The Professionalization of History in English Canada
Published: May 2015© 2005
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Page Count: 280 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
280 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.75 in
The study of history in Canada has a history of its own, and its development as an academic discipline is a multifaceted one. The Professionalization of History in English Canada charts the transition of the study of history from a leisurely pastime to that of a full-blown academic career for university-trained scholars - from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth century.
Donald Wright argues that professionalization was not, in fact, a benign process, nor was it inevitable. It was deliberate. Within two generations, historians saw the creation of a professional association - the Canadian Historical Association - and rise of an academic journal - the Canadian Historical Review. Professionalization was also gendered. In an effort to raise the status of the profession and protect the academic labour market for men, male historians made a concerted effort to exclude women from the academy.
History's professionalization is best understood as a transition from one way of organizing intellectual life to another. What came before professionalization was not necessarily inferior, but rather, a different perspective of history. As well, Wright argues convincingly that professionalization inadvertently led to a popular inverse: the amateur historian, whose work is often more widely received and appreciated by the general public.
1 History as avocation
2 From avocation to vocation: the beginnings
3 'The post-1918 generation': professionalization continued
4 'Mr. Newman, manifestly, is not a historian': the amateurization of history
5 The importance of being sexist: the masculinization of history
6 Protecting scholarly independence: a professional imperative
7 'History cannot be too much professionalized':professionalization reconsidered
‘[Wright presents] thoughtful comparative analyses and intriguing paradoxes that bring us closer to understanding what was at stake in the making of the historical profession in Canada ... A compelling history.’Jarrett Rudy, Labour/Le Travail
‘A contribution to the considerable literature on the professionalization of history ... Wright employs significant archival research and interviews with a small but significant group of individuals to describe a process characterized by change rather than progress.’Ronald Rudin, Canadian Historical Review
‘A thoughtful history of the historical profession.’Catherine Gidney, Urban History Review
‘This book contributes significantly to our knowledge of how history has been done in English-speaking Canada. Donald Wright’s scholarship is outstanding.’Ken Dewar, Department of History, Mount Saint Vincent University
- Sir John A. MacDonald Prize - Canadian Historical Association