision: Canada’s Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration in Ghana, 1965– 1970,” Agricultural History 93: 2 (2019), 311-340.
Shannon Stunden Bower’s brilliant analysis of the myriad shortcomings of Canadian development projects in postcolonial Ghana is a reminder that environmental history transcends national borders. This transnational case study focuses on damming and irrigation projects pursued by the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA)—first established in 1935 in response to drought and economic depression in the Canadian Prairie provinces—in Ghana’s northern hinterland region during the politically turbulent late 1960s. By showing how the legacy of PFRA officials acting as agents of settler colonialism in the Canadian West during the early twentieth century deeply shaped the institution’s myopic approach to water conservation and agricultural development work in West Africa, Stunden Bower points to contrasting but linked forms of colonialism between the global north and the global south.
Tensions quickly arose between PFRA workers and locals due to a range of factors—from Cold War-era pressures to outpace the Soviet Union in modernizing newly independent states to the fact that Canadian engineers who relocated their entire families to northern Ghana were more concerned with recreating the comforts of home than in learning about the specificities of the region’s land-use practices, ecology, or hydrology. As a result, PFRA recommendations tended to revert to lessons learned decades earlier in arid North American prairielands without sufficient adaptation to local circumstances or input from local experts. After a few frustrating years, the PRFA withdrew from northern Ghana, leaving its work unfinished. Not only did these incomplete projects represent the failure of the PRFA, but they also contributed to an increased prevalence of contagious diseases in the region. In crafting her argument, Stunden Bower incorporates the history of climate, disease, engineering, Cold War diplomacy, and decolonization while engaging critically with the intersections of race, environment, and international development studies. While there are many studies of natural flows across the Canadian border (migratory birds, water, pollution), Stunden Bower’s article should serve as an important wake up call to Canadian environmental historians, imploring them to consider the environmental changes that Canadian government, military, and corporations have wreaked abroad.
The Indigenous History Best Article Prize - 2021
Victor P. Lytwyn & Dean M. Jacobs
Victor P. Lytwyn and Dean M. Jacobs, “Naagan ge bezhig emkwaan: A Dish with One Spoon Reconsidered”. Ontario History, Volume 112, Issue 2, Fall 2020, p. 191–210.
In “Naagan ge bezhig emkwaan: A Dish with One Spoon Reconsidered” Victor P. Lytwyn and Dean M. Jacobs reveal how land acknowledgements premised on faulty historical understandings of Indigenous land relationships serve to undermine contemporary Indigenous land rights and sovereignty. Rigorously sourced and expansive in historical scope, this article contributes both to Anishinaabe political and diplomatic histories, as well as to vital contemporary questions around the potentially negative implications of land acknowledgements. The authors provide a thoroughly researched example of the importance of understanding the grounded specificities of Indigenous treaties as international agreements that regulate and enact sovereign decision-making over territory, both historically and in the present. In this way, the award-winning article affirms the historical importance and long-standing realities of Indigenous governance and ways of relating to the land as well as other nations.
The Hilda Neatby Prize - English Article - 2020
Ashleigh Androsoff. "The Trouble with Teamwork: Doukhobor Women’s Plow Pulling in Western Canada, 1899". Canadian Historical Review, 100(4), 540–563.
With her insightful analysis of the images of Doukhobor women performing heavy physical labour normally assigned to men or draft animals, Dr. Androsoff demonstrates how these images disrupted the traditional narratives of settler experiences in the colonial West at a time when first-wave feminists were arguing for improvements to women’s rights in Canada. Enriching our understandings of western history, she explores the motivations for the women to engage in this physically demanding “masculine” work, proving that they were resourceful and good agriculturalists. In so doing, Dr. Androsoff offers a unique contribution to the history of gender, culture and settler communities in western Canada.
The Clio Prizes - 2020
Bonnie Morgan, Marie-Eve Ouellet, Carl Benn, Esyllt W. Jones, Bill Waiser, Wendy Wickwire, Karen Routledge.
Bonnie Morgan. Ordinary Saints: Women, Work, and Faith in Newfoundland. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019.
Ordinary Saints is a richly detailed study of lived religiosity among working-class Anglican women in the parishes of Foxtrap and Hopewell in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Using an impressive array of primary material — including private diaries, published journals, newspapers, literary works, church periodicals, census data, heretofore unexamined organizational minutes, and interviews — Morgan explores how working women lived, interpreted, reinterpreted, and expressed religiosity in their daily lives as they coped with, resisted, and adapted to a changing social world. Through a careful reading of these materials and a keen anthropological focus on how rituals, folklore, symbolism, the politics of space, and material culture both intersect and stand in a mutually constitutive relationship with broad political and economic transformations, Morgan was able to move away from the tradition emphasis in religious history on clerical elites and institutions. Crisply written and carefully argued, Ordinary Saints constitutes a major contribution to Newfoundland studies, to women’s studies, and to a wider and more densely peopled rethinking of the history of religion.
Marie-Eve Ouellet. Le métier d’intendant en France et en Nouvelle-France au XVIIIe siècle. Septentrion, 2018.
Marie-Eve Ouellet's book is original and innovative. It offers a detailed analysis of the workings of the state in the era of New France. Three complementary factors make this work meritorious. First, the comparative approach adopted by the author identifies the similarities and particularities of the intendant's function in New France in comparison with two other regions of the French kingdom, namely Brittany and Touraine, while not excluding the possibility of including other examples from time to time. Second, the strength of the book lies in its detailed analysis of administrative processes, demonstrating the role of stewardship as a governance practice and its consequences on the vastness of the territory of New France. Finally, the variety and quantity of original sources are impressive, not to mention the rich iconography, presenting various documents written by intendants and other institutions of the kingdom, which helps to humanize this practice of governance.
Carl Benn (ed). A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812. University of Toronto Press, 2019.
In this important work, Carl Benn has marshalled a remarkable amount of meticulous research to bring Teyoninhokarawen’s (John Norton) unique and insightful account of the War of 1812 to a new and larger audience. In a kind of alchemical process, this volume transforms Norton’s first-person reflections into a co-authored historical narrative, in which Benn provides the rich contextual detail that breathes life into Norton’s lengthy memoir. Only rarely have the words of Indigenous leaders like Teyoninhokarawen come down to us unsullied by settler translations and interruptions. This book makes a highly notable contribution to historical scholarship by preserving Norton’s interpretation of events and able defence of Haudenosaunee interests, while also integrating an impressive range of new primary source material. This is a must read for students and scholars interested in the intertwining colonial, military, social, and political histories of the region in this period.
Esyllt W. Jones. Radical Medicine: The International Origins of Socialized Health Care in Canada. ARP Books, 2019.
In Radical Medicine: The International Origins of Socialized Health Care in Canada, Esyllt W. Jones uncovers the global roots of Canadian medicare. Smart, engaging, and compellingly written, Radical Medicine is a model of transnational history. Moving beyond the heroic narrative focused primarily on Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas, Jones sheds new light on the adoption of socialized health care in Saskatchewan. She illustrates how socialist ideas and innovations in medical care and public health emanating from the early Soviet Union, interwar Britain, and the New Deal-era United States shaped the approach of Douglas’s CCF government. Based on wide-ranging archival research, the book details transnational connections among physicians, public health professionals, and political leaders. Jones highlights the contributions of those who have not previously received widespread recognition, such as female Jewish physician and CCF politician Mindel Cherniack Sheps. The transnational perspective allows Jones to place Saskatchewan’s singular contribution to health care in Canada in a rich and deeply nuanced context. With Radical Medicine, Esyllt W. Jones has made an important contribution to Prairie history, the history of medicine and public health, and Canadian history in general. Radical Medicine also provides a timely, engaged, and passionate intervention into debates around social inequality and health care that have profound contemporary relevance, as socialized medical care continues to face challenges and pressures on multiple fronts.
The Clio Prize Committee for the Prairies is pleased to honour Dr. Bill Waiser with a Lifetime Achievement Award. A Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Waiser has made outstanding contributions to the history of Saskatchewan. He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than seventeen books, including A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905 (2016), recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction as well as the Saskatchewan Book Award for Non-Fiction, and Saskatchewan: A New History (2005), awarded the Clio Prize for the Prairies in 2006. Throughout his career Professor Waiser has worked to communicate Saskatchewan history to a wide audience. He has given more than 250 public presentations, and is a regular contributor to television, radio, and print media. Between 1999 and 2001 he served as researcher and host for an award-winning CBC Saskatchewan history series called “Looking Back.” In 2018 Professor Waiser’s contributions to Canadian history and popular history were recognized with the Royal Society of Canada’s J.B. Tyrrell Medal and the Pierre Berton Award, the Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media. Professor Waiser is a member of the Order of Canada (2017), a recipient of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (2006), a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2007), and was awarded the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2005). Bill Waiser truly is Saskatchewan’s historian, and his works have created a rich legacy for students of the province’s history.
Wendy Wickwire, At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging. University of British Columbia Press, 2019.
Most historians of British Columbia know something of James Teit and perhaps a little of the debt owed him by scholars, Indigenous rights advocates, and whole communities. So much of Teit’s life and contribution, however, has remained obscured. Partly this is due to Teit himself, a man who never sought the spotlight and was hugely content with his humble place in the Nlaka’pamux world. This superbly researched and elegantly presented study eases Teit out of the shadows. It is a history and a biography and it is also a study of the academy and how it is possible to do great intellectual things beyond its boundaries. Wickwire touches on many themes, including anthropology, trans-national identities, the southern Interior, Indigenous relations with the Canadian state, the processes of colonialism, and locale running up against several kinds of imperial. At the Bridge is a landmark work that, like Teit himself, serves numerous communities and contributes to our understanding of British Columbia in many ways.
Karen Routledge. Do You See Ice? Inuit and Americans at Home and Away. University of Chicago Press, 2018.
Karen Routledge’s Do You See Ice? is an innovative, empathetic reimagining of the history of social relations, colonial interactions, and environmental change in northern and eastern North America. Anchoring her analysis to ideas of home, Routledge skillfully demonstrates how Inuit and American whalers between 1850 and 1920 experienced each other’s homes as strange and unfamiliar, and how they sought to feel at home in foreign places within and beyond the Arctic. She presents Inuit and Qallunaat experiences as simultaneously entangled and distinct, weaving a compelling narrative of emotion, encounter, and environmental observation. Her book deftly illuminates the historical and ongoing consequences of southerners’ inability to understand the Arctic as a homeland. It is a morally spirited, elegantly written, and vital contribution to the history of the North—and the South.
The John Bullen Prize - 2020
Crystal Fraser. T’aih k’ìighe’ tth’aih zhit dìidìch’ùh (By Strength, We Are Still Here): Indigenous Northerners Confronting Hierarchies of Power at Day and Residential Schools in Nanhkak Thak (the Inuvik Region, Northwest Territories), 1959 – 1982. PhD Dissertation, University of Alberta, 2019.
Gwichyà Gwich’in scholar Chrystal Fraser’s PhD dissertation draws on the Dinjii Zhuh philosophical concepts of t’aih, vit’aih, and guut’àii (individual and collective fortitude) to illuminate how Indigenous Northern families and communities negotiated, with intense and profuse strength, the carceral educational systems of the colonial Canadian state. All future historians of Canada will have to grapple with how this methodologically germinal microhistory utilizes oral, documentary, visual, material, and other sources alongside Indigenous and Western theory to tell the immersive story of the Grollier and Stringer Hall Residential Schools.
The Eugene A. Forsey Prize - 2020
Edward Dunsworth. “The Transnational Making of Ontario Tobacco Labour, 1925-1990” (PhD, University of Toronto, 2019).
Dunsworth situates tobacco workers’ labour within a transnational context while analyzing the changing nature of the labour force and work processes over time. Prior to WWII, thousands of workers from within Canada would swell the population of the tobacco towns during the short harvest season, many of them new immigrants to Canada. By the 1960s, government programs recruited seasonal workers from Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico. As the labour process evolved, so too did working conditions: earlier geographical mobility gave way to a more restrictive system where social mobility and social protest became more difficult. Yet, Dunsworth finds many instances in which tobacco workers organized for better working and living conditions. To recover the history of this heterogeneous, transnational workforce, Dunsworth conducted research in Canada, the U.S., Jamaica and Barbados and the dissertation combines documentary and oral history source material. Th
Prize for Best article on the history of Sexuality - 2020
Ele Chenier. “Love-Politics: Lesbian Wedding Practices in Canada and the United States from the 1920s to the 1970s,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 27, no.2 (May 2018): 294-321.
Ele Chenier’s essay is a complex and provocative historical investigation of same-sex wedding practices as a form of activism and love-politics, using a theoretical formulation drawn from Jennifer Nash’s work on black feminist thought. Weaving together a historical record of same- sex wedding practices in Canadian and US history with a theory of justice based on collectivity and love-politics, Chenier demonstrates how weddings were weaponized as a social platform to move away from identity politics and towards radicalism despite embracing “heterosexuality’s most defining public ritual.” Within this paradigm, Chenier showcases historical examples that focus on the political work and world-making in the communities and lives of butches and femmes and studs and fishes as they negotiated their activism as a “radical assertion of self-love and queer dignity.” Chenier’s illuminating and significant contribution engages with core debates in the history of sexuality such as race, liberation vs. equality politics, the use of oral history, gay and lesbian activism, and surveillance within a multiplicity of contexts including the military, bars, and neighborhoods.
Becki L. Ross and Jamie Lee Hamilton. “‘Loss Must Be Marked and It Cannot Be Represented’: Memorializing Sex Workers in Vancouver’s West End,” BC Studies 197 (Spring 2018): 9-38.
In a moving and poignant discussion on community activism, civic politics, and the memorializing of sex worker’s experiences in Vancouver, academic-activist, Becki L. Ross, and the late community sex worker activist, Jamie Lee Hamilton, offer a rare glimpse into the trials and successes born from a remarkable collaboration and deep friendship. Ross and Hamilton document the political activism and affective politics that punctuated their efforts to “honour the resilience of ‘hookers on Davie’” while Indigenous women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside went missing and/or were murdered. The authors centre discourses of displacement, struggle, and violence to draw the reader into understanding the historical significance of their commitment to commemorate the street-based sex workers working in the West End from the late 1960s to 1984 with a memorial lamppost. In the shadow of Jamie Lee Hamilton’s untimely passing on December 23, 2019, the article functions to document and archive the work, life, and spirit of a major political actor.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2020
Eric Reiter. Wounded Feelings: Litigating Emotions in Quebec, 1870-1950. UTP for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2019.
Having our feelings hurt is something most people first encounter as very young children. In Wounded Feelings, Eric Reiter traces that intimate experience – given a more adult shape in forms such as shame, disgrace, bodily intrusion, betrayal, grief, anger and fear – through Quebec’s court system from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Marrying legal history to the history of emotions is innovative in and of itself: this is the first legal history of emotions in Canada. As he examines the ways Quebeckers’ hurt feelings were articulated and judged in the public court system, Reiter highlights the role of individual emotions in shaping communal life, as well as the difficulties of accommodating emotion-based claims to existing legal language and concepts not devised for them. By the end of his period he also exposes a telling shift (with implications for our own time) to legal claims articulated not in terms of injured feelings but rather of violated rights. Reiter’s use of sources is strong and judicious; the arguments he draws from them are admirably cohesive. He delves deep into judicial case files, producing a study that richly evokes the emotional turmoil of plaintiffs and defendants in Quebec courts. Yet this focus on the intimate details of his subjects’ lives is balanced by a careful attention to the broader social landscape of Quebec: representative cases are situated within the context of contemporary understandings of family, gender, class, language, race, and emotions themselves. A beautifully written, thoughtful, and mature work, Wounded Feelings will have a powerful influence on future studies of Canadian society, culture, emotions, and jurisprudence.
Esyllt Jones. Radical Medicine: The International Origins of Socialized Health Care in Canada. ARP Books, 2019.
Tina Loo. Moved by the State: Forced Relocation and Making a Good Life in Postwar Canada. UBC Press, 2019.
Sarah Nickel. Assembling Unity: Indigenous Politics, Gender, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. UBC Press, 2019.
Marc Vallières. Courtiers et entrepreneurs: le courtage financier au Québec, 1867-1987. Septentrion, 2019.
Wendy Wickwire. At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging. UBC Press, 2019.
Political History Prize - Best Article (English Language) - 2020
Jacqueline Briggs. “Exemplary Punishment: T.R.L. MacInnes, the Department of Indian Affairs, and Indigenous Executions, 1936-52,” Canadian Historical Review 100, no. 3, (September 2019): 398-438.
Using T.R.E. MacInnes, an official in the Department of Indian Affairs as a focus, this well-written and methodologically sophisticated analysis draws on decolonisation theory, criminology, and extensive research in departmental files to critically examine existing scholarship on capital punishment as it affected the Indigenous peoples. Briggs convincingly demonstrates that in the first half of the twentieth century, the elite endeavoured to impose social control on the Indigenous peoples and how the bureaucracy reflected such ideas and influenced policy.
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