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Raymond B. Blake, Amélie Bourbeau, Emilie Cameron, Hugh Dempsey, Robin Fisher, Craig Heron, Michel Hogue, Lisa Pasolli


The Clio Prizes


Raymond B. BlakeLions or Jellyfish: Newfoundland-Ottawa Relations since 1957. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.
Lions or Jellyfish is a polished investigation of the often-strained relationship between Ottawa and Newfoundland and Labrador. While many elements of this story are well known, Raymond Blake brings a sophisticated analysis and a well-constructed narrative.
As Blake shows, Confederation has never been a comfortable fit for the province. Public and impassioned intergovernmental disputes – over federal transfers, management of the fishery, oil and gas revenues, and constitutional renewal – have fanned the fires of Newfoundland nationalism over the last six decades. Blake’s accounts of these confrontations are detailed and compelling, and reflect considerable research in governmental and private papers.
Any analysis of intergovernmental relations must discuss the personalities of political leaders but Blake goes beyond mere personalities, as colourful as they often were. He delves into the economics, the contemporary political ideas and culture and the bureaucracy that constrained provincial and federal politicians’ choices. Despite this, Blake allows us to still savour the nasty squabbles between John Diefenbaker and Joey Smallwood, between Brian Peckford and Pierre Trudeau and, most recently, between Danny Williams and Stephen Harper.
Lions or Jellyfish makes an important contribution to the history of Canadian federalism, and makes us wonder, why more has not been written about Newfoundland’s sometimes acrimonious, colourful, and contested relationships with Ottawa.

Amélie BourbeauTechniciens de l’organisation sociale. La réorganisation de l’assistance catholique privée à Montréal (1930-1974). Montréal/Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015.
This book is of significant importance to the historiography of charity and assistance in Quebec in the twentieth century. Not only does it shed light on the origin, formation and inner workings of two Catholic financial federations (French and English) established in the 1930s in Montreal but, going beyond a strict institutional history, it seeks to understand the various processes (bureaucratization, professionalization, secularization and nationalization) that explain the evolution of charity practice between the 1930s and the early 1970s.  Much more than a simple review of the organizational structure of both federations, the book highlights the issues that were at the heart of their creation, their development and their transformation. In doing so, Bourbeau has shown that efforts to streamline the field of charity, if it did indeed lead to the emergence of the welfare state, was a phenomenon that was far from linear; on the contrary, it was marked by a lot of tensions and conflicts permeating all Catholic networks in Montreal, including executives as well as beneficiaries, reflecting the balance of power in both communities. This original research based on a range of public and private archives, written and oral is characterized by its intellectual scope and attention to nuance that will soon make this book a fundamental reference for a broad spectrum of studies involving this period and the rich themes analyzed in it.

Craig HeronLunch Bucket Lives: Remaking the Worker’s City. Between the Lines, 2015.
Lunch Bucket Lives is not only an impressive condensation of the last half century of social history, but a deeply respectful examination of the complex lives of Hamiltonians as the city became Steeltown. Heron’s unassailable command of both the primary and secondary literature permits a richly detailed discussion of working class lives on the job, at home, and in the community.  In demonstrating how intersections of race, class, gender and ethnicity informed, nurtured, but also limited the responses of workers to the emergence of industrial capitalism, Lunch Bucket Lives attains an interpretive complexity that will challenge those familiar with its subject, period, and place.  All in all, Lunch Bucket Lives is a study that equals the “Ambitious City” it seeks to document.

Michel HogueMetis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People. University of Regina Press, 2015.
Michel Hogue’s Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People is a remarkable book. Hogue has written the history of late nineteenth century borderlands diplomacy and state formation from an indigenous perspective. By following, in part, the story of Antoine Ouellette’s and Angelique Bottineau’s family, Metis and the Medicine Line offers both a captivating personal story and a new comparative analysis of the buffalo hunt, resistance, Métis-First Nations relations, colonization and the imposition of Canada and the United States onto the western pl

Lifetime Achievement Award
Hugh Dempsey
Don Smith calls Hugh Dempsey “the dean of Alberta historians.” Author of 22 books, editor of 17 books and for 60 years of Alberta History, and archivist and curator at the Glenbow Foundation, Dempsey has played a pivotal role in preserving Alberta’s heritage. Throughout his career, Dempsey’s primary interest has been in the lives of interesting Albertans.
His marriage to Pauline Gladstone initiated his relationships with Treaty 7 First Nations. His close rapport with still-surviving elders provided him with exceptional entry into their oral traditions, which formed the basis of significant new insights into and biographies of First Nations people from their own voice. These works include *Crowfoot*, *Tom Three Persons*, *Big Bear*, and most recently *The Great Blackfoot Treaties*. Joining oral history with rigorous archival research, his widely read books have reshaped how we think about Alberta’s past. He has received many honors, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary and the Order of Canada. When he retired in 1991, the Glenbow made him chief curator emeritus and named the reading room of the Library and Archives after him. He is most proud of being inducted as an honorary chief of the Blood Nation and to receive the name Potaina, his wife’s grandfather’s name. Hugh Dempsey’s continuing commitment to preserving, researching, and writing history make him a deserving recipient of this Lifetime Achievement Award.

Emilie CameronFar Off Metal River: Inuit Lands, Settler Stories, and the Making of the Contemporary Arctic. UBC Press, 2015.
Emilie Cameron’s Far Off Metal River examines the significance of one of the most (in)famous stories about the Canadian North. Cameron offers a sophisticated and nuanced examination of the long term historical significance of Samuel Hearne’s famous account of the 1771 massacre at Bloody Falls. Although debates over the veracity of Hearne’s account have raged since it was published in 1795, Cameron turns our attention to a more consequential question: the significance of Qablunaat (non-Inuit) uses of the massacre story from the time of its publication to the twenty-first century. Cameron explains that the massacre story matters—whether the actual event happened or not—because it has profoundly shaped the way outsiders have perceived and treated northern indigenous peoples, resource extraction, and aboriginal claims ever since it captured their attention. Based on a wide array of sources as varied as Hearne’s own writings, aboriginal memories, explorers’ journals, government documents, plays, poetry, and art, Far Off Metal River invites readers to consider the significance of a 250-year old story in entirely new ways.

Lisa PasolliWorking Mothers and the Child Care Dilemma: A History of British Columbia’s Social Policy. UBC Press, 2015.
Lisa Pasolli’s study details British Columbian women’s efforts to secure and/or to provide child care for working mothers throughout the 20th century.  She demonstrates that advocates and critics alike invoked concepts like ‘entitlement’ in their campaigns for, and against, child care. She demonstrates the ways in which social policy on this front has responded to labour market needs, mothers’ economic vulnerability, and child development philosophies.  Pasolli examines 20th-century discourses about working women’s ability – and right – to access child care as part of a broader debate about which kinds of contributions to society are recognized and valued, and how.  Pasolli engages in, and contributes to, our understanding of how “social citizenship” has been defined in ways that reward male contributions to the labour economy, and view men as the the chief providers and therefore the heads of their families.  She explains how BC’s child care policy debates relate to efforts to redefine the terms of social citizenship in ways that recognize female contributions, whether as participants in the labour economy, or as managers of their homes and families.  She cleverly turns on its head the question of who is deserving of state support by showing how the absence of affordable and accessible child care has worked to exclude women from the privileges of social citizenship.

Some of these concepts are deceptively simple. Working mothers demonstrated a strong work ethic and were celebrated in wartime, but were criticized for continuing their paid employment while raising children during peacetime. The provision of child care in times of high labour demand, then, becomes essentially a labour policy; its withdrawal during times of relative labour surplus constitutes a decision to privilege male breadwinner labour, while requiring women to commit to child-rearing and housekeeping as full-time unpaid occupations.  With these gendered assumptions concerning women’s proper place in force, the working mother who demanded child care was constructed by her critics as “a problem.” If working mothers were understood to be pursuing careers to alleviate financial need (rather than to pursuing a vocation, or fulfilling a desire to work outside of the home), then the policy solution was to provide mothers’ allowances.  Mothers’ allowances (and related social programs) were designed to subsidize women to such an extent they stayed out of the paid workforce, and could focus entirely on caring for their own children.
Pasolli concludes that Canada generally and British Columbia in particular has failed to produce adequate child care policy and programs for one reason: the prevalence of a widespread “fundamental discomfort around working motherhood.” The effect has been to banish the issue to the ranks of welfare (and sometimes education) policies rather than citizenship policies and rights. In this light, the feminist demand for the right to full social citizenship becomes the prize, from which child care will naturally flow. Pasolli charts a BC perspective on a history that is played out in very different ways across the nation wherein, however, the same themes prevail.  That the work also serves to inform contemporary discourse and thus underlines the fact that history is a way of thinking about the present, is a particularly compelling quality of this outstanding work.

Lifetime Achievement Award
Robin Fisher 
Over the course of his distinguished career, Robin Fisher has contributed in many ways to the study of British Columbia history and has carved out a reputation for scholarly diligence, careful analysis, crisp writing, and inspired thinking.
Tracing the routes taken nearly 200 years earlier by James Cook, Fisher left his native New Zealand to study at the University of British Columbia. In time, this research was captured in his landmark study and first monograph, Contact and Conflict: Indian-European Relations in British Columbia, 1774-1890, which appeared in 1977, three years after he joined the Department of History at Simon Fraser University.
Contact and Conflict repositioned the west coast encounter as one in which Aboriginal agency offset the old imperial narrative of European exploration.  Arguing that commerce in the Pacific Northwest was marked by Aboriginal strategies and priorities, separate agendas, and identifiable personalities who carefully shaped the terms of trade, Fisher identified the phenomenon of “mutual benefit” as a defining force in the study of the region’s past.  Contact and Conflict remains one of the core texts on First Nations and British Columbian history. Fisher’s perspectives, arguments, and evidence have been challenged repeatedly yet the book has aged well. And whatever debate it continues to provoke demonstrates that it remains one of – perhaps the – single-most influential monographs ever written on the subject. That it first appeared in 1977, two years before the inaugural Clio Awards, means that it escaped the recognition from the CHA that it deserved.
Fisher’s subsequent monographs, contributions to BC Studies, and collaborative projects have furthered our understanding of British Columbia’s history.  With Hugh Johnston, he co-edited Captain James Cook and His Times in 1979 and From Maps to Metaphors: The Pacific World of George Vancouver in 1993. He also worked with Jack Bumsted, editing An Account of a Voyage to the North West Coast of America in 1785 and 1786 in 1982 and with Ken Coates on Out of the Background: Readings on Canadian History, which has gone through two editions. Fisher was also a driving force between the unique department-wide collaboration on Pacific Province: A History of British Columbia, contributing an important update on his earlier work on contact and trade. His second major monograph, a biography of British Columbia’s “Little New Deal” Premier, Duff Pattullo of British Columbia, won honourable mention in the 1992 Clio Prize and still stands as exemplary historical biography and a major contribution to the literature on political history in British Columbia.

Fisher moved to Prince George in 1993 to build a History Department at the University of Northern British Columbia. As the founding Department Chair he played a pivotal role in assembling a team of scholars with strengths in northern and British Columbian studies. He remained active in teaching and researching the province’s history throughout this period, even after his promotion to the position of Dean. In 2002 he was recruited to the position of Dean of Arts at the University of Regina and three years later he became Vice-President Academic and Provost at Calgary’s Mount Royal College, shepherding it into university-status in 2009. Fisher’s continued support of Indigenous scholarship and students was manifest in his role in the building of the Iniskim Centre, for which he was honoured by Blackfoot elders and further recognized with a Niitsitapi name, Stum eek see yaan, prior to his retirement in 2013.
Fisher has taught thousands of undergraduates and supervised dozens of graduate students over the years. He has been a forceful advocate, as well, for the role of the public scholar and the need for academic historians to communicate their discoveries beyond the ivory towers. Fisher continues to pursue research, set a high standard as a writer, and engage publicly and collaboratively with the history of British Columbia, a path we celebrate with this 2016 Clio Award.