The Canadian Committee on Womens and Gender History English Language Book Prize
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.