2020 CHA Prize Winners

Published on June 3, 2020


Jean-Marie Fecteau Prize
For best article published in a peer-reviewed journal by a PhD or Masters-level student in English or in French. 

Luciuk, Kassandra.  “More Dangerous Than Many a Pamphlet or Propaganda Book: the Ukrainian Canadian Left, Theatre, and Propaganda in the 1920s”. Labour / Le Travail 83 (Spring 2019), pp. 77-103.

Kassandra Luciuk’s article pulls together the left, labour, ethnicity, and cultural histories in this discussion of the Ukrainian Labour Farmer Temple Association’s theatre programme in the years of state repression following the First World War and the labour revolt of 1919. With fine detail and deep analysis, Luciuk engages in a meticulous reading of RCMP sources to describe several productions to show how drama was used to entertain, educate, and agitate large audiences. 

Honourable Mention

Laramée, François Dominic. “Migration and the French Colonial Atlantic as Imagined by the Periodical Press, 1740-61.” Journal of European Periodical Studies 4.1 (Summer 2019), pp. 78-98.

François Dominic Laramée employs data mining techniques to analyse mentions of American colonies in three French Periodicals in the mid-eighteenth century. Pulling data from 75,000 pages of text, Laramée shows that discussion of the Americas offered little incentive for French readers to move across the Atlantic (in contrast to would-be colonists from the British Isles, Spain, Portugal, or the Netherlands). The analysis, presented in text and six figures makes for an engaging and solid application of digital methods to historical research. 

John Bullen Prize
It honours the outstanding Ph.D. thesis on a historical topic submitted in a Canadian university.

Fraser, Crystal. 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 CHA's Excellence in Teaching with Primary Sources Awards  

Early or Alternative Career Award

Kristin Semmens

Prof. Semmens is an assistant teaching professor in the departments of history and Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria. Her nomination package impressed with the wide range of different types of primary sources she routinely uses in her teaching, from graffiti to musicals, 1930s travel brochures to rocket parts, oral testimonies to government documents, whether in large survey courses or smaller upper-level seminars. Interested in the area of Holocaust education, Prof. Semmens integrates concerns about public history into her courses by both leading excursions through Victoria or the Royal BC Museum and guiding her students to create their own exhibits, documentaries, walking tours and such based upon students’ own engagement with primary sources.  Her upper-level seminars on the history of the Holocaust showcase intense debate about the archive and the use of primary sources in creating historical argument.

Honourable Mention

Mary Chaktsiri

Prof. Chaktsiris is an assistant professor and fellow at the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University. She teaches courses on Canada and the world, Canadian history, World War One, military history, and digital humanities. She e-publishes frequently on digital resources and digital humanities in the history classroom.

Open Career State Awards 

Elise Chenier

Prof. Chenier is a full professor in the department of history at Simon Fraser University, Director of the Archive of Lesbian Oral Testimony, and Associate member of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies department. Her nomination package highlighted her commitment to not only fostering critical engagement with different types of primary sources but empowering students to add to the archive themselves and grapple with their own relationships to knowledge production and the community at large. Students in Prof. Chenier’s Hist 451 course (Fall 2019) collected oral testimonies and exhibited what they learned of the lived experiences of lesbians in Vancouver active in the women’s movement in the 1970s and 80s in “pop-up museum” projects, for example. Likewise, in her first-year introductory course on the history of sexuality, she uses her website “How to Think Like a Historian” to model reflective, feminist historical methodology that students then apply to their own engagements with primary sources.

Honourable Mention

Mairi Cowan

Prof. Cowan is an associate professor (teaching stream) in the department of historical studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga.  A medievalist by training, she teaches a truly staggering array of courses that include topics on world history, early Canada, medieval and early modern European history, women’s history, religion, food, ecology, and music. She has developed resources for mentoring TAs and is the co-author of Writing History: A Guide for Canadian Students, 5th Edition, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019).

Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, issues #1 and #2 Best Article Prize

Ellis, Jason. “Public School Taxes and the Remaking of Suburban Space and History: Etobicoke, 1945-54”.

The winner of the CHA Journal Prize is Jason Ellis, for “Public School Taxes and the Remaking of Suburban Space and History: Etobicoke, 1945–1954.” This article argues that school taxes were a significant policy tool for municipal officials and Etobicoke residents in their remaking of suburban space. Adding to the growing literature on the significance of tax to Canadian History, Ellis’ research provides new insight into how exclusion functioned in the suburbs during the post-war period. Reviewers and editors commented on the article’s originality of argument, careful research, and engaging style. They also noted that it successfully links the historiographies of urban history and the history of education, and predict that it will make an important contribution to both fields.

Clio Prizes
They are given for meritorious publications or for exceptional contributions by individuals or organizations to regional history. 

Atlantic Region

Morgan, Bonnie. Ordinary Saints: Women, Work, and Faith in Newfoundland (Montreal and Kingston: 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.


Ouellet, Marie-Eve. 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.


Benn, Carl. (ed). A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812. Toronto: 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. 

The Prairies

Jones, Esyllt W. 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.

Lifetime Achievement 

Bill Waiser

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.

British Columbia

Wickwire, Wendy. 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.  

The North

Routledge, Karen. 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.

Prix Albert B. Corey Prize
It is jointly sponsored by the American Historical Association (AHA) and Canadian Historical Association (CHA) for the best book on the history of Canadian-American relations or the history of both countries.

Benidickson, JamieLevelling the Lake: Transboundary Resource Management in the Lake of the Woods Watershed. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2019.

Jamie Benidickson’s intricate and layered analysis of resource development and environmental governance in the Lake of the Woods watershed moves gracefully across the different jurisdictional boundaries that cross-cut this Canadian-American region. This thoroughly-researched book underscores the environmental, legal, and human dimensions of the efforts to develop and regulate the land and water in Ontario, Manitoba, and Minnesota and brings to life the contests among stakeholders at the local, regional, and national levels over environmental decision-making.

CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize 

Short List - In Alphabetical Order 

Jones, Esyllt. Radical Medicine: The International Origins of Socialized Health Care in Canada. ARP Books, 2019.
Loo, Tina. Moved by the State: Forced Relocation and Making a Good Life in Postwar Canada. UBC Press, 2019.
Nickel, Sarah. Assembling Unity: Indigenous Politics, Gender, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. UBC Press, 2019.
Reiter, EricWounded Feelings: Litigating Emotions in Quebec, 1870-1950. UTP for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2019.
Vallières, MarcCourtiers et entrepreneurs: le courtage financier au Québec, 1867-1987. Septentrion, 2019.
Wickwire, Wendy. At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging. UBC Press, 2019.


Reiter, EricWounded 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.

François-Xavier Garneau Medal
It is awarded every five years, is the most prestigious of the CHA prizes. It honours an outstanding Canadian contribution to historical research.  

Short List - In Alphabetical Order

Heaman, E.A. Tax, Order, and Good Government: A New Political History of Canada. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2017.
Hill, Susan. The Clay We Are Made Of, Haudenosaunee Land Tenure on the Grand River. University of Manitoba Press, 2017.
Mimeault, Mario. L'Exode Québécois, 1852-1925. Septentrion, 2013.
Perry, Adele. Colonial Relations: the Douglas-Connolly Family and the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World. Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Sweeny, Robert C.H. Why Did We Choose to Industrialize? Montreal, 1819-1849. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015.
Tillotson, Shirley. Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy. UBC Press, 2017.
Young, Brian. Patrician Families and the Making of Quebec. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014.


Tillotson, Shirley. Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy. UBC Press, 2017.

Often the news exposes the social relevance of historical work. Such is the case with Shirley Tillotson's Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy published by UBC Press. At a time when the state is supporting citizens in a period of unprecedented crisis this enlightening and lively social and cultural history of the tax system in Canada poses fundamental questions about the links between taxation and democracy. Tillotson recounts with remarkable lucidity and balance fundamental developments in fiscal and social policy. By targeting a pivotal period, 1917 to 1972, she identifies the important questions that arise from the conversation between taxpayers and policy makers. It takes into account the regional, gender, ethnic, and social particularities that emerge from this dialogue. A conversation punctuated by resistance, collaboration, coercion, but a conversation that puts individuals at the forefront.

In the hands of a less skilful and insightful historian and writer, the subject could be occluded by technical or judgmental discourses. Taxation is the supporting core, but world events impinging on Canadian fiscal affairs and contemporary debates on state finances from Canadians across political and social spectra are all part of a remarkably seamless and forthright narrative. Tax can be fun, taxes can be funny, and Tillotson writes with such a deft handling of policy-making and politics, presenting a new examination of national history, that she affirms a distinctly Canadian experience within an international setting.  At the same time, she urges us to reconsider some of our most sacred assumptions, particularly over how we like to differentiate ourselves from our neighbour to the south. Her accessible and often witty style complements a drive to achieve even-handedness without sacrificing reasoned opinions.

Give and Take has already established itself as a major contribution to the historiography of contemporary Canada through the questions it poses, the approach taken, and the elegance of the writing. It is a work that offers both fresh and original insights into Canada’s recent history and does so in an engaging and disarming way. It is a study that makes you rethink Canadian history.


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