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Trent University History Professor Takes Home Prestigious 2016 Canada Prize for First Book

May 27, 2016

Dr. Caroline Durand’s book on food history in Quebec commended by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Dr. Caroline Durand
Dr. Durand’s book was recently listed as a finalist for the 2016 Trillium book award. The Trillium Book Award, established in 1987 by the Ontario government, honours the province's best writing. Trillium Book Awards are for writers who publish both in English and French, and in any genre: fiction, non-fiction, drama, children's books and poetry. The announcement of the winners will take place on June 22, 2016.

Taking a closer look at how food has influenced provincial and cultural health in Canada has paid off for Dr. Caroline Durand, a History and Canadian Studies professor at Trent University, whose first book, Nourrir la machine humaine, was recently awarded the prestigious 2016 Canada Prize granted by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Canada Prize is awarded annually to the best books by Canadian scholars in the humanities and social sciences that make an exceptional contribution to scholarship, are engagingly written, and enrich the social, cultural and intellectual life of Canada. Professor Durand’s book, which won one of the four prizes awarded, looks at how nutrition has contributed to the modernization of Quebec in a period marked by industrialization, urbanization, two world wars, and a major economic crash.

“I am proud and honoured to win this award. I am also thankful to the people who supported me during the research, writing and publication process,” said Prof. Durand. “It feels really amazing to read the praise from the jury, and this is a wonderful encouragement to pursue my research, which is in continuity with this first book and address food and nutrition history in Québec between 1945 and the 1980s.” 

Prof. Durand’s book received high praise from the jury for the award, who described the book as follows: “A culmination of research that is remarkably comprehensive, Nourrir la machine humaine compares, in a direct and vigorous style, a host of discourses about nutrition and cooking practices. Thanks to Caroline Durand, neither the research community nor the general public of history buffs will see the content of their cupboards in the same way.”

Nourrir la machine humaine makes Prof. Durand’s research accessible to not only other historians but also to experts of other disciplines, and more broadly, to anyone interested in food, hoping it will provoke reactions and questions about the food we eat. She also brought parts of her research into the classroom at Trent, in her course Food in History explaining, “I really hope that my course, Food in History, provides Trent students with a good introduction to food studies, which really is a diverse and stimulating field. I also hope that other instructors in Canada will find useful content in my book for their own courses.” 

Prof. Durand will be presented with her prize, valued at $2,500, at a ceremony at the University of Calgary during the 2016 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences next month.