Department of History


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Dr. Anna Hájková wins dissertation prize

Congratulations to University of Toronto PhD graduate Anna Hájková, who has won the Herbert Steiner Prize for her 2013 dissertation Prisoner Society in the Terezín Ghetto, 1941-1945. The Prize, awarded in cooperation by the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance and the International Conference of Labour and Social History, is awarded for outstanding research in the fields of resistance, persecution, and exile in the time of fascism and Nazi rule or labour history. Dr. Hájková wrote her dissertation in the Department of History under the supervision of Professor Doris Bergen. She is now Assistant Professor of Modern Continental European History at the University of Warwick.

Posted: November 13, 2014

Professor Nick Terpstra wins book prize!

Congratulations to Nicholas Terpstra, Chair of the Department of History, who has won the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian history or Italian-American relations from the American Historical Association for his book Cultures of Charity: Women, Politics, and the Reform of Poor Relief in Renaissance Italy (Harvard University Press, 2013). Click here for more information on the book and prize citation (pdf document).

Posted: October 24, 2014

In memoriam: Professor Emeritus David Higgs

Dear colleagues,

I am writing with the very sad news that David Higgs, who taught in the Department of History from 1964 until his retirement in 2004 passed away yesterday in Toronto. 

David was a much beloved colleague and teacher, with a generous manner and a keen wit.  His major interests included the social and political history of France and Portugal from the 17th to the 19th centuries, the socio-religious history of colonial Brazil, migration, and sexual dissidences.  We will be sharing further information shortly

Please find an obituary here (pdf document);  many thanks to Eric Jennings for writing it.  There is as yet no word of a memorial service, but we will share with you any information that we receive.

Posted: October 24, 2014

Graduate student Shane Lynn wins essay prize

Graduate student Shane Patrick Lynn has won the Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand Postgraduate Essay Prize in Irish Studies for his article “Osmond Esmonde’s Dominion Odyssey: Irish Nationalism in the British Empire, 1920-21.” This article is based on his MA 2000 paper, written under the direction of David Wilson. It will be published in December’s issue of the Australasian Journal of Irish Studies. Congratulations to Shane for his success!

Posted: October 7, 2014

History on the Move -- quite literally!

Dear Colleagues,

In the next 24 hours, the University of Toronto will issue a press release announcing construction of a new building on the St. George campus.  The building will be anchored by a museum and will include some research centres and 2 departments.  The History Department is one of these. 

We will be gaining significant new space, and this will allow all members of the St. George History Department to come together in one place.  We will also be able to provide more space -- and more appropriate space -- for members of the TriCampus Graduate History Department. 

The University will announce further details in the official announcement at;  it should be posted by Tuesday morning.  I will also be able to share more information at the Tricampus History Department meeting scheduled for Wednesday 17 September at 3:00, and at the Welcome Back party afterwards.  Please RSVP to by Friday 12 September, so that we can be sure to order enough food for the party.

We won’t be wishing Sid Smith good bye just yet, as the process of planning and construction will take a few years.  But this is very exciting news, particularly as our new location will open up many new possibilities for fruitful collaborations with other departments and centres both within and beyond the university.  We’ve been promised a role in the planning of the new space, and with additional fundraising on our part we will have the opportunity to  customize it as well.  Some interesting years ahead!

Memorandum from the President (pdf document)

Press Release (pdf document)

Posted: September 10, 2014

Nick Evertt's research on pre-modern medicine is featured by UofT News:

Posted: August 21, 2014

Faculty members Margaret MacMillan, Jennifer Jenkins, and Nicholas Terpstra talked about the origins of World War One and the madness of prolonged wars in recent CBC radio programs and interviews

Three historians were interviewed on CBC Radio's "The Current" on the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the beginning of the First World War. University of Toronto's Jennifer Jenkins spoke on Germany, Tim Cook on Canada, and Thomas Otte on Great Britain.

Two University of Toronto historians address the madness of war in recent episodes of the CBC Radio program Ideas.  For podcasts:

Madness and the Prolonged War

From the Stratford Festival, General John de Chastelain and historian Nick Terpstra discuss the social consequences of war: when there is no longer a centre to hold, what happens to both communities and individuals?

Download Madness and the Prolonged War [mp3 file: runs 00:53:58]

Margaret MacMillan and World War One

Margaret MacMillan is one of the world's leading scholars on World War One. She talks with Paul Kennedy about the origins of the war and what we've learned -- and failed to learn -- from it.

Download Margaret MacMillan and World War One [mp3 file: runs 00:54:00]

Posted: July 4, 2014

Nhung Tuyet Tran and colleagues win prestigious John E Sawyer Seminar grant from Andrew W Mellon Foundation

Nhung Tuyet Tran, who is Canada Research Chair in Southeast Asian History and the Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies is one of four University of Toronto professors who have been granted an award of $175,000 US from the Andrew Mellon Foundation’s John E Sawyer Seminar in the Comparative Study of Cultures for their proposal, “Religious Materiality in the Indian Ocean World, 1300-1800.”  Her colleagues include Karen Ruffle and Ajay Rao, both of whom are cross-appointed with the UTM Department of Historical Studies and the UTSG Department for the Study of Religion; and Walid Saleh, who is cross-appointed to the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and the Department for the Study of Religion at UTSG, and is Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies.

This seminar interrogates how material forms of religious culture reveal the historically contingent nature of translocal practices in the Indian Ocean World from 1300 to 1800. Such practices include the trade in Roman Catholic, Theravada Buddhist, and Shiʿi Muslim relics; mosque, church, and temple architecture; funerary structures; and transformations and translations of religious food taboos and ritual commensality practices.

In the coming year, they will be engaged in preparations for the 2015-2016 Seminar, which will involve meetings of a core group of researchers at Cornell and McGill Universities, as well as a series of eight additional meetings with guest speakers in Toronto, a dissertation workshop for graduate students, and a capstone conference. The seminar will provide research assistantships for two graduate students and support for one postdoctoral fellow. Events in Toronto will be hosted at the UTM and UTSG campuses.

Applications for the John E. Sawyer Seminar in the Comparative Study of Cultures are solicited from selected universities by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The University of Toronto last hosted a Sawyer Seminar in 2006-07, and in that instance the winning application also came from the History Department: Rick Halpern, Ken Mills, Dan Bender, and Derek Williams conducted the seminar on “Globalizing the Americas:  World Economies and Local Communities.”

Posted: June 16, 2014.

2014 President's Teaching Award Recipients: Congratulations to Professor Shafique Virani, Distinguished Professor of Islamic Studies, Chair, Department of Historical Studies, UTM

The President's Teaching Award recognizes sustained excellence and innovation in teaching, research on pedagogy, and the integration of teaching and research. Recipients of the President's Teaching Award are designated as members of the Teaching Academy for a minimum period of five years and receive an annual professional development allowance of $10,000 for five years.

The biographies of this year¹s recipients as well as more information about the President¹s Teaching Award are available at:

Posted: May 2, 2014.

The Sixteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women will take place in Toronto on May 22 – 25, 2014.  The University of Toronto is hosting the first Canadian “Big Berks” in collaboration with co-sponsoring units and universities in Toronto and across Canada. The Big Berks is the largest academic conference on the history of women, gender, and sexuality in North America. Read more about its history below and our website:

Our program is jam-packed! To help you navigate it, we have created a set of documents to help direct you towards sessions that align with your interests. Check out our Streams @ the Berks documents.

Also part of the program are a digital lab featuring some of the most exciting projects in digital history, a full day of programming for teachers, and continuous film and experimental videos screenings. Finally, on Friday May 23, the Art Gallery of Ontario becomes a conference hub with academic sessions and sign-up workshops and tours!  

In addition to the academic programming, the program committee and the local arrangements committee put together an exciting line up of cultural events. When you register for the conference, you can sign up for enlightening, exciting, and fun events (tours, workshops, and evening programming) organized for conference participants. We’ll be adding more programming over the coming months: there are still tickets for the Friday Night @ the Berks. On Thursday Night, check-out the premier of documentary film maker Renata Keller’s film on pioneer woman historian Gerda Lerner, Living History: Documenting Gerda Lerner’s Life and Work. Saturday Night @ the Berks will include a drag king and queen show and the dance (lineup TBA). We’ll be updating our posts. For more information, check back with us again and again! When you are ready, CLICK HERE to register!

What is the Berks?

The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians formed in 1930 in response to women academics’ sense of professional isolation. Although allowed to join the American Historical Association (the professional organization for historians in the U.S.), women were never invited to the “smokers,” the parties, the dinners and the informal gatherings where the leading men of the profession introduced their graduate students to their colleagues and generally shepherded them into history jobs in colleges and universities.

The best-known aspect of our organization is the meeting of the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, or “Big Berks,” held every three years. The Big Berkshire Conference began in the early 1970s and grew out of the flourishing interest in women’s studies across the country. The first Berkshire Conference on the History of Women took place at Douglass College, Rutgers University, in 1973. Expecting only 100 or so participants, the Douglass conference drew instead three times that number, prompting calls for another.

To read more, visit the Berks organization website @

Updated: April 7, 2014.

Congratulations to Prof. Nicholas Terpstra for winning the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize

Nicholas Terpstra has just received an award from the Renaissance Society of America for the best book published in the field of Renaissance Studies in 2013.  The Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize was awarded for Cultures of Charity: Women, Politics, and the Reform of Poor Relief in Renaissance Italy (Harvard University Press; 2013), and was presented at the annual meeting of the RSA in New York in April 2014.

Posted: April 11, 2014.

Congratulations to Camille Begin, for winning a SSHRC Post Doc

Congratulations to Camille Begin, for winning a SSHRC Post Doc for a project entitled "The Taste of Comfort: Food, the Senses, and the U.S. Empire, 1890s-1950s".  Camille will be at the Center for Sensory Studies, Sociology and Anthropology Department, Concordia University, and will be working with Prof. David Howes.

This year, Camille is working as Program Coordinator for the 2014 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, and is also Executive Director of the Culinaria Research Project at UTSC.

Posted: March 19, 2014.

Annual 2014 History Department Creighton Lecture

Andrew Preston, 2013 Charles Taylor Prize Winner

"Freedom from Fear: American Security and Insecurity in the World"?

Friday February 28, 4:30 p.m.

Victoria College, Northrop Frye Building Room 003

Reception to follow

Andrew Preston is Reader in American History and a Fellow of Clare College at Cambridge University, where he also serves as editor of The Historical Journal. He has appeared on national television and radio in the United States and Canada and his writing has appeared in the Globe & Mail, the Boston Globe,, Politico, and History Today. He is the author of The War Council: McGeorge Bundy, the NSC, and Vietnam (Harvard University Press, 2006) and co-editor, with Fredrik Logevall, of Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1969-1977 (Oxford University Press, 2008). His most recent book, Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy (Knopf, 2012), received the 2013 Charles Taylor Prize. He is also an alumnus of the University of Toronto (9T6), where he studied History and Political Science.

Posted: January 22, 2014.

Michael Bliss, who was recently promoted from Member to Officer within the ranks of the Order of Canada.

Congratulations to Michael Bliss, who was recently promoted from Member to Officer within the ranks of the Order of Canada.  Author of 12 books, including The Discovery of Insulin (1982), Northern Enterprise (1987), Plague: A Story of Smallpox in Montreal (1991), and Harvey Cushing: a Life in Surgery (2005), Michael became an Assistant Professor in the History Department in 1968 and retired as University Professor in 2006.  

Posted: January 16, 2014.

Natalie Zemon Davis wins National Humanities Medal

Congratulations to Natalie Zemon Davis who has just been awarded a 2012 National Humanities Medal.  Apart from her stellar career in research and publishing, Natalie has contributed actively to our Department for years.  Many of us will know of her indefatigable support for graduate students since she moved back to Toronto after retiring from Princeton.  What is equally worth marking is that in the 1960s, Natalie pioneered one of the first courses in Women’s History in North America through our Department, collaborating together with Jill Ker Conway (who also received a National Humanities Medal in the same White House Ceremony this past week).

For further detail please visit:

Posted: July 12, 2013.

David Wilson appointed General Editor of Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Congratulations to David Wilson, who has just been appointed as General Editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.  He takes over from Dr. John English, who has also been affiliated with our Department since his retirement from the University of Waterloo.  We are happy that through David we can maintain this strong connection between the Department of History and the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

For more on the DCB:

Posted: July 12, 2013.

The Donald Creighton Lecture, 2013

Special Event: The 2013 Donald Creighton Lecture

Sir David Cannadine, FBA

The ‘Special Relationship’ in Historical Perspective:

Winston Churchill and Anglo-America Revisited

Friday, April 5th, 4 p.m., George Ignatieff Theatre

There is no cost to attend the lecture.

Posted: March 18, 2013.

Paul Cohen awarded a residential fellowship at the UofT Jackman Humanities Institute

Paul Cohen was awarded a twelve-month residential fellowship at the UofT Jackman Humanities Institute for next year.  Fellows are selected for their "distinction in achievements relative to their career stage and the excellence of their proposed project, and its relation to the annual theme for 2013-2014, "Translation and the Multiplicity of Languages." Paul's project is "Navigating the Languages of Empire."  Further information can be found at

Posted: December 19, 2012.

Congratulations to Professor John English for winning this year's Governor General's History Award

Congratulations to Professor John English, of the History Department and Trinity College, who along with his colleague, Réal Bélanger from Québec City, are winners of this year’s Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media: The Pierre Berton Award, for their stories about Canadians who have significantly contributed to the shaping of our history in The Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Posted: November 27, 2012.

UTSC’S Natalie Rothman Wins Two Prestigious Book Prizes

Posted: October 25, 2012.

Eric Jennings Wins the 2012 Jean-François Coste prize

The French language translation of his book  Curing the Colonizers: Hydrotherapy, Climatology, and French Colonial Spas (À la cure, les coloniaux ! Thermalisme, climatisme et colonisation française, 1830-1962) won the 2012 Jean-François Coste prize for best book in the history of medicine from the Académie nationale de médecine in Paris ( )

Posted: October 25, 2012.

Professor Doris Bergen has been awarded the Ludwik and Estelle Jus Memorial Human Rights Prize for 2012!

We in the History Department, and in the UofT more broadly, see Doris in action every day; the rest of the world seems to read and hear her too. On behalf of our Department and the rest of the university, let us express how proud we are of Doris's achievements, and how grateful we are for her many contributions.

Posted: March 21, 2012.

In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Richard John Helmstadter

Peacefully at Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket on Thursday, February 23, 2012. Richard in his 78th year, is survived by his wife of 52 years, Carol; three daughters Jane (Richard), Sarah (Gregg) and Anne (Timothy); three brothers Daniel, David and John; and five grandchildren Thomas and Michael Carleton, Caroline and Katherine Bellamy and Alexandra Solomon. The funeral service will be held in ST. PAUL'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, 227 Bloor Street East, Toronto on Monday, February 27 at 1:30 p.m. Interment St. James' Cemetery. If desired, donations may be made to the St. Paul's Anglican Church Heritage Fund (M4W 1C8). Condolences and memories may be forwarded through

Prof. Helmstadter's obituary can be found at

Posted: February 27, 2012.

In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Thayron 'Sandy' Sandquist

Nov. 10, 1931 to Jan. 14, 2012
Thayron was born in Longview WA. His distinguished academic career began when he graduated in 1950 from the local R.A. Long High School with a scholarship to Reed College in Portland OR. There, he won a Fulbright scholarship to study at the London School of Economics. He completed his MA at the University of Chicago and his PHD in Medieval History at the University of Toronto, where he taught until his retirement in 1995.
'Sandy', as Thayron was also known, had a lifelong interest in bicycling. He founded Sandy's Cycle Shop in Toronto, and rode whenever and wherever he could. His son David took over the bike shop and today Sandy's Cycle Shop and Books is still an integral part of the Toronto cycling community. Sandy introduced his wife Stella to cycling and together they rode on several trips in France and Spain, including the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain. Sandy trained extensively for the 1999 Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle ride of 1200 km; he finished the race in 90 hours.
Thayron was a master craftsman and woodworker; he was also an inventor and tinkerer. At the age of 12, he was the youngest licensed Ham Radio operator in the United States, building and then operating his own station for several years. Many years later, upon retiring with Stella to Parksville BC, he first designed and built a freestanding workshop where he crafted model ships, toys for grandchildren, furniture and many other projects. When the workshop was completed, Sandy and Stella embarked on the design and build of their beautiful wood craftsman style home and garden on a lovely wooded property, where they entertained a steady stream of family and friends. Thayron is survived by his wife Stella Meades, of Parksville BC and her 3 daughters and their families; his 3 children, David (Toronto) Julia (Ottawa), and Geoffrey (France); 9 grandchildren; his brother James Sandquist of Sherwood, OR.; his wife Jeannie, their son and 3 grandnieces. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Geraldine Davis; a daughter, Patricia; and parents Adolph and Mildred Sandquist.
He passed away quietly at home in Parksville with his wife and daughter at his side.'

Prof. Sandquist obituary can be found at

Posted: February 27, 2012.

Creighton Lecture March 8, 2012

Save the date and spread the word about the Department of History's 2012 Creighton Lecture:

Adele Perry
Canada Research Chair in Western Canadian Social History, University of Manitoba

Mobile Subjects: Nations, Empires, and Biographies in the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World

Thursday, 8 March 2012, Seating at 4:30 pm for a prompt 5:00 pm start

Innis Town Hall, University of Toronto, 2 Sussex Avenue, ground floor  (corner of St. George and Sussex)

Please RSVP to 

James Douglas (1803-1877) is a conventional figure of Canadian history: a fur-trader, a colonial governor, and a proverbial self-made man.  In this lecture Perry will use her research on Douglas, his wife Amelia Connolly and their extended families to reconsider the relationship between nations, empires, and history.   Born in Demerara (now post-colonial Guyana), Douglas married into an elite Cree-Métis family, spent his adult life in western North America, and served as Britain’s most powerful representative on the west coast.   Douglas and Connolly were mobile subjects whose biographies prompt us to think differently about nations, empires, and the work of history in imagining them. 

Our 2012 Creighton Lecturer is Adele Perry, a feminist historian of the nineteenth-century world.  She has a PhD in Canadian history from York University and is currently Canada Research Chair (Tier II) of Western Canadian Social History at the University of Manitoba, where she has taught since 2000.   Perry’s 2001 book On the Edge of Empire: Gender, Race, and the Making of British Columbia, 1849-1871 (University of Toronto Press) won the Canadian Historical Association’s Clio Prize for the best book on the history of British Columbia and co-won the American Historical Association–Pacific Coast Branch Award for best first book by a younger scholar.   Perry has co-edited three editions of Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women’s History and published widely within Canada and internationally.   She is currently the book review editor of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, co-editing a collection of essays on the relationship between Canadian and transnational history, and completing a monograph that uses the history of James Douglas, Amelia Connolly, and their family to reconsider the lived history of the British empire.

In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Patrick White

WHITE, Prof. Patrick CT - BA(UBC), MA(Cambridge), PHD(University of Minnesota) Passed away quietly at Hillsdale Estates, Oshawa on Friday, May 21, 2010 in his 85th year. Predeceased by his beloved wife Jane (nee Seymour) in 1990. Survived by his son Rev. Christopher White and daughter Alison White, mourned by his daughter-in-law Wendy and son-in-law Julian Lee. Will be missed by his grandchildren Sarah, Elizabeth, Molly, Henrietta and Conrad. Prof. White was a gifted academic, teacher and author. He was a keen fisherman, who chased trout and salmon across the globe and had a love of politics, good wine and debate combined with a mischievous sense of humour. We will celebrate his life at St. Clements Anglican Church, Toronto on Wednesday, May 26th. Visitation from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m., service at noon. Visitation will also take place at Westminster United Church, Whitby from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Catherines College, Cambridge or the charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to OSHAWA FUNERAL HOME, 847 King Street West (905-721-1234).

Prof. White's obituary can be found at

Posted: November 4, 2010

History Current – a new, annual newsletter from the Department of History at the University of Toronto

On behalf of my colleagues and all our administrative staff, I'm delighted to present the first issue of History Current – a new, annual newsletter from the Department of History at the University of Toronto. We're reaching out to you, our community of students (present and future), our faculty, emeriti, alumni, friends and supporters. History Current lets you in on some of what's happening in and around our Department. And it comes with a warm invitation: be in touch, attend our upcoming events, and help History to continue to thrive.

Within, you’ll find reflections by faculty and students on critical issues past and present, interviews, and news of the activities and accomplishments of faculty, students and alumni.  

If you've been away from History for a time, welcome back! If you're a teacher and scholar just down the corridor, well, you're as welcome as ever. We'd love to hear from you, about what you find in our newsletter, and about anything else.

Kenneth Mills

Posted: September 20, 2010

Kenneth Mills's essay on Natalie Zemon Davis, “What is History For? Natalie Zemon Davis and Ludvig Holberg”

Photo: Vicky DingilloOn June 9, 2010 in the Cathedral School in Bergen, Norway, U of T historian Natalie Zemon Davis accepted the Holberg International Memorial Prize for work in the humanities. Awarded by the Norwegian parliament and named for an eighteenthcentury playwright and historian, the Holberg Prize carries a cash value of about $785,000. History Chair Kenneth Mills, who attended the ceremony, describes Professor Zemon Davis as “one of history’s most exquisite practitioners and most gifted and generous teachers.” The award citation highlighted two additional traits: her “creativity and fearlessness."

Holberg Prize winner Natalie Zemon Davis with Joan W. Scott
in Bergen, Norway, June 8, 2010. Photo by Kenneth Mills

Posted: September 20, 2010

The 2010 Donald Creighton Lecture presented by the Department of History at the University of Toronto is now available as a webcast. Click on the URL below

Drawing Out Law: Re-imagining First Nation-Crown Relations Through Indigenous Legal Traditions

by John Borrows

18 March 2010

Posted: April 22, 2010

Congratulations to David Wilson! -- who wins the 2010 Raymond Klibansky Award

The 2010 Raymond Klibansky award for best English-language work in the humanities will be awarded to David Wilson, professor of History and Celtic Studies at the University of Toronto, for Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Volume 1:  Passion, Reason, and Politics, 1825-1857, published by McGill-Queen's University Press. Wilson explores the life of Thomas D'Arcy McGee, exposing the reader to the complex and turbulent times that shaped McGee's early political life. This is a landmark work on a Canadian icon. For more info, click on:

Posted: March 30, 2010

Out of his class! Nicholas Terpstra wins Outstanding Teaching Award

Posted: March 26, 2010

Nicholas Everett wins a New Directions Fellowship from the Mellon Foundation

Posted: March 22, 2010

Congratulations to Natalie Zemon Davis, recipient of a Holberg International Memorial Prize

Posted: March 22, 2010

The Department of History at the University of Toronto
warmly invites you to the 2010 Donald Creighton Lecture

Drawing Out Law: Re-imagining
First Nation—Crown Relations
Through Indigenous Legal Traditions

John Borrows

Thursday, 18 March 2010

5:00 pm seating, with the lecture promptly at 5:30 pm

Seeley Hall, Trinity College

University of Toronto
6 Hoskin Avenue
(TTC, Museum or St. George)
RSVP: before 11 March 2010

The 2010 Creighton Lecturer John Borrows is an internationally renowned expert on Canadian and U.S. aboriginal law and justice, and a leading scholar and teacher of indigenous and constitutional legal traditions in their historical and comparative frameworks. His Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law received the Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, and he has two forthcoming books from the University of Toronto Press: Canada's Indigenous Constitution and the study he will discuss in this lecture, Drawing Out Law: A Spirit's Guide. Currently Professor and Robina Chair in Law and Society at the University of Minnesota Law School and Professor and Law Foundation Chair of Aboriginal Law and Justice at the University of Victoria Law School, Borrows has been a distinguished visiting professor at institutions across the United States, in Australia and New Zealand. He is the recipient of an Aboriginal Achievement Award in Law and Justice, a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation, and a Fellow of the Academy of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada (RSC). John Borrows is Anishinaabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada.

Relationships between indigenous peoples and successive waves of newcomers and their descendants have played a central role in shaping Canadian history. Despite constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights in 1982, and the federal government's 2008 apology to residential school survivors, significant silences and challenges surrounding these dynamic relationships persist.  Professor John Borrows sees opportunities and suggests a thoughtful way forward which recovers and mobilises vital indigenous legal frameworks towards a larger, collective Canadian purpose. He employs Anishinaabe/Ojibway narrative methodologies to explore Anishinaabe perceptions of law. In so doing, this year's Creighton Lecturer invites us to re-think existing historical and legal interpretations of First Nations—Crown relations and revisit a fundamental trajectory in Canadian history.

Poster: March 8, 2010

Steve Rockel wins Joel Gregory Prize

Steve Rockel's Carriers of Culutre: Labor on the Road in the 19th Century East Africa (2006) has won the Joel Gregory Prize for the best book in Africa in any discipline by a Canadian citizen, landed immigrant, or an African who studied in Canada, published in the years 2006 and 2007.

Posted: May 14, 2009

David Wilson wins James S. Donnelly Prize

David Wilson's Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Volume I:  Politics, Reason, and Passion 1825-1857/ is co-winner of the tenth  annual James S. Donnelly prize for best book in Irish history and social sciences, awarded by the American Conference for Irish Studies.

Posted: May 12, 2009

In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Maurice Careless

February 17, 1919 -- April 6, 2009

James Maurice Stockford Careless, Ph.D., the foremost Canadian historian of his generation, died on April 6th in Toronto. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1981 and won the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction Writing twice: once in 1953 for Canada: A Story of Challenge, and a decade later for Brown of the Globe. Dr. Careless made his mark in developing the ‘Metropolitan’ theory of Canadian history.

Born in Toronto on Feb.17, 1919, J.M.S. Careless – Maurice – to family and friends – received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1940 from the University of Toronto. He subsequently attended Harvard University; receiving his Master's degree in 1941 and, after World War II, his Ph.D. in 1950. During the war, Dr. Careless worked in Naval Service Headquarters at Ottawa, then transferred to the Department of External Affairs, where he served as Canadian Diplomatic Officer aboard the prisoner-of-war exchange ship Gripsholm.

Dr. Careless began teaching at the University of Toronto in 1945. He became an Assistant Professor in 1949, full Professor in 1959 and served as Chairman of the Department of History from 1959 to 1967. In 1977 he was appointed to the prestigious position of University Professor and upon retirement in 1984, became University Professor Emeritus. Dr. Careless also served as President of the Ontario Historical Society in 1959 and Vice-Chairman of the provincial Archaeological and Historic Sites Board. His other honours include being chosen as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and winning the J.B. Tyrrell Historical Medal; the Order of Ontario, and the National Heritage Award. He was fond of reminding his students that “nothing in history is inevitable until it happens.”

A noted raconteur and artist, Dr. Careless was also a devoted family man who took great delight in his children and grandchildren. He is survived by his beloved wife Elizabeth (Betty) Isobel Robinson; five children: Anthony (Sue), Virginia, Richard (Dona), Andrea (Doug), and James (Sue); as well as ten grandchildren: Jonathan, Jill, Philip, Anne, Sheena, Tara, Dylan, Teagan, Robin and Leah.

His funeral will be held at 11am on Wed. April 15th at Trinity College Chapel, 6 Hoskin Ave., followed by a reception at Massey College. If desired, donations may be made to The Salvation Army, 1645 Warden Ave., Toronto, M1R 5B3. Condolences may be forwarded through

Posted: April 7, 2009 (Updated: April 9, 2009)

Professor Shafique Virani's book "The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation" has been awarded the Farabi International Award and awards from UNESCO and ISESCO

Professor Shafique Virani's book, "The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation" has been awarded Iran's highest honor for research in the humanities, the Farabi International Award, as well as awards from UNESCO and ISESCO. It had previously received awards from the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) and the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. For the Farabi Award, Dr. Virani was flown to Iran as a guest of state, was presented the prize by the president, Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and was given a guided tour of many places of historical and cultural significance throughout the country. The book is the first by Oxford University Press to have its own trailer, which can be viewed at

Posted: January 15, 2009

NEW! History undergraduate courses added for the January session

HIS329H1-S, Globalization History
Instructor: TBA
This course will explore ways in which “globalization” is a profoundly significant and deeply rooted historical process. Although emphasis will be placed on the 19th and 20th centuries, some of the economic, political, cultural, and technological forces shaping the past millennium will also be considered.

Recommended Preparation: HIS 103Y1

HIS496H1-S, L0501, Topics in History: War and Identity in Canadian History
Instructor: TBA
This course considers the significance of war for Canadian history from the establishment of New France at the outset of the seventeenth century to the recent history of Canada's involvement in the so-called war on terror. Topics that will be explored include gender and war, national mythologies and war, state policy and citizenship, home front society, war front experience and cultural meanings associated with or resulting from war. Students will read secondary works and discuss some primary sources in seminars.

HIS496H1-S, L0601, Topics in History: Historiographical Issues in Post-War Japan
Instructor: C. Takagaki
This course will examine issues that have arisen in postwar Japan to provoke discussion into some basic questions concerning the study of history, i.e. how do we study history, who creates history, how is history used, is history "important"?

Posted October 27, 2008

University Professor Emeritus John Beattie is the winner of of the American Society of Legal History's Sutherland Prize

University Professor Emeritus John Beattie of history and the Centre of Criminology is the winner of the American Society of Legal History's Sutherland Prize. The prize, named in honour of the late Donald Sutherland, a distinguished historian of the law of medieval England and a mentor of many students, is awarded annually to the author or authors of the best article on English legal history published in the previous year. Beattie won the prize, announced Nov. 15 during the society's annual meeting in Ottawa, for his article, Sir John Fielding and Public Justice: the Bow Street Magistrate's Court, 1754-1780, published in Volume 25 of Law and History Review.

Posted November 26, 2008

Chris Pennington (UTSC) has been nominated in TVO's Best Lecturer Competition

The Best Lecturer Competition invites Ontarians to nominate professors whose love of learning has helped to stimulate imaginations, open eyes and push boundaries in institutions of higher learning across the province. A panel of judges will choose 10 finalists from the nominee list to deliver televised lectures on TVO's Big Ideas program. Television viewers who watch the program will have a chance to grade each of the finalists and cast their votes for TVO's Best Lecturer. Finalists will be chosen for the ability to present complex ideas with clarity, energy and authority. The top 10 finalists are scheduled to be announced in early December. Then final lectures will begin airing on TVO on Saturday, Feb. 28. The winner of the competition will receive a $10,000 scholarship for his or her school from TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, the competition's sponsor.

Posted November 26, 2008

Professor Michael Marrus wins Holocaust Education Foundation award

Professor Michael Marrus, the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Chair Emeritus in Holocaust Studies, has been awarded the Holocaust Educational Foundation's Distinguished Achievements Award in Holocaust Studies and Research.  The award was present October 30, 2008, at the Lessons and Legacies conference.

Posted November 3, 2008

Professor Thomas Lahusen wins film directing award

Professor Thomas Lahusen, Canada Research Chair in History, Arts and Culture, has won the "Best Directing" award at the second Issyk-Kul International Film Festival of the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation, held in October, 2008.  The award was made in recognition of Professor Lahusen's film, "The Province of Lost Film," co-directed with Alexander Gershtein and Tracy McDonald; the film evokes the lost world of Soviet cinefication (the effort to take film to even the remotest parts of the old U.S.S.R.).

Posted November 3, 2008

Professor Michael Marrus named to the Order of Canada July 1 by Governor General Michaëlle Jean

Governor General Michaëlle Jean cited Marrus, a member of the Department of History and a former dean of the School of Graduate Studies, for "his contributions as a scholar and historian, notably on the history, causes and consequences of the Holocaust," naming him a member of the Order of Canada.

Posted September 26, 2008

Professor Shafique Virani wins BRISME prize

Shafique Virani's book, The Ismailis in the Middle Ages, was recently declared a co-winner of the annnual Book Prize of BRISMES, the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.  The announcement is below.

"This fascinating and elegantly written book deals with a little known area of later medieval Islamic history, namely that of the Ismailis after the Mongol destruction of Alamut in 1256.The author draws on a wide array of Arabic and Persian sources, providing new and valuable information on the fate of the Ismailis in the period 1256-1500. The author gives an admirably lucid account of the history of both events and doctrines, and explains how the Ismailis survived in hostile environments, using a variety of stratagems."

Posted September 15, 2008

Professor Michelle Murphy wins Ludwig Fleck Prize

Michelle Murphy's recent monograph, Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty (Duke, 2006) has been awarded the Ludwig Fleck Prize, sponsored by the Society for Social Studies of Science. The prize was awarded at the society's annual meeting this past August, in Rotterdam. The Fleck Prize is awarded annually for the best book in the area of science and technology studies, and each year the prize committee considers publications for three years, so that Sick Building Syndrome competed with books with copyright dates from 2005-2007. Eligible fields include, but are not limited to, sociology, anthropology, history, philosophy, political science, economics, geography, psychology and fields outside long established disciplines. For further information on the prize, go to To find out more about Sick Buildings Syndrome, go to

Posted September 9, 2008

Professor Iacovetta wins CHA's Macdonald Prize

It's a pleasure to let you know that our UTSC colleague, Franca Iacovetta, has won the Canadian Historical Associations for the best book published in Canadian History. Franca's winning volume is Gatekeepers: Reshaping Immigrant Lives in Cold War Canada, published by Between the Lines.

Franca is the thirtieth winner of the Macdonald Prize; previous grad. department winners are Jan Noel, for Temperance Crusades before Confederation (1996), and Allan Greer, for Peasant, Lord, and Merchant: Rural Society in three Parishes 1740-1840 (1986).

Please join us in congratulating Franca on this splendid achievement.

*Study History Abroad this Summer*

This year UofT is offering three HIS courses as part of the Summer Abroad programs:

HIS385Y History of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
HIS395Y The Italian Mosaic: The Independent States of the Peninsula (Italy)
HIS395Y The City in Central Europe: Vienna, Budapest, Wroclaw, and Prague (Central Europe)

Full (preliminary) course outlines are available on the Summer Abroad website (URLs are listed below, along with brief course descriptions).

There is significant FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE available for students participating in the Summer Abroad program (particularly for students going to Hong Kong). The awards application deadline is this Friday, February 1:

The general Summer Abroad application is due on March 1 (for students not requesting financial assistance):

For all courses listed below students will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Professor Heidi Bohaker is the recipient of two article awards

Prof. Heidi Bohaker of the Department of History has won the American Society for Ethnohistory's 2006 Robert F. Heizer article award for the best article in the field of ethnohistory in the award year.  Professor Bohaker won the award for "Nindoodemag: The Significance of Algonquian Kinship Networks in the Eastern Great Lakes Region, 1600-1701," The William and Mary Quarterly 63.1 (2006), 23-52.  This essay also received the 2006 Richard L. Morton award from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture for a distinguished article published in the William and Mary Quarterly by an author in graduate study at the time of submission.

In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Rebecca V. Colman

COLMAN, Professor Rebecca V. died quietly at her home in Bordeaux, France, on September 12, 2007, at the age of 86. She achieved a ''magnificent teaching record'' at Oxford, York University (Toronto), and the University of Toronto History Department, while publishing articles of significance in medieval history. Professor Colman is survived by her husband John; son Charles and his wife Pamela; daughter Julia and her husband Ludovic Bois; grandson David; and granddaughter Laura.

Grad Student Awards

Greetings from the Graduate office.

We have much happy news to report from this past academic year.  Once again, one of our recent PhDs has won the CHA’s John Bullen Prize for the Outstanding Dissertation in Canada.  This time it is Bruce Retallack for his thesis entitled: “Drawing the Lines: Gender, Class, Race and Nation in Canadian Editorial Cartoons, 1840-1926” (Supervisor: Paul Rutherford).  For the list of previous winners, see

One of our MA students, Lilia Topouzova, is the author of a documentary “The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories” that was recently shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Congratulations to Samuel Cohen, in medieval history, for winning the Chancellor Jackman Graduate Student Fellowship in the Humanities. 

Finally, congratulations to all of you who have defended your dissertations, found positions, passed your comprehensive exams, and won outside funding. Here is the list of this year’s CGS, SSHRC and OGS winners:


Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral (CGSD)

Edward Ho

Meaghan Marian

Bradley Miller

Margaret Schotte


Laurie Bertram

Samuel Cohen

Christopher Parsons


Auri Berg
Meaghan Marian
Christine Berkowitz
Denis McKim
Laurie Bertram
Bradley Miller
Nancy Catton
Jutta Paczulla
Samuel Cohen
Stuart Parker
Julie Gilmour
Christoper Parsons
Geoffrey Hamm
Margaret Schotte
Edward Ho
Heather Shaw
Erin Hochman
Candace Sobers
Mark Laszlo-Herbert
David Stiles
Amanda Lepp
Andrew Tracy

Posted: June 21, 2007

Grad Student wins Canadian Association of Slavists Essay prize

The Canadian Association of Slavists Annual Essay Contest for best Graduate and Undergraduate Essays for 2006 have been awarded to Auri Berg and Talia Zajac.

The graduate prize goes to Auri Berg of the University of Toronto for an essay entitled "From Town to City: Urbanization and Social Integration in late 19th Century Nizhnii Novgorod." The essay was nominated by Prof. Robert Johnson.

The undergraduate prize goes to Talia Zajac of the University of Toronto for an essay entitled "Silk and Crosses: Contextualizing the Rus' Conversion of 988 in Byzantine and Rus' Sources." The essay was nominated by Prof. Nicholas Everett.

The winners in the competition will receive a one-year paid membership in the Canadian Association of Slavists, and a $250 reimbursement to help cover the expenses of participating in the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Slavists (to be held at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in 2008).  Additionally, the winning submissions will be considered for publication in Canadian Slavonic Papers.

The executive of the Canadian Association of Slavists and the Department of History congratulates these students on their excellent academic work.

Posted: May 25, 2007

In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Harold I. Nelson

NELSON, Harold Ira Peacefully at his home, Monday, March 19, 2007 in his 88th year. Beloved husband of the late Helen Mary Nelson (Warnock). Dear father of Lora Nelson and William Harold Nelson. Professor Emeritus of the History Department, University of Toronto. Relatives and friends will be received at the TRULL FUNERAL HOME 'NORTH TORONTO CHAPEL', 2704 Yonge Street (5 blocks south of Lawrence) on Tuesday, March 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. A funeral service will be held at EGLINTON ST GEORGE'S UNITED CHURCH, 35 Lytton Blvd. on Wednesday, March 28 at 2 p.m. A reception will follow at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations to the charity of one's choice would be appreciated.

Grad Student wins Canadian Journal of History 2006 Graduate Essay Competition

"Congratulations to Jutta Paczulla for winning the Canadain Journal of History 2006 Graduate Essay Competition. Jutta's essay, entitled "Talking to India: George Orwell's Work at the BBC, 1941-1943" will be published as an article in the next issue of the Canadian Journal of History (2007)."

Grad Student Awards

As we take stock of this past academic year, congratulations are in order for some of our stellar graduate students. As you have no doubt heard, doctoral student Lisa Helps has been awarded the prestigious Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship. Ms. Helps is one of only 15 winners-- in all disciplines-- from across Canada. This prestigious scholarship includes a stipend and travel allowence. Lisa's thesis explores the history and representation of vagrancy and homelessness in Canada and the US.

Recently graduated PhD Deborah Neill won the Canadian Historical Association's John Bullen prize for the best dissertation in history completed during the 2004-05 academic year. Ms. Neill's thesis "Transnationalism in The Colonies: Cooperation, Rivalry, and Race in German and French Tropical Medicine, 1880- 1930" was defended in September 2005. Deborah deftly combines the histories of medicine and colonialism in a comparative framework.

Doctoral student Jutta Paczulla received the Jackman Graduate Student Fellowship in the Humanities starting in 2006-07. Ms. Paczulla's dissertation is entitled "Mirrors of Justice: East German Trials of Nazi Perpetrators in the 1970s".

Congratulations as well to our CGS, SSHRC and OGS winners! Well done.

In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Peter Brock

BROCK, Peter
Professor Emeritus of History, University of Toronto, diedPhoto: Carmen & Peter Brock peacefully at home on Sunday, May 28 after a 10 month illness with cancer.

He was 86. Fluent in many languages and the author of 30 books and numerous articles, Peter was a pre-eminent authority on Polish and East European history and the world's foremost scholar of pacifist history. ''No ideology,'' wrote Oxford political scientist Martin Ceadel, ''wes more to one academic than pacifism owes to Peter Brock. That the scope andrichness of its historical tradition can now be recognized is largely the result of Brock's sympathetic and dedicated scholarship, which was begun when pacifism was an unfashionable subject.''

Born on the Island of Guernsey, United Kingdom in 1920, Peter was a conscientious objector in Britain during World War II. He was briefly imprisoned, served out the rest of the war on alternative service and worked as a volunteer in the Anglo-American Quaker Relief Mission in postwar Poland. He obtained doctoral degrees in history from the Jagiellonian University of Cracow, Poland, and Oxford University. He taught in history departments at the University of Alberta, Smith College, Columbia University and at the University of Toronto, the latter since 1966. Brock was the recipient of many honours and awards, including the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa from the University of Toronto in 1991.

In 1958 Peter Brock married Carmen Williamson, a Quaker born in Jamaica who died in 1998. Over forty years of married life they shared laughter, humour, a love of music and travel, and a commitment to pacifism. Peter chose their memorial plaque at the foot of a giant American elm tree in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto to read, ''Let us be aware of the source of being common to us all and to all living things.''

Peter is survived by several nephews and nieces in Guernsey and the USA, many friends around the world and a devoted group of friends and colleagues in Toronto who cared for him in his illness.

In December, 2005, Peter was feted by colleagues and friends in a dinner atMassey College, University of Toronto.

Peter Brock is remembered for his vast knowledge, ability to listen and empathize, storytelling, concern for his graduate students and for the state of the world. He kept in touch with colleagues and friends throughl unches and correspondence and, shy at times, stayed in charge. A loving man of convictions, his many essays and books (2 of which were published this year) will carry on his work.

There will be a private funeral with cremation. A memorial service for Professor Brock, to be announced later, will take place at the University of Toronto in early fall.

It is requested that in lieu of flowers, donations remembering Peter Brock be made to The Canadian Friends Service Committee, 60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto, Ont., M5R 1C7.

Posted: June 2, 2006

Professor Ken Barlett Receives President's Teaching Award

The President’s Teaching Award recognizes faculty with a Photo: Ken Bartlettcareer commitment to teaching excellence.  One of the 5 recipients of the inaugural President’s Teaching Award 2006-07 is Prof. Ken Bartlett of the Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Science and the Office of Teaching Advancement.  Recipients of the President’s Teaching Award will be designated as a member of the Teaching Academy for a five-year period.  Academy members will meet periodically to discuss teaching-related matters and will advise the Vice-President and Provost and the Office of Teaching Advancement.  The selection was based on the following:

  • excellence in the classroom
  • innovation in the development and delivery of the curriculum
  • publication of textbooks or books or articles on pedagogy
  • participation in major conferences or meetings relating to pedagogy
  • national or international recognition and letters of reference attesting to the nominee’s leadership in teaching

posted: May 10, 2006

Professor Rick Halpern Appointed Principal of New College

Prof. Rick Halpern of the Department of History has been appointed by the Academic Board as Prinicpal of New College for a five-year term, beginning July 1, 2006 and ending June 30, 2011.  Prof. Halpern came to the Department of History, University of Toronto in 2001 as the first Bissell-Heyd Professor of American Studies.  Since 2004, he has served as Director of the Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk Centre for International Studies.

Prof. Halpern specializes in modern U.S. history and has written extensively on race and labour in a transnational context.  His publications include:

  • Slavery and Emancipation (2002)
  • Two Souths: The American South and the Italian Mezzogiorno (2001)
  • Racializing Class, Classifying Race: Labour and Difference in Britain, the USA and  Africa (2000)
  • Down on the Killing Floor: Black and White Workers in Chicago’s Packinghouses (1997)

Prof. Halpern is currently working a study of migrant and contract labour in the US South and South Africa.  He is also collaborating with Richard Follett at the University of Sussex on a project focusing on the Louisiana sugar economy.

posted: May 10, 2006

Professor Allan Greer is Co-Recipient of Book Award

Prof. Allan Greer of the Department of History is the co-recipient of the American Society for 18th-Century Studies’ Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize, awarded biennially to the author of the best book-length biography of a 17th- or 18th-century subject.    Prof. Greer won the award for Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits, published by Oxford University Press.

posted: May 10, 2006

Vicky Dingillo wins Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Staff Award

Photo: Vicky DingilloCongratulations to Vicky Dingillo on winning a Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Staff Award for 2006. The general criteria for the awards are:

  • made an outstanding contribution in support of the Faculty's mission of teaching and research excellence;
  • earned the respect of colleagues for their professionalism and team work, and contribution to morale;
  • demonstrated commitment to the Faculty by performing services beyond the requirements of their job responsibilities;
  • made an impact beyond their immediate unit or department.

Vicky's nominators included staff, faculty, and graduate students in this department, as well as a mix of faculty and staff from many other units on all three campuses. All of us know how much Vicky does within our department, but not everyone is aware of her work conducting workshops for new academic administrators, the generosity with which she mentors new administrators long after those workshops are over, and her important role in the network of "old pro" academic administrators who contribute so much to the success of the University of Toronto's work.

posted: March 13, 2006

Dr. Margaret MacMillan named to the Order of Canada

The History Department congratulates Dr. Margaret MacMillan on her appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada, the second highest distinction after companion. As Ailsa Ferguson writes (news@uoft, Feb 8/06): “What makes Margaret MacMillan such an innovative historian and educator,” her citation states, “is her gift for story telling.” Through her engaging lectures, laced with intriguing anecdotes, she has captivated generations of students. As well, her talent for popularizing history gave rise to her internationally renowned bestseller Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, providing fresh insight into historical and geopolitical developments that continue to have currency today. Considered one of Canada’s leading public intellectuals, MacMillan is warden designate of St. Anthony’s College at the University of Oxford.

Generous bequest for graduate study in Canadian History

The Department of History recently received a very generous bequest from the late Jeanne Armour. The Jeanne Armour fellowships in Canadian History will be awarded to graduate students who are undertaking a course of study relating to Canadian History. Financial need and academic merit will both be considered in attributing the fellowships.