Trent University Canada Research Chair Awarded Honourable Mention in Prestigious Canadian Historical Association Book Prize


Dr. Bryan D. Palmer’s Book on Canada in the 1960s Wins 2010 John A. Macdonald Prize Honourable Mention

Tuesday, June 22, 2010, Peterborough

Tier I Canada Research Chair and former chair of the Canadian Studies Department at Trent University, Dr. Bryan D. Palmer, was recently awarded an Honourable Mention in the Canadian Historical Association's John A. Macdonald Prize for his University of Toronto-published 2009 book, Canada's 1960s: The Ironies of Identity in a Rebellious Era.

Awarded annually to the book judged to be the best of all studies published in Canadian History, the competition for the Macdonald Prize is stiff and the evaluations rigorous. A distinguished interdisciplinary panel, composed of senior scholars from across Canada, assessed scores of nominations, established a short list of five books, and awarded Dr. Palmer's Canada's 1960s one of two honourable mentions.

In the citation prepared for the awards ceremony, held in Montreal at the Montefiore Club on May 31, 2010, Dr. Palmer's book was praised for its original analysis of a "particularly tumultuous period of our history that profoundly marked our collective memory." It noted that Canada's 1960s "argues that during this decade, Canada's former national identity based on membership in the British Empire crumbled forever under repeated assaults by events of various sorts, especially battles of a social, economic and political nature, with this turbulence generating uncertainty and ambivalence that prevented a new, unified national identity from taking shape."

The award citation concludes that Dr. Palmer's book is a "major intellectual undertaking," demonstrating "that it is possible to arrive at a coherent interpretation of a decade often associated with 'chaos'," doing so with "great learnedness."  Canada's 1960s was first developed in a course that Dr. Palmer created at Trent, Canadian Studies 2285H, a popular second-year lecture that is cross-listed with the History and Politics Departments.

Dr. Palmer has also recently published Labouring Canada: Class, Gender and Race in Canadian Working-Class History, a collection of essays that he edited with Dr. Joan Sangster, Trent's incoming dean of Graduate Studies and a professor in the History and Women’s Studies Departments at the University. That book appeared in 2008 with Oxford University Press, the same year Dr. Palmer's James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American Revolutionary Left, 1890-1928 (University of Illinois Press, 2007) won the Canadian Historical Association's Wallace K. Ferguson Prize, awarded annually to the best book published in any field other than that of Canadian History. The citation for that prize praised Dr. Palmer's "complexity and nuance," commending his impressive use of sources and "exemplary mastery of a historiography animated by interpretive shifts."  

As one of the award citations states, and as the Canada Research Chair designates, Palmer is one of Canada's "outstanding scholars," known nationally and internationally for his "strong and original works of history."

Dr. Palmer is renowned as one of Canada’s leading experts in the fields of labour and social history. His distinguished record of book and journal-article publications, many reappearing in translation around the world, complements his editorship of Labour/Le Travail, recognized as one of the leading journals in its field in the world. He also sits on the editorial and advisory boards of a number of scholarly journals. A public intellectual who speaks regularly to trade union and advocacy groups, Dr. Palmer was cited in a Supreme Court of Canada decision on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ relation to collective bargaining. 


For more information, please contact:
Dr. Bryan Palmer, Canada Research Chair, Canadian Studies, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6061