2017 Recipient of the Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research Announced

Sarah Carter wins top prize for academic history writing for her book Imperial Plots: Women, Land, and the Spadework of British Colonialism on the Canadian Prairies.

Posted May 30, 2017

The Canadian Historical Association (CHA) has announced their 2017 prize winners including the recipient of the Governor General’s History Award for Scholarly Research: The Macdonald Prize.

This year the honour will be presented to Sarah Carter for her work Imperial Plots: Women, Land, and the Spadework of British Colonialism on the Canadian Prairies, published by University of Manitoba Press in 2016. Dr. Carter is a professor and Henry Marshall Tory Chair in the Department of History and Classics and the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.

Carter’s work explores the lives of female landowners on the prairies. The book “depicts the female farmers and ranchers of the prairies, from the Indigenous women agriculturalists of the Plains to the array of women who resolved to work on the land in the first decades of the twentieth century.”

The award is presented annually by the Canadian Historical Association for the best academic Canadian history book. Carter will receive her award at a special ceremony at Rideau Hall in the fall. The award, sponsored by Manulife Financial, is presented each year as part of the Governor General’s History Awards. This year’s announcement ceremony took place at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto as part of Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Five other academics were shortlisted for the Macdonald Prize:

The CHA announced the winner of its other major annual prize. Reproduction and Its Discontents in Mexico: Childbirth and Contraception from 1750 to 1905 by Nora E. Jaffary won the Ferguson Prize for outstanding scholarly work in a field of history outside of Canadian history. The book was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2016.

Numerous other awards were also handed out at the CHA ceremony, including:

Histoire sociale / Social History Best Article Prize

Winner: Jeffrey McNairn, “‘The common sympathies of our nature’: Moral Sentiments, Emotional Economies, and Imprisonment for Debt in Upper Canada,” (Vol. XLIX, no 98).

Canadian Historical Review Best Article Prize

Winners: Erika Dyck and Maureen Lux, “Population Control in the “Global North”?: Canada’s Response to Indigenous Reproductive Rights and Neo-Eugenics.” Issue 97, 4 (December 2016): 481–512.

Canadian Committee on Labor History

Best Article Prize

Winners: Joan Sangster & Julia Smith, “Beards and Bloomers: Flight Attendants, Grievances and Embodied Labour in the Canadian Airline Industry, 1960s–1980s,” Gender, Work & Organization, Vol. 23, no 2, pp. 183–199.

Undergraduate Student Dissertation Prize

Winner: Camille Blanchard-Bégin, « La participation ouvrière dans l’Institut canadien de Montréal en 1852 ». Thèse de premier cycle, Université d’Ottawa, 2016

Graduate Student Dissertation Prize

Winner: Lachlan MacKinnon, “Deindustrialization on the Periphery: An Oral History of Sydney Steel, 1945–2001.” PhD Dissertation, Concordia University, 2016

Canadian Committee on Migration, Ethnicity and Transnationalism Article Prize

Winner: Laura Ishiguro, ““Growing Up and Grown Up ... in Our Future City”: Discourses of Childhood and Settler Futurity in Colonial British Columbia”, B.C. Studies, Summer 2016

Canadian Oral History Association Prize

Winner: Ronald Rudin, Kouchibouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park and its accompanying website Returning the Voices to Kouchibouguac National Park.

Canadian Committee on Women’s History — Hilda Neatby Prize

Winner of the French Language Article

Mélanie Morin-Pelletier, « "The Anxious Ones at Home": Deux familles canadiennes plongées dans le tourment de la Grande Guerre, » Histoire sociale/Social History XLVII, 94 (Juin/June 2014) : 353–368.

Winner of the English Language Article

Carmela Patrias, “More Menial than Housemaids? Racialized and Gendered Labour in the Fruit and Vegetable Industry of Canada’s Niagara Region, 1880–1945,” Labour/Le Travail 78 (Fall 2016): 69–104.

Public History Prize

Winner: Graphic History Collective with Paul Buhle, Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle. Between the Lines, 2016

Political History Group

Best Article in French Prize

Winner: Éric Fillion, « Jazz libre : "musique-action" ou la recherche d’une praxis révolutionnaire au Québec (1967-1975) ». Labour / Le Travail 77 (2016), p. 93–120.

Book Prize

Winner: Paul Litt, Trudeaumania. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2016.

Aboriginal History Group

Book Prize

Winner: Maureen K. Lux, Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s–1980s. Toronto: UTP, 2016.


Prix Jean-Marie-Fecteau Prize

For best article published in a peer-reviewed journal by a PhD or Masters-level student in English or in French.

Winner / La lauréate : Krista Barclay, “From Rupert’s Land to Canada West: Hudson’s Bay Company Families and Representations of Indigeneity in Small-Town Ontario, 1840–1980”, Journal of the Canadian Historical Association / Revue de la Société historique du Canada 26, 1 (2015): 67–97.

JCHA, issues #1 and #2 Best Article Prize

Winner / Le lauréat : Matthew Hayday, “Brought to you by the letters C, R, T and C: Sesame Street and Canadian Nationalism.”

John Bullen Prize

Honours the outstanding Ph.D. thesis on a historical topic submitted in a Canadian university by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Winner: Brittany Luby, “Drowned: Anishinabek Economies and Resistance to Hydroelectric Development in the Winnipeg River Drainage Basin, 1873–1975,” History Department, York University.

Clio Prizes

For meritorious publications or for exceptional contributions by individuals or organizations to regional history:

Atlantic Region

Winner: Ronald Rudin, Kouchibouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.


Winner: Sean Mills, A Place in the Sun: Haiti, Haitians, and the Remaking of Québec. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016.


Winners: Nancy Bouchier and Ken Cruikshank, The People and the Bay: A Social and Environmental History of Hamilton Harbour. UBC Press, 2016.

The Prairies

Winner: Sarah Carter, Imperial Plots: Women, Land, and the Spadework of British Colonialism on the Canadian Prairies. University of Manitoba Press, 2016.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Jennifer S.H. Brown

British Columbia

Winner: Aaron Chapman, The Last Gang in Town: The Epic Story of the Vancouver Police vs. the Clark Park Gang. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2016.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Dan Savard

For more details on the prizes, please visit the CHA website.

Related to Awards