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: le 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 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 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.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2019
Shirley Tillotson, Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy
Shirley Tillotson’s Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy demonstrates how much historians stand to learn by exploring taxation and related fiscal measures. The “terrain of tax culture” is an integral site for the protest, resistance, defiance, and ultimate compliance that comprise negotiations between the modern state and its citizens. Informed by meticulous research, especially in the correspondence between the federal government and a diversity of often-unhappy taxpayers, Give and Take disentangles the interplay of economics and emotions, objectives and needs, the differing and sometimes clashing notions of personal duty, morality, and rights underlying the “conversation” that is taxation. Focusing on the development of tax policy between 1917 and 1971, Tillotson brings to light how democracy and citizenship came to be conceptualized in a modernizing nation that idealized “tax fairness and a just social order.” Yet, as she capably argues, these honourable goals were always contingent, their understanding shaped as much by the historical realities of regional, class, racial and gender differences and the rise of consumerism as by politics. This trailblazing study opens a fundamental but under-examined subject area; equally valuable is its lucid analysis of how liberal democracies are made and sustained through contestation and even conflict.
Denys Delâge and Jean-Philippe Warren, Le Piège de la Liberté: Les Peuples autochtones dans l’engrenage des régimes coloniaux (Boréal, 2017).
Jean-François Lozier, Flesh Reborn: The St Lawrence Valley Mission Settlements through the Seventeenth Century (McGill-Queen’s 2018).
Valérie LaPointe-Gagnon, Panser le Canada: Une histoire intellectuelle de la commission Laurendeau-Dunton (Boréal, 2018).
Joshua MacFadyen, Flax Americana: A History of the Fibre and Oil that Covered a Continent (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2018).
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2018
E.A. Heaman, Tax, Order, and Good Government: A New Political History of Canada, 1867-1917. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017.
This book makes an original and compelling contribution to our knowledge of how the Canadian fiscal regime was created, reformed, and received by the State, one both framing and framed by the complex interplay of diverse sets of interests, ideas, and principles. While challenging previous notions of liberalism, founding ideals, nation-building, and federalism, this book enriches our understanding of how historical actors and ordinary people thought about property, poverty, and wealth. Heaman employs a comprehensive methodology informed by official documents from all levels of government as well as private correspondence, and periodical and other print media. Her analysis brings together the disparate regional visions of the new Dominion and highlights Canada’s transition from a fiscal imperial to a fiscal welfare state, a fundamental shift previously little explored. A social history of politics grounded in the history of knowledge, this innovative, pragmatic, and thorough study will long be a reference for historians and students of modern Canada.
Susan M. Hill, The Clay We Are Made Of: Haudenosaunee Land Tenure on the Grand River. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2017.
Jeffers Lennox, Homelands and Empires: Indigenous Spaces, Imperial Fictions, and Competition for Territory in Northeastern North America, 1690-1763. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017.
J.R. Miller, Residential Schools and Reconciliation: Canada Confronts Its History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017.
Cecilia Morgan, Travelers through Empire: Indigenous Voyages from Early Canada. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2017
Sarah Carter, Imperial Plots: Women, Land, and the Spadework of British Colonialism on the Canadian Prairies. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2016.
This book explains the formation of the Canadian West as a British-Canadian colony and reveals how homesteading denied property rights to women. Throughout, it offers incisive reconsiderations of what it means to be 'Canadian,' demonstrating that gender, race, and property have been central to the making of this country. Carter effectively moves from the macro level of national and imperial visions to the micro level of particular women. While none should be surprised that imperialism was central to the colonization of western Indigenous lands, Carter exposes just how far Canadian policymakers went to exclude married women from enjoying a right to property. By offering comparisons with the American west, we learn that the strength of this opposition was peculiarly Canadian. Indeed, before and after contact, Indigenous women were the farmers of the Great Plains. Yet after prairie reserves were established, Indigenous women were limited to kitchen gardens while white men assumed their place on the land. Imperial Plots covers the late 19th and early 20th centuries and crosses provincial and national boundaries. Sarah Carter makes a strong contribution to our understanding of Canada’s emergence as a country, illuminating ongoing struggles around gender equality, Indigenous rights, and humans’ relationships with their natural environments.
Ian McKay and Jamie Swift, The Vimy Trap, or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2016.
Sean Mills, A Place in the Sun: Haiti, Haitians, and the Remaking of Québec. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016.
Adele Perry, Colonial Relations: The Douglas-Connolly Family and the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Ronald Rudin, Kouchibouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2016
Robert C.H. Sweeny
Robert C.H. Sweeny, Why Did We Choose to Industrialize? Montreal, 1819-1849. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015.
In Why Did We Choose to Industrialize?, Robert Sweeny offers an erudite yet also passionate argument for the re-thinking of Canadian history. In this provocative book, Sweeny answers the question Why Did We Choose to Industrialize?, engaging with historians who have examined the history of Montréal, but also tracing the evolution of his own thought over the last decades. Historians, Sweeny argues, do not live outside history but are part of it, and so must contextualize and understand how their own views of the past reflect on the sources they use and the questions they ask. His questioning and contextualising of the sources reveals the changing creative process of an historian who has revisited, questioned and revised his own findings as a result of new ways of thinking which have emerged among intellectuals over the past forty years. According to him, the answer to his book's question (without revealing the punchline) lies in the exploitation of unfree labour for the production of commodities, together with the emergence of liberalism and its valuation of property. Sweeny's work belongs to economic history, historical geography, and historiography. It is the work of a politically committed historian who recognises the political and ethical nature of historical debates. For historians who think seriously about what we do and how we do what we do, Why Did We Choose to Industrialize? is a model of intellectual engagement, one that offers valuable reflections on the meaning of Canadian history and how it should be pursued from this point forward.
Caroline Durand, Nourrir la machine humaine. Nutrition et alimentation au Québec, 1860-1945. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015.
Craig Heron, Lunch-Bucket Lives: Remaking the Workers’ City. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2015.
Michel Hogue, Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2015.
Douglas McCalla, Consumers in the Bush: Shopping in Rural Upper Canada. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2015
Jean Barman, French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014.
This grand narrative of a history long lost powerfully illuminates the influence that French Canadians and their Indigenous partners had in “the making” of the Pacific Northwest during the 19th through the 21st centuries. By “listening to back stories,” and by marrying structure and agency and qualitative and quantitative sources, Jean Barman imaginatively reconstructs the lives of three generations of fur trading and farming families as they built their homes and identities amid emerging pressures from imperial and later, national forces that threatened to erase their very presence in the region. Ranging broadly over time and space, this study engages with rich international scholarship on imperialism, colonialism and state formation. But Barman’s meticulous inquiries never lose sight of the role that individuals and families had and continue to have on shaping our past and our present. French Canadians, Furs and Indigenous Women is a major contribution to Canadian and international historiography as well as to the family histories of Indigenous and French Canadian peoples in the Northwest. It will influence scholarship on imperialism, state formation, and heritage creation for some time to come.
Jean also received the Governor General History Award for Scholarly Research on October 16, 2015
Jennifer L. Bonnell, Reclaiming the Don: An Environmental History of Toronto’s Don River Valley. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014.
Nicholas Kenny, The Feel of the City: Experiences of Urban Transformation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014.
Ian Milligan, Rebel Youth: 1960s Labour Unrest, Young Workers, and New Leftists in English Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014.
Brian Young, Patrician Families and the Making of Quebec: The Taschereaus and McCords. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2014
James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life. Regina: University of Regina Press, 2013.
In this sweeping and disturbing account, James Daschuk chronicles the role that epidemic disease, global trade, the changing environment and government policy had on the lives of Aboriginals living on the Canadian Plains from the early eighteenth century to the end of the nineteenth. Daschuk skilfully draws on ethnohistory, medical history, environmental history, economic history and political economy to present a compelling overall analysis. He situates his discussion in the broader historical context of the Columbian exchange, the Great Land Rush, the rise of a global capitalist economy, and the dispossession of Aboriginal peoples across the globe. As Daschuk persuasively illustrates, the pervasive problems of poor health and poverty facing Aboriginal communities today have deep, complex and systemic roots. Initially, the biological impact of disease that resulted from the expansion of trade devastated some First Nations but presented economic and territorial opportunities for others. But the story of the spread of disease as an organic process gave way to the wilful malevolence of human actors. The demographic collapse of the western Aboriginal population after 1870, due to tuberculosis, can be traced directly to the Canadian government's decision to use the "politics of starvation" to force Aboriginal compliance with the state's development agenda and to eliminate what they considered an impediment to "national" development. Daschuk offers a powerful reminder that Canada has an imperial past of its own, in contrast to the classic myth of Canada as the "peaceable" and "lawful" kingdom. The legacy of racist policies that naturalized Aboriginals as unhealthy, physically weak and unable to adapt to the modern world, remains with us today.
Erika Dyck, Facing Eugenics: Reproduction, Sterilization, and the Politics of Choice. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.
Kathryn Magee Labelle, Dispersed But Not Destroyed: A History of the Seventeenth-Century Wendat People. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013.
Stéphane Savard, Hydro-Québec et L'État québécois, 1944-2005. Québec: Septentrion, 2013.
Todd Webb, Transatlantic Methodists: British Wesleyanism and the Formation of an Evangelical Culture in Nineteenth-Century Ontario and Quebec. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013.
The Sir John A. Macdonald Prize winner also receives the Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research.
For the first time the winners of the two highest distinctions given annually by the Canadian Historical Association met for an exchange with the public and between each other. Jim Daschuk, author of the account of the “forced starvation” of aboriginal peoples in the Canadian plains in the 19th century, and Mark Phillips, whose book explores the many ways by which historians and their object are “distant” and close, met for a public conversation on a Saturday afternoon, November 1, 2014 at Ottawa’s City Hall.
Daschuk spoke about the long process of putting this account together, and of the many reactions it has encountered after publications, amongst First Nations and European Canadians, including the uneasy queries of those responsible for the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of John A. Macdonald. Phillips spoke about the genesis of the idea of exploring the relative nature of distance in time and space, between researchers and the people they research. He read the early pages of his writings, and the concluding ones on his personal understanding of the My Lai massacre perpetrated by US soldiers during the Vietnam War, and the attempt to demonize the military officer who denounced it at the time.
The CHA would like to thank Activehistory.ca for posting a recording of the discussion on its website.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2013
William C. Wicken
William C. Wicken, The Colonization of Mi’kmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.
This finely crafted and tightly argued study of memory and meaning, written in a style that is spare and clean, makes imaginative use of a wide range of existing sources to answer innovative epistemological questions fundamental to the historical project. Working backward in time from the Gabriel Sylliboy court case of 1928, the book uncovers how successive generations of Mi’kmaq remembered a treaty signed in the eighteenth century. Such questions about the relationship between memory and aboriginal rights makes The Colonization of Mi’kmaw Memory and History a book that advances a challenging argument about an important subject in Canadian history.
Professor Wicken on his book - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N89kpr3kEUI&feature=c4-overview&list=UU8OzrUVarfqUtn87_zFrn-g
Shelley A. M. Gavigan, Hunger, Horses, and Government Men: Criminal Law on the Aboriginal Plains, 1870-1905. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012.
Bridging the fields of law and history, and documenting the complex relationship between Plains First Nations and Canadian criminal law, Hunger, Horses, and Government Men: Criminal Law on the Aboriginal Plains, 1870-1905 engages with a vast current of recent criminal justice history that attempts to balance control/domination and agency. Based substantially on data derived from two sets of criminal court records from 1876-86 and 1887-1903, the book explores what law meant to Aboriginal people at a time of increasingly coercive colonization. In attempting to understand the “actual process of criminalization,” Gavigan makes an important contribution to both Canadian legal history and prairies history.
Reg Whitaker, Gregory S. Kealey and Andrew Parnaby, Secret Service: Political Policing in Canada from the Fenians to Fortress America. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.
This book promises to be the definitive work on the history of intelligence and security in Canada for some time to come. Analytic, yes, but also lively, it clearly illustrates that for most of its history, the Canadian secret services did not spy abroad but at home. They were obsessed with “subversives” who could disrupt the Canadian status quo. Despite the obvious difficulties in accessing the material, this is a thoroughly well documented book, elegantly written, and remarkably balanced, considering the sensitivity of the topic, and the fact that one of the authors had himself been a target of surveillance.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2012
François-Marc Gagnon, Nancy Senior & Réal Ouellet
François-Marc Gagnon with Nancy Senior and Réal Ouellet, eds., The Codex Canadensis and the Writings of Louis Nicolas. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011In this stunningly beautiful volume F-M Gagnon and his collaborators have brought together two texts held in geographically very distant repositories, barely known even by specialists, one without a known author and the other misattributed. The first, the Histoire Naturelle des Indes Occidentales, is part of the collection of the French National library. The second,the Codex Canadensis proper, is a compendium of 180 illustrations of the people, fauna and flora of the new world in the seventeenth century held at the Gilcrease museum in Tulsa. Meticulous and erudite detective work allowed the authors to identify them as companion volumes sharing the same author, the Jesuit missionary Louis Nicolas, and produced in the first years of the eighteenth century. The two texts illuminate each other, and together, they are more than the sum of their parts.If determining provenance and authorship was a model of erudition, the scholarly apparatus that surrounds the documents reproduced and translated here is a model of contextualization. The lengthy introduction, numerous and extremely detailed notes and extensive glossary combine to locate the corpus at a pivotal moment in the evolution of scientific knowledge and of European understanding of the natural world. The depiction of the natural world in the Codex, or the description in the Histoire naturelle were not intended to be objective: instead they were constructions resting on a specific epistemological foundation that was on the brink of disappearing. They mark the transition from a view of nature as “useful” to humanity to the concept of the very “order” of nature. The analysis provides a subtle but penetrating framework from which the modern reader can access and understand these two otherwise strange documents. This book can scarcely be praised too highly. As a physical object, it is one of beauty, with design and production values of the highest order. As an act of sustained editorial ingenuity and intervention, it is impeccable. As a work of interdisciplinary research, it is simply outstanding. Finally, The Codex Canadensis and the Writings of Louis Nicolas reminds us that prize-worth historical scholarship extends beyond scholarly monographs.
Donica Belisle, Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada. UBC Press, 2011Retail Nation constitutes an important contribution to the history of the development of mass consumption in Canada in the late nineteenth and twentieth century. It describes the rise, flourishing and decline of three Canadian department store chains which garnered a larger share of consumer spending than their counterparts in other countries: Eaton, HBC and Simpson’s, which eventually became icons of English Canadian nationhood. Those stores were more than simply movers of goods; they were also advertisers promoting specific forms of consumptions that contributed to the construction of a form of Canadian modernity based on capitalistic consumerism. While the author acknowledge the role nostalgia has played in our image of department stores, she does not lose sight of the social and other costs such chains have exacted. The three companies were criticized, and even challenged, for driving other retailers out of business, exploiting their workers and subjecting them to petty paternalistic rules, and even for the quality of their services. Belisle explores fully and intelligently the unequal relations of class, race and gender they embodied, and an important part of the analysis deals with the gendered relations between the stores, their employees and their customers. The book is written with verve, a secure knowledge of the relevant literature and much careful research, and sets a historiographic benchmark for the study of Canadian consumer society.
Sherry Olson and Patricia A. Thornton, Peopling the North American City: Montreal 1840-1900. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2011This large scale study, which grew out of the authors’ participation in the Montreal history project, seeks to understand how Montreal, and beyond it, urban centers in North America grew in the second half of the nineteenth century. Using a subpopulation of individuals bearing a dozen surnames as representative of the three communities that made up Montreal between 1840 and 1900, the authors trace their marriage and reproduction patterns as well as their social and geographic mobility in and around the city. By so doing, the authors disentangle the impact of structural and cultural factors shaping people’s life courses. Contrary to economists and demographers, who explain the demographic transition in structural terms (urbanization, industrialization, increased literacy and rising income), the authors conclude that culture played a significant role in people’s demographic choices. From the beginning to the end of the study period, French-speaking Catholics, English-speaking Protestants, and English-speaking Catholics differed in basic demographic indicators, in place of residence, in patterns of geographical and social mobility, and in the networks of association and kin in which their lives were situated, and, although none of those patterns were static, never did they become similar. Their very quantitative and structural approach does not prevent the authors from displaying a high degree of empathy towards their subject, which allows them at times to re-enact the decision-making process of individuals when confronted to the choices available to them. Combined with sensitivity to the urban environment in which the individuals in question lived, this empathy enlivens the description of the population under consideration, which would otherwise be very abstract.
The CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize - 2011
Michel Ducharme. Le concept de liberté au Canada à l’époque des Révolutions atlantiques (1776-1838). In this original and provocative book, Michel Ducharme situates political debate in the Canadas before 1840 in different conceptions of liberty, both hostile to absolutism, embedded in the political philosophy of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Embedded in a thorough knowledge of political philosophy and in the political debates in Lower and Upper Canada, this book provides a new and richly argued perspective on a crucial period of the Canadian past. Situating the primary cause of unrest in these colonies in different intellectual currents rather than in socio-economic circumstances, it offers a striking alternative to widely-accepted interpretations. It is a milestone in Canadian historiography.
Sean Mills. The Empire Within; Postcolonial Thought and Political Activism in Sixties Montreal. This book connects protest movements in Montreal in the 1960s and Third World postcolonial thought, and in so doing situates these movements in a global anti-colonial struggle. For all the variety of protest movements in Montreal in the sixties, they shared, it suggests, a common anti-colonialism until, unable to resolve “internal contradictions and ambiguities,” this loose “grammar of consent” unraveled in the 1970s.The book is well-researched, well-connected, and deft. It challenges conventional views of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, and succeeds in exploring both the richness and vitality of Quebec society and an axis of its global connections.
Joan Sangster. Transforming Labour; Women and Work in Post-War Canada. This book is a sophisticated and nuanced study of women’s work in Canada during the “Fordist” accord between capital, the state, and labour in the twenty-five years following the Second World War. It shows how women advanced the cause of gender equality and challenged accepted attitudes embedded in the Fordist accord.The book is the product of years of research and of a materialist tradition of labour history. In sum, it suggests the continuing robustness of this tradition while contributing a basic work to the study of working women and, more generally, of labour in the Fordist years after the Second World War.