The Canadian Committee on Women's and Gender History English-Language Book Prize - 2022
Joan Sangster, Demanding Equality. One Hundred Years of Canadian Feminism. University of British Columbia Press, 2021.
A distillation of a lifetime of feminist activism, teaching, and research, this year’s winner of the Canadian Committee’s Women’s and Gender History (CCWGH) Book Prize is Joan Sangster’s Demanding Equality: One Hundred Years of Canadian Feminism. Drawing on extensive archival work and an impressive synthesis of five decades of Canadian women’s historiography, Sangster upends the tired tropes of feminist waves and troughs in favour of a polyphonic rendering of the diversity and continuity of women’s demands for justice and equality. Sangster illuminates how many feminists in Canada fought against their gendered subjugation, alienation, and exploitation by embracing a heterogeneous politics that linked their feminism with the dovetailing oppressions of capitalism, colonialism, racism, war, and/or homophobia. This book adds to our appreciation of the dynamism of the feminist movement by rescuing lesser-known working-class, racialized, and Indigenous activists, without eliding the discrimination and exclusions that animated the organizing and thought of some of its more prominent leaders. Demanding Equality is an indispensable resource for the next generation of feminists. Readers will discover in Sangster’s magnum opus a history of feminist struggle that will discourage and inspire, spark agreement and rouse fierce debate, and offer insights on the collective actions and commitments needed to win a better future.
Funké Aladajebi, Schooling the System: A History of Black Women Teachers
The jury awards Schooling the System: A History of Black Women Teachers, by Dr. Funké Aladejebi, an honorable mention for the author’s exceptional examination of Black teachers and their roles in anti-racism activism and education in postwar Ontario. Using a combination of deep oral history and archival documentation, Dr. Aladejebi not only traces the ways that Black teachers experienced racism in attaining their credentials and finding work, but also uses the experiences of these women as a lens to speak more broadly about the importance of education within the Black Canadian communities of Ontario and how teachers as leaders worked to create change within and outside of their classrooms. An engaging read that is meticulously researched, this work makes a crucial contribution to the growing body of scholarship on Black lives in Canada and is a timely and important addition to Canadian historiography.
The Eugene A. Forsey Prize - 2022
Kassandra L. Luciuk
Kassandra L. Luciuk, “Making Ukrainian Canadians: Identity, Politics, and Power in Cold War Canada,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Toronto, 2021.
This exhaustive study of the history of organizations competing to represent Ukrainian-Canadians from World War II to the 1970s explains why conservative nationalists ultimately achieved “a totalized hegemony” over progressives with ties to the Soviet Union. Though working-class progressives had dominated the pre-war Ukrainian community, government intervention and media bias during the Second World War and Cold War allowed the generally wealthier nationalists, whose attacks on the progressives included a sanctioned “low-level terrorist campaign,” to eliminate the competition. State-endorsed public events and media representations systematically isolated the progressives to the benefit of the nationalists. Though nationalists and progressives embraced many of the same cultural influences, and the two opposed communities could potentially have represented different elements of a diverse ethnic community, support from power structures outside the Ukrainian communities ensured that the broader public’s understanding of Ukrainian life in Canada would fix solely on the nationalist cultural perspective that was “fixed and immutable, untouched by the vitiating relentlessness of modernity and secular thought.” Kassandra Luciuk’s lucidity in laying bare the anti-democratic process that produced a one-sided nationalist victory makes an important and timely historiographic contribution.
Best Scholarly Article in Canadian Business History - 2022
Michel Dahan, « Tout le monde voyage » : l’agence Hone & Rivet et les débuts de l’industrie touristique au Canada (1894–1939).” (Volume 102, Issue 3, September 2021, 365-389).
The Jury was very impressed with the article, and their deliberations included commentary such as, “This is a completely original article based mostly on archival sources, looking at the networks that enabled Canadians to travel in Europe. Its main historical significance is revealing the transnational linkages shaping Canadian tourism in Europe at this time, as well as the business enterprise that enabled such travel.” This was an excellent contribution to Canadian business history, Quebec history, and social and cultural history as well, and we were thrilled that the article was submitted to the Association for its Best Article Prize.
Best Article Prize in Labour History - 2022
Peter Campbell, “Let Us Rise: Dialectical Thinking, the Commodification of Labour Power, and the Legacy of the Socialist Party of Canada,” Labour/Le Travail 87 (Spring 2021): 93–120.
In “Let Us Rise: Dialectical Thinking, the Commodification of Labour Power, and the Legacy of the Socialist Party of Canada,” Peter Campbell insightfully explores the intellectual world of Canada’s most important socialist formation before the First World War. Long dismissed as otherworldly “impossiblists” whose opposition to the capitalist wage system led to their abstention from trade-unionist battles over the price of labour, “Let Us Rise” paints a picture of an intellectually engaged party, alive with debate, struggling with the dialectical relationships between existing conflicts and the fight against the capitalist wage system with its many implications including, as Campbell points out, for racialized and gendered labour. In the end, the article helps us understand the central role that SPCers played in the Workers’ Revolt of 1919.
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.
The Hilda Neatby Prize - English Article - 2022
Willeen Keough, "Newfoundland Landsmen Sealing: Interrogating the Limits of Ecomasculinity in the Late 20th and Early 21st Centuries," Acadiensis 50, 2 (Autumn 2021): 155-183.
Since the 1960s, debates concerning Newfoundland’s seal hunt have marginalized settler sealers’ experiences, expertise, and emotions. In this article, Willeen Keough offers a fresh perspective on the hunt and on the Newfoundlanders, who engaged in it. Using oral history interviews to inform her analysis, Keough explains landsmen’s thoughts and feelings about their work, economic contribution, environmental impact, and masculinity. Her work challenges “practitioners and theorists of ecomasculinity” to enter into “inclusive conversations with less-privileged rural harvesters.” In so doing, her work has substantial theoretical and political implications, and contributes to wider understandings of environmentalism, economy, and gender in Canadian history.
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.