Canada Prizes

Early 20th-century Montreal through the eyes of a Jewish immigrant

Canada Prizes

By Daniel Drolet

Jacob-Isaac Segal, 1896-1954 : Un poète yiddish de Montréal et son milieuFor the first half of the 20th century, Yiddish was Montreal’s third language, after French and English.

A new book by University of Ottawa professor Pierre Anctil explores the work of Jacob Isaac Segal, a Montreal poet from that era who wrote only in Yiddish.

Anctil, who has just been awarded the 2014 Canada Prize in the Humanities by the Federation for the...

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Poet P.K. Page a role model for women

Canada Prizes

By Daniel Drolet

Journey With No Maps: A Life of P.K. PageSandra Djwa, author of a new biography of P.K. Page, says the Canadian poet is a role model for any young woman contemplating a career in literature.

Years before it was fashionable or even common, Page created for herself a brilliant career in which she was recognized internationally as one of Canada’s outstanding  poets and visual artists.

Ms. Djwa is the author of Journey with No Maps, the first full...

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Canada Prizes ceremony to be hosted by Glendon College, York University

Jessica Clark, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and York University are delighted to announce a new partnership that will see York host the 2014 Canada Prizes ceremony at its Glendon College campus in mid-town Toronto, on May 7, 2014.

We look forward to welcoming many colleagues and friends of the humanities and social sciences, particularly from the Greater Toronto Area, to join in celebrating the winners of these prestigious book awards.

Glendon was identified as a fitting site for this year’s ceremony in light of its bilingual mandate and its unique focus on education in the humanities and social sciences. The event will take place in the beautifully designed facilities of the...

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The 2014 Canada Prize Juries, a Good (Scholarly) Book and a Cup of Tea

Jessica Clark Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

As autumn turns into winter, with the days getting shorter and the nights longer, I find myself spending more time curled up with a cup of tea and a good book.

That’s precisely what the jurors of this year’s Canada Prizes have been doing since mid-October, when they received the nominees for the 2014 awards.

Made up of past winners, respected scholars and public intellectuals, the Canada Prize juries have the enviable task of choosing the best scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences that have received funding from the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP) in the past year.

This year’s juries are:

Canada Prize in the Humanities...

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The 2013 Canada Prize winner videos are now online!

Publishers are currently submitting their nominations for the 2014 Canada Prizes, the Federation’s annual award to the best scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences that have received funding from the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program. Each year we feature the winning authors in a series of short videos, where they discuss their award-winning works and the fascinating research that went into them. Below are the official videos highlighting the winners of the 2013 Canada Prizes.

Listen to Canada Prize in the Humanities winner François-Marc Gagnon describe a piece of early Canadian art:


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Haitian voodoo is a form of medicine: author

In popular culture, voodoo is all about zombies and witchcraft and dolls with needles stuck into them.

But where some see a religion with African origins, or simply black magic, Nicolas Vonarx sees a structured system of medicine, a way of treating illnesses as worthy of respect as any other.

Vonarx explores this idea in Le vodou haïtien : Entre médecine, magie et religion, a work that won him the Prix du Canada en sciences socials 2013 for a French-language work.

“Medicine, magic and religion – those three words are very important when it comes to understanding Haitian voodoo,” says Vonarx. “This book stresses the first word: medicine.”

Trained as a public health practitioner, Vonarx came to know Haiti, its people and its culture, while working there for an international...

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Drawings from New France brought to light

For 300-odd years, the Codex Canadensis was largely unknown. And yet, the manuscript contains valuable drawings that illustrate in detail the flora and fauna of New France, as well as some of its Aboriginal peoples.

It is lost no more. A new book, The Codex Canadensis and the Writings of Louis Nicolas, brings together for the first time the illustrated Codex Canadensis and The Natural History of the New World, a written account that supplements the drawings. Together, they offer a new glimpse into the life of New France.

The book was edited by François-Marc Gagnon, an expert in Canadian art, with Nancy Senior and Réal Ouellet. It is the winner of the 2013 Canada Prize in the Humanities presented by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences for an English...

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Baseball a common thread in the Americas

Michel Nareau loves literature, the study of New World identities – and baseball.

He manages to bring those three passions together in his new book, Double jeu : Baseball et littératures américaines, the winner of the Prix du Canada en sciences humaines for 2013.

In it, he shows how, through baseball, many themes common to different countries in the Americas play out.

Baseball, which originated in the United States, quickly spread to Canada, the Caribbean and some Latin American countries – especially those, says Nareau, where in the 19th century the elites sent their children to be educated in the U.S. Baseball is therefore played in countries whose languages are English, French and Spanish.

Love of baseball was not something the Americans imposed on anyone; its fans...

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Authors say Canada’s intelligence services need to be accountable


Writing the history of Canada’s spy and intelligence services is a massive undertaking – so massive that until now no one had taken it on, says Reg Whitaker, one of three authors of the first attempt at a comprehensive history of the “political police” in Canada.

In that respect, Secret Service: Political Policing in Canada from the Fenians to Fortress America breaks new ground. The winner of the 2013 Canada Prize in the Social Sciences for an English-language scholarly work covers 150 years of activities by police and security agencies such as the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

Whitaker, who wrote the book along with Gregory S. Kealey and Andrew Parnaby, says that in a liberal democracy like Canada’s, it can be difficult to separate the...

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Les origines de la liberté, version canadienne


Daniel Drolet

Quand ils parlaient du Canada, raconte Michel Ducharme, ses étudiants ne cessaient de lui dire que le concept de « paix, ordre et bon gouvernement » était un principe fondateur du pays – par opposition au concept de liberté prisé par nos voisins américains.

L’historien sortait troublé de ces discussions, car ayant lu plusieurs documents historiques importants, il savait que le mot « liberté » était très cher à nos ancêtres canadiens. Pourquoi ne fait-il pas partie de notre discours politique moderne?

Son livre Le concept de liberté au Canada à l’époque des Révolutions atlantiques, 1776-1838 est un peu une réponse à ses étudiants.

Ce qu’il découvre, c’est en fait que deux versions très distinctes de « liberté » se sont affrontées au Canada au cours des années qui ont précédé les rebellions de...

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