The Clio Prizes
Patrick Mannion, A Land of Dreams: Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Irish in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Maine, 1880-1923
Patrick Mannion’s book compares three Irish-Catholic diasporic communities in port cities across the transborder northeast: St. John’s, Newfoundland; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Portland, Maine. Joining such scholars as Mark McGowan, John Belcham, Willeen Keough, Carolyn Lambert, and Timothy Meagher, Mannion addresses questions of intergenerational community and identity, while following Donald Akenson and Kevin Kenny and others in deploying a comparative analysis. A Land of Dreams examines networks of diaspora, exploring complex relationship between “Irish,” “Catholic,” and “Imperial” identities.
Working through archival collections, newspapers, civic directories and census records in Ireland, the United States and Canada, Mannion draws out significant points of comparison and contrast. Emigrating largely from Waterford, Irish settlement in Newfoundland followed the late 18-th and early 19th-century networks established by the migratory cod fishery to St. John’s and in eastern Newfoundland where they become the dominant demographic by the end of that century. Similar migration patterns created the Irish community of Halifax, though Irish migration continued longer, eventually to become a strong minority population with a great deal of political and economic independence. The Portland Irish, by contrast, came from Galway during the Famine, followed by a second, late 19th-century immigration wave. They remained a poorer, more marginal community dominated by the established “Yankee-Protestant milieu.”
Mannion’s work reveals the ways that Irish ethnic identities evolved and expressed over several generations. Supported by a complex interplay of local, regional, national, and transnational networks, Irish identities were created and fostered by ethnic, benevolent, nationalist and religious associations. These include the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which was founded in New York in the 1830s to ensure “the preservation of Irish culture” established branches in Portland and Halifax. Annual St Patrick’s Day events and parades, which date back to 1851 in St. Johns, allowed for an annual celebration of a common heritage, while religion, class, and gender influenced how ethnicity was conceived and articulated. Irish identity persisted in each community, but nationalist groups such as the Friends of Irish Freedom (St. John’s and Portland) or the Self-Determination for Ireland League (St. John’s and Halifax) transformed latent ethnic consciousness into an active, public engagement with the politics of the old country. At the same time, the unfolding “Irish Question” of the 19th century saw different responses and engagement from the three ports. Newfoundland remained a British colony until 1949, and Halifax was a British site of the Royal Navy, so support for independence was muffled. Portland Irish, by contrast, offered stronger support the activities and efforts of organizations like the Land League, and to the republican cause for independence during the Easter Rising and the Anglo-Irish War.
The title is pulled from a letter written in Newfoundland, in which early 20th-century students describe Ireland as “a land of dreams” they knew only through “the medium of song, story and history.” With the distance of generations and geography, these students were nonetheless keen to assert their Irishness, and retain it as an identity more than a century after their ancestors settled these shores. Significantly, later generations of Irish of St. John’s and Halifax engaged with the politics of Ireland just as passionately as earlier Famine-era migrants in Portland. Though such persistence, three Catholic communities on the northeastern edge of North America remained part of an interconnected, transnational Irish diaspora until well into the twentieth century.
Nicole Neatby, From Old Quebec to La Belle Province. Tourism Promotion, Travel Writing, and National Identities, 1920-1967
This book innovates by addressing the major political and social transformations of the mid-20th century through the lens of tourism, and thus takes a new look at the period before and during the Quiet Revolution. Nicole Neatby demonstrates that travel is both an opening to the Other and a confirmation of the expectations created by tourist guides and the promotional efforts of the Quebec government. In search of authenticity and the French fact, French-Canadian, English-Canadian and American tourists often find realities that correspond to their preconceptions. Neatby clearly demonstrates that Americans have different perceptions of Quebec than do Anglophones and Francophones in Canada. There are therefore many voices being heard to promote tourism and, while evolving over time, they provide diverse portraits of Quebec in both its rural and urban character.
Steven High, One Job Town: Work, Belonging and Betrayal in Northern Ontario
A local story with a global reach, One Job Town sensitively chronicles the devastating impact of deindustrialization in a single-industry town in northern Ontario. From the vantage point of the final closure of the mill in Sturgeon Falls in 2002, High explores the complexity of working-class experience throughout a period of industrial prosperity and then a long period of decline. With a deep appreciation of labour, cultural and political history, High draws on a remarkable array of documentary sources and dozens of interviews to offer a compelling analysis of a process that is an all-too familiar North American story.
Valerie Korinek, Prairie Fairies: A History of Queer Communities and People in Western Canada, 1930-1985
Valerie Korinek’s Prairie Fairies: A History of Queer Communities and People in Western Canada, 1930-1985 is a monumental work investigating the experiences and activities of queer peoples in mid-20th century western Canada. The volume establishes same-sex desire as a pressing area for historical research and serves as a guidepost for future work on related topics. Korinek’s exhaustive research involved both documentary records and oral histories, positioning her to speak to the nuanced experiences of the communities and individuals whose stories she relates. Korinek models a sophisticated analytical approach, one characterized by her efforts to foreground the diverse identities of her informants. Prairie Fairies brings regional history in conversation with transnational scholarship on queer peoples. In this way, it expands our understanding of region as an analytical framework. Korinek’s volume is clearly written, promising to engage students and non-expert readers even as it inspires historians.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Clio Prize Committee for the Prairies is pleased to honour Dr. Gerald Friesen with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba, Professor Friesen has produced pathbreaking works on various aspects of the prairie past and on communications in Canadian history. The Canadian Prairies: A History, the 1985 winner of the Canadian Historical Association’s award for the best book in Canadian history, compellingly articulated the significance of a regional perspective in Canadian history and continues to serve as a touchstone for scholars of the prairie west. Professor Friesen has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited numerous other volumes, including Citizen and Nation: An Essay in History, Communication and Canada (2000), Immigrants in Prairie Cities: Ethnic Diversity in Twentieth Century Canada (2009), winner of the 2010 Clio Prize for the Prairies, and Prairie Metropolis: New Essays on Winnipeg Social History (2009). Professor Friesen’s other accomplishments include substantial contributions to the field of public history, notably through his involvement with CBC Television’s Canada: A People’s History (first broadcast in 2000-2001). Former president of the Canadian Historical Association (2003-2005), Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2002), and winner of the J. B. Tyrrell Historical Medal from the Royal Society of Canada (2014), Professor Friesen is widely-known as an influential scholar, a generous colleague, and an inspiring teacher.
The Clio Prize Committee for the Prairies is pleased to honour Dr. Gerald Friesen with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba, Professor Friesen has produced pathbreaking works on various aspects of the prairie past and on communications in Canadian history.
Daniel Marshall, Claiming the Land: British Columbia and the Making of a New El Dorado
Daniel Marshall’s Claiming the Land: British Columbia and the Making of a New El Dorado fills an important gap in Canada’s historiography. Drawing on exceptional narrative skills and years of meticulous archival research, Marshall tells the story of the Fraser River gold rush as it has never been told. He argues convincingly that this pivotal event of the mid-nineteenth century must be understood as a major catalyst of colonization, and one that facilitated the expansion of Canada into the Pacific Slope. The arrival of thousands of gun-toting vigilantes from California in southern BC in the spring and summer of 1858 instilled chaos and trauma that left the landscape permanently damaged and its original inhabitants in a state of shock. A key attribute of this book is that it is written in a lively, accessible style that appeals to a broad readership.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The BC Clio Prize committee is pleased to honour Hamar Foster (Professor emeritus, Law, UVIC) with the 2019 lifetime achievement award. As one of Canada’s leading legal historians with an illustrious publication record that includes five books and 52 articles on the legal history of Indigenous/Non-Indigenous relations in western Canada, Professor Foster is more than deserving of this award. One of his most significant achievements was his expert report in the trial, Tsilhqo’tin Nation v. British Columbia (2004-2005). The case ended up in the Supreme Court, where Foster’s evidence, discussed in oral argument, played a critical role in the 2014 landmark decision that affirmed that a specific First Nation had unextinguished Aboriginal title to a defined tract of land. Professor Foster is in the final stages of a book on the history of the early Indigenous political campaign in British Columbia to secure treaties or have their outstanding Aboriginal title determined by the courts.
Not awarded in 2019