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Cynthia Toman


The Hilda Neatby Prize English Article


Cynthia Toman. “Front Lines and Frontiers: War as Legitimate Work for Nurses, 1939-1945”.

In this excellent article, Toman offers important new insights into women’s roles on the front lines, and nurses’ experience on the Homefront at war’s end. The author develops a fascinating argument concerning gender role reversal in the context of medical knowledge, technology and war, an argument that is firmly supported by an impressive array of sources, including 55 oral interviews and 1145 personnel records. The author makes an invaluable contribution to women’s and gender history, together with military history and labour history, while remaining carefully attentive to the international historiography. “Front Lines and Frontiers” is an engaging and vividly written piece.

Honourable Mention:
Joan Sangster, “Constructing the “Eskimo” Wife” White Women’s Travel Writing, Colonialism, and the Canadian North, 1940-1960.”

Joan Sangster’s article is a wonderful exploration of women’s history in the North. Building upon an expanding scholarship, Sangster develops two critical themes: women as key players in colonising the North, and the discursive practices which sustained and deepened white hegemony. This powerfully written piece explores how women’s travel narratives reflected postwar forms of racial oppression and colonising practices, set within a cultural landscape that essentialised and generalised indigenous cultures. The author makes original use of textual sources, while providing a stimulating theoretical framework and introduction to the literature.