The Political History Group (PHG), a committee affiliated with the Canadian Historical Association, is pleased to offer a prize for the best article in Canadian political history.
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.
Eric M. Adams & Jordan Stanger-Ross, « Promises of Law: The Unlawful Dispossession of Japanese Canadians ». Osgoode Hall Law Journal, 54:3 (Spring 2017).
Through a close reading of administrative, political, and legal documents and the representations of Japanese Canadians, the authors explain why in the 1947 case of Nakashima v. Canada the Exchequer Court of Canada failed to recognize the promise of officials to hold the property of Japanese Canadians in trust. Those reasons included competing conceptions of citizenship, legality, and justice, rather than simple racial deceit and financial opportunism. The article is an important contribution to our understanding of the nature of law.
Lisa Pasolli, “‘I ask you, Mr. Mitchell, is the emergency over?’ Debating Day Nurseries in the Second World War,” Canadian Historical Review 96, 1 (March 2015): 1-31.
This is a first-rate piece of revisionist scholarship. Well researched and well written, it reframes the daycare debate in Canada, away from mobilization during the Second World War and the place of women in that war, towards a more nuanced discussion of welfare, education, and women’s rights. It traces continuities in many perplexities around daycare that remain with us today.
Sean Mills, “Quebec, Haiti, and the Deportation Crisis of 1974” (Histoire sociale / Social History,94.3, September 2013)
In a thoughtful and well-written article, Sean Mills examines the controversy caused by the threatened deportation of several hundred Haitians from Quebec in 1974. Drawing upon a rich and diverse set of primary sources, Mills takes a fresh look at this understudied yet important controversy. He demonstrates how the lobbying efforts of various groups helped to create space in the public sphere for the idea that the Haitians were ideal francophone immigrants for modern Quebec. Further, Mills shows how Haitians themselves resisted deportation by drawing upon the long relationship between Quebec and Haiti, and by arguing that Canada’s exploitive treatment of Haiti was typical of how industrialized nations treated the global south. In describing this incident, Mills adds considerably to our knowledge of the histories of deportation, the public sphere, and the entangled histories of Canada, Quebec, and Haiti.
Peter Price. "Fashioning a Constitutional Narrative: John S. Ewart and the Development of a ‘Canadian Constitution’". Canadian Historical Review : 93.3 (2012).
In a cogently argued and well-written article, Peter Price analyses lawyer John S. Ewart’s efforts to craft and popularize a constitutional narrative supporting an independent Canadian nationalism. Price demonstrates the importance of competing constitutional narratives in debates about politics and identity in Canada. In drawing upon the work of political scientists, historians, and legal scholars, and from his careful analysis of Ewart’s personal correspondence and publications, Price shows how Ewart resisted the hegemony of British imperialism. Price thus breathes new life into debates about the constitution, and invites scholars to re-visit this subject in their considerations of national identity, state formation, and attitudes towards the British Empire.
Gregory P. Marchildon & Klaartje Schrijvers, “Physician Resistance and the Forging of Public Healthcare: A Comparative Analysis of the Doctors’ Strikes in Canada and Belgium in the 1960s” Medical History 55:203-222 (2011).
In their carefully researched article on mid-century health care reforms in Canada and Belgium, Marchildon and Schrijvers convincingly demonstrate how much the tools of comparative analysis can bring to our understanding of Canadian political history. By examining a familiar Canadian episode – the doctors’ strike in Saskatchewan that paved the way for first provincial and then national universal health insurance – within the context of similar global events, the authors are able to enrich our understanding of state formation. Using an approach that is both comparative in geography and in theme, combining as it does both medical and political history in Canada and Belgium, this article extends the narrow boundaries of all the areas under consideration. Focusing on medical associations and the interventions of government, Marchildon and Schrijvers ask new questions and approach old debates through a new methodological frame, providing scholars with an excellent model for future research. This is a timely and thoughtful article that clearly reconstructs the activities, rhetoric, and rationale of all central actors involved, while providing a clear, cogent, and comparative assessment.
Bradley Miller. ‘A carnival of crime on our border’: International Law, Imperial Power, and Extradition in Canada, 1865-1883,” Canadian Historical Review vol. 90 no. 4 (December 2009).
In a carefully argued and meticulously researched study of the origins of Canada's extradition law in the early years of Confederation, Bradley Miller showcases some of the important new directions in which Canadian political history is moving. "'A carnival of crime at our border': International Law, Imperial Power, and Extradition in Canada, 1865-1883" links the exercise of political and legislative authority in the early national period to the imperatives of imperial sovereignty, arguing that despite a decade of effort, the Canadian extradition law remained an "unwilling protegé" of both British and European precursors. This important article positions Canadian legislation firmly within the domestic, imperial and international contexts, illustrating both the multiple sites of negotiation for 19th century Canadian politicians and lawmakers, and also the ways in which a focus on domestic political activities can contribute to our understanding of power in an increasingly interconnected world.
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