University of Toronto Press Blog

  • UTP Titles for Canada Day

    Happy Canada Day!

    Canada is turning 150, and we can't think of a better way to celebrate than to learn more about this great country. Here are some UTP titles to add to your reading list, or use in your classes.

    Russell_ID5284_front-cover-Jan2017.inddCanada's Odyssey: A Country Based on Incomplete Conquests

    By Peter H. Russell

    150 years after Confederation, Canada is known around the world for its social diversity and its commitment to principles of multiculturalism. But the road to contemporary Canada is a winding one, a story of division and conflict as well as union and accommodation.

    In Canada’s Odyssey, renowned scholar Peter H. Russell provides an expansive, accessible account of Canadian history from the pre-Confederation period to the present day. By focusing on what he calls the "three pillars" of English Canada, French Canada, and Aboriginal Canada, Russell advances an important view of our country as one founded on and informed by "incomplete conquests". It is the very incompleteness of these conquests that have made Canada what it is today, not just a multicultural society but a multinational one.

    Featuring the scope and vivid characterizations of an epic novel, Canada’s Odyssey is a magisterial work by an astute observer of Canadian politics and history, a perfect book to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

    Conflict and Compromise_PreConflict and Compromise_PostConflict and Compromise: Pre-Confederation Canada


    Conflict and Compromise: Post-Confederation Canada

    By Raymond B. Blake, Jeffrey Keshen, Norman J. Knowles, and Barbara J. Messamore

    Driven by its strong narrative, Conflict and Compromise presents Canadian history chronologically, allowing a better understanding of the interrelationships between events. Its main objective is to demonstrate that although Canadian history has been marked by cleavages and conflicts, there has been a continual process of negotiation and a need for compromise which has enabled Canada to develop into arguably one of the most successful and pluralistic countries in the world. The authors have drawn from all genres characterizing the present state of Canadian historiography, including social, military, cultural, political, and economic approaches. In doing so their aim is to challenge readers to engage with debates and interpretations about the past rather than simply to study for an exam.

    Hayday_CelebratingCanadaVICelebrating Canada: Holidays, National Days, and the Crafting of Identities

    Edited by Matthew Hayday and Raymond Blake

    Holidays are a key to helping us understand the transformation of national, regional, community and ethnic identities. In Celebrating Canada, Matthew Hayday and Raymond Blake situate Canada in an international context as they examine the history and evolution of our national and provincial holidays and annual celebrations.

    The contributors to this volume examine such holidays as Dominion Day, Victoria Day, Quebec’s Fête Nationale and Canadian Thanksgiving, among many others. They also examine how Canadians celebrate the national days of other countries (like the Fourth of July) and how Dominion Day was observed in the United Kingdom. Drawing heavily on primary source research, and theories of nationalism, identities and invented traditions, the essays in this collection deepen our understanding of how these holidays have influenced the evolution of Canadian identities.

    Canada150 poster 18x24 revisedThe Canada 150 Collection

    In honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial, University of Toronto Press is proud to introduce the Canada 150 Collection, a special selection of outstanding books published over the years that bear witness to the depth and breadth of the nation’s history and the diversity of its peoples. These books showcase remarkable achievements as well as uncomfortable truths in Canada’s history, from pre-Confederation to the present. This carefully curated collection includes classic works of cultural, historical, legal, and literary scholarship that have informed and shaped Canada as a nation. A testament to University of Toronto Press’s longstanding commitment to authoritative and boundary-pushing scholarship, the Canada 150 Collection presents works that are essential reading for students, scholars, and anyone with an interest in Canada’s past and future.

  • Pride Month Reading List

    Happy Pride Month Toronto! This month we have been tweeting about what you should add to your LGBTQ+ reading list. Here are a few more titles you may be interested in. Have a safe and happy Pride! 

    Phipps_ConstanceMaynardsPassionsConstance Maynard's Passions: Religion, Sexuality, and an English Educational Pioneer, 1849-1935

    By Pauline A. Phipps

    Successful but self-tormented, English educational pioneer Constance Maynard (1849–1935) was a deeply religious evangelical Christian whose personal atonement theology demanded that one resist carnal feelings to achieve personal salvation. As the founder of Westfield College at the University of London, Maynard championed women’s access to a university education. As the college’s first principal, she also engaged in a string of passionate relationships with college women in which she imagined love as God’s gift as well as a test of her faith.

    Using Maynard’s extensive personal papers, especially her diaries and autobiography, Pauline A. Phipps examines how the language of her faith offered Maynard the means with which to carve out an independent career and to forge a distinct same-sex sexual self-consciousness in an era when middle-class women were expected to be subservient to men and confined to the home. Constance Maynard’s Passions is the fascinating account of a life which confounds the usual categories of faith, gender, and sexuality.

    4804 Deri Selected.inddLove’s Refraction: Jealousy and Compersion in Queer Women's Polyamorous Relationships

    By Jillian Deri 

    Popular wisdom might suggest that jealousy is an inevitable outcome of non-monogamous relationships. In Love’s Refraction, Jillian Deri explores the distinctive question of how and why polyamorists – people who practice consensual non-monogamy – manage jealousy. Her focus is on the polyamorist concept of “compersion” – taking pleasure in a lover’s other romantic and sexual encounters.

    By discussing the experiences of queer, lesbian, and bisexual polyamorous women, Deri highlights the social and structural context that surrounds jealousy. Her analysis, making use of the sociology of emotion and feminist intersectionality theory, shows how polyamory challenges traditional emotional and sexual norms.

    Clear and concise, Love’s Refraction speaks to both the academic and the polyamorous community. Deri lets her interviewees speak for themselves, linking academic theory and personal experiences in a sophisticated, engaging, and accessible way.

    Valerii Pereleshin: The Life of a Silkworm

    By Olga Bakich

    Olga Bakich’s biography of Valerii Pereleshin (1913–1992) follows the turbulent life and exquisite poetry of one of the most remarkable Russian émigrés of the twentieth century. Born in Irkutsk, Pereleshin lived for thirty years in China and for almost forty years in Brazil. Multilingual, he wrote poetry in Russian and in Portuguese and translated Chinese and Brazilian poetry into Russian and Russian and Chinese poetry into Portuguese. For many years he struggled to accept and express his own identity as a gay man within a frequently homophobic émigré community. His poems addressed his three homelands, his religious struggles, and his loves. In Valerii Pereleshin: The Life of a Silkworm, Bakich delves deep into Pereleshin’s poems and letters to tell the rich life story of this underappreciated writer.

    Marhoefer_Sex and the Weimar Republic - cSex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis

    By Laurie Marhoefer

    Liberated, licentious, or merely liberal, the sexual freedoms of Germany’s Weimar Republic have become legendary. The home of the world’s first gay rights movement, the republic embodied a progressive, secular vision of sexual liberation. Immortalized – however misleadingly – in Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories and the musical Cabaret, Weimar’s freedoms have become a touchstone for the politics of sexual emancipation.

    Yet, as Laurie Marhoefer shows in Sex and Weimar Republic, those sexual freedoms were only obtained at the expense of a minority who were deemed sexually disordered. In Weimar Germany, the citizen’s right to sexual freedom came with a duty to keep sexuality private, non-commercial, and respectable.

    Sex and the Weimar Republic examines the rise of sexual tolerance through the debates which surrounded “immoral” sexuality: obscenity, male homosexuality, lesbianism, transgender identity, heterosexual promiscuity, and prostitution. It follows the sexual politics of a swath of Weimar society ranging from sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld to Nazi stormtrooper Ernst Röhm. Tracing the connections between toleration and regulation, Marhoefer’s observations remain relevant to the politics of sexuality today.

  • New Coke, Fidget Spinners, Starlings, and Donald Trump: Unlocking It's Not Complicated

    NasonFINALRick Nason, author of It’s Not Complicated: The Art and Science of Complexity in Business, talks fidget spinners, Donald Trump, and more when discussing complex vs. complicated.

    What the heck does the colossal failure of New Coke in the 1970s have to do with a useless yet quirky toy, a flock of birds, and the improbable rise of Donald Trump from reality TV to the Presidency of the United States?  The answer is that all these phenomena are, for the most part, the consequence of a relatively unknown but incredibly important social phenomenon called complexity.

    So what exactly is this thing called complexity?  For starters, let’s make it very clear that things that are complex are not complicated; at least not with the scientific use of the terms that we are using here.  The terms complicated and complex may be synonyms in common usage, but we want to use the scientific definitions of the words.  For some time, scientists have been classifying phenomena as being either simple, complicated or complex, and the three classifications are very different, with very different implications for their management.

    Things that are simple, follow very basic rules, or recipes if you will.  The rules for a simple system are robust, or in other words the recipes do not need to followed exactly to achieve a deserted result.  For instance, take the example of baking a cake[1].  To bake a cake you can follow a recipe, but as we all know from watching experienced cooks they are not extremely precise in their measurements and often go more by feel or intuition rather than exactness.  For example if you are short a little bit of flour, there are several different ways in which an experienced baker can compensate.

    A complicated issue also follows rules, but the rules are very precise.  For instance, in getting an astronaut to the International Space Station one needs to carefully, and with extreme precision, follow the known rules and laws of physics.  Approximation will result in the astronaut going to Mars or worse.  Since a complicated issue is so precise, it also means that it is reproducible.  If you follow the exact same steps then you will achieve the exact same result.  Dropping a pencil means that it will fall to the floor each and every time you drop it.  The laws of gravity do not vary.

    Things that are complex are different.  Things that are complex exhibit a property called emergence.  Emergence is a leaderless set of patterns that essentially are random.  A wonderful example of emergence is a murmuration of starlings in the sky.  In a murmuration, the birds are flying as a clearly defined pack or flock, but the flock itself is moving in close unison darting first one way, and then another.  It is a graceful, highly coordinated and at the same time completely random series of patterns.  (If you have never seen a murmuration of starlings, conduct an internet search and you will quickly find a wonderful collection of videos that illustrate this beautiful, yet mystical bird behavior.)

    In real life we see clear murmuration type effects.  Patterns of fashions come and go; styles of music become popular and then fade away; certain social media videos go viral only to be replaced a few days later with totally different viral videos; the stock market trends up, and then it darts down; our circle of friends continually changes; and so on.

    Complexity, and its associated emergence, arises when agents (think starlings, consumers, investors, political voters), have some way to connect with each other (for example, newspapers, email, social media), and can adapt or change their behavior.  When these three simple elements are present, a form of leaderless patterns develop and we get emergence.

    Complexity creates a conundrum for the business manager.  Emergence is leaderless, and given its random nature it also cannot be controlled or planned for.  However the rise of emergence just might mean the difference between a product becoming a huge hit, such as the current craze for fidget spinners, or a complete dud like the introduction of New Coke in the mid 1980’s.

    Consider first the case of New Coke.  The Coca-Cola Company has created perhaps the most famous brand of all time – namely Coca-Cola, perhaps better known as simply Coke.  However in the 1980’s Coke was losing market share to rival Pepsi.  Pepsi’s marketing team came up with a very successful campaign called the Pepsi Challenge in which cola drinkers tasted Coke versus Pepsi in a series of blind taste tests.  The majority of cola drinkers preferred Pepsi to Coke, so this, in part, was a catalyst for Coca-Cola to change its iconic recipe for the production of Coke.  Obviously, a multinational company like Coca-Cola was not going to do this on a whim, and without proper product testing and consumer analysis.  Coca-Cola was an experienced consumer marketing company and new product introductions and line extensions were their forte.  Thus, Coca-Cola did the necessary product testing, comprehensive consumer testing and developed a very elaborate and well supported marketing campaign; and it all failed!  The introduction of New Coke was a disaster.  Although most consumers preferred the taste of “New Coke”, a small, but determined group of “Old Coke” drinkers began to hoard cans of “Old Coke”.  As the media slowly caught on and started to report on the plight of the fans of “Old Coke”, a series of movements began to bring back “Old Coke”.  Again – this was despite the well established fact that most of the fans of “Old Coke” preferred the taste of “New Coke” when they did a blind taste test.  It made no sense, but the interaction of “Old Coke” drinkers created a movement – created emergence – that the vast marketing efforts of Coca-Cola could not overcome.  Within a short period of time, Coca-Cola was forced to abandon their new and improved formula and restore the “Old Coke” formula.  It remains one of the classic business cases illustrating the follies of the best laid plans of mice and men and marketing departments.

    Contrast the history of the introduction of “New Coke” with the current craze of fidget spinners.  In case you are one of the few people who are not familiar with them, they are a simple “toy” that you place between your fingers and spin.  That’s it.  There are a few very basic tricks you can do, but in essence it is a three pronged piece of plastic that you spin between your fingers; nothing more.  There has not been a major promotion campaign; there is not a major corporate backer, and no paid celebrity endorsements.  However thousands of websites and videos have sprung up on social media about the toy and stores are having a hard time keeping them in stock.  Due to the power of social media, the connections that young people make through social media, and the adaptability of young people, this incredibly simplistic toy has become a huge hit by “accident”.  However, just as “New Coke” failed by emergence, it is emergence that is causing fidget spinners to succeed.  Presumably a few people posted a short video to social media with their fidget spinner, and the connections that social media create produced a winning emergence for this somewhat pointless toy.  There is no leader to this craze; there is no promoter; indeed one could argue that there is not a logic or rationale for it.  The reality is that this most simplistic of toys has become a huge fad.  How long it takes for its popularity to fade is anyone’s guess (as is it anyone’s guess as to when a flock of starlings will suddenly and without warning change their direction of flight).

    Now we come to the emergence of Donald Trump.  Regardless of your political beliefs, it was almost universally accepted that Donald Trump was an unlikely candidate for President at the beginning of the Presidential Primaries.  However as the campaigns started, so did a slow, but perceptible form of emergence.  As Donald Trump started tweeting, a movement began as the opportunity for more people to connect with him presented itself.  The more unorthodox his campaign become, the stronger and more pronounced the emergence effect became.  Of course Donald Trump is now the President of the United States and not simply one of a large group of early pre-primary hopefuls.  The well established election “machine” and infrastructures of both leading political parties were helpless against the complexity of the elect Trump movement.  Intentionally or not, it is easy to argue that Trump was elected by complexity.

    Complexity is not an abstract theory dreamed up in an ivory tower.  It is something that affects our personal day to day actions and has implications in the larger social, political and economic context in which we live.  As globalization gains in importance, as social media makes us ever more connected, and as we as individuals strive to adapt to our rapidly changing world, an understanding and appreciation of complexity and its associated emergence becomes more important and valuable.

    [1] The examples given here of baking a cake and getting an astronaut to the International Space Station and back are adapted from the book Getting to Maybe:  How the World is Changed, by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Quinn Patton, Vintage Canada Paperback Edition, 2007.

  • May Round-Up

    Here is a recap of what went on at UTP in the month of May.


    Richard Ratzlaff attended the Association for the Study of Nationalities 2017 Annual World Convention in New York from May 4th to May 6th.

    Suzanne Rancourt, Natalie Fingerhut, and Anna Del Col had a great time as always at Kalamazoo (or, the International Congress on Medieval Studies) from May 11th to May 14th.

    Finally, we were thrilled to be at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences again this year, from May 27th to June 2nd, and loved that it was in Toronto hosted by Ryerson University. It was great to see so many people interested in our books, and to see so many of our authors and future authors. We are looking forward to Regina next year!

    Author Events:

    On May 9th, a standing room only crowd gathered at Clinton St Public School for the launch of Making a Global City: How one Toronto School Embraced Diversity by Rob Vipond.  A more intimate, but no less enthusiastic crowd attended a book launch at The Munk Centre for Global Affairs on May 25th.


    We are thrilled to announce the following awards:

    John Borrows’ Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism won the Donald Smiley Prize awarded by the Canadian Political Science Association.

    Ronald Rudin’s Kouchibouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park won both the Clio Atlantic Region Prize and the Canadian Oral History Association Prize, from the Canadian Historical Association.

    Maureen Lux’s Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s-1980s won the Aboriginal History Book Prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association.

    Norman Hillmer’s O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition won the 2015 Stacey Prize awarded by the Canadian Commission for Military History and the Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War.

    George O. Liber’s Total Wars and the Making of Modern Ukraine, 1914-1954 co-won the Best Book in the fields of Ukrainian history, politics, language, literature, and culture awarded by the American Association for Ukrainian Studies and Maxim Tarnawsky’s The All-Encompassing Eye of Ukraine: Van Nechui-Levyts'kyi's Realist Prose was an honourable mention in the same prize.

    Maria Luisa Ardizzone’s Reading as the Angels Read: Speculation and Politics in Dante's Banquet won the Medieval Book Prize awarded by the American Association for Italian Studies.

    Amber Dean’s Remembering Vancouver's Disappeared Women: Settler Colonialism and the Difficulty of Inheritance was a co-winner of the Women’s and Gender Studies Association Outstanding Scholarship Prize.

    Jennifer Hubbard, David Wildish, and Robert Stephenson’s A Century of Maritime Science: The St. Andrews Biological Station won the John Lyman Book Award awarded by the North American Society for Oceanic History, in the “Naval and Maritime Science and Technology” category.

    Karen Foster’s Productivity and Prosperity: A Historical Sociology of Productivist Thought was an honourable mention in the John Porter Prize awarded by the Canadian Sociological Association.

    Congratulations to all!

    In the Media:

    Blacklocks Reporter reviewed Spying on Canadians: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service and the Origins of the Long Cold War by Gregory S. Kealey.

    The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber was profiled by Frontiers in Psychology.

    BizEd Magazine reviewed Rick Nason’s It's not Complicated: The Art and Science of Complexity in Business.

    MidWest Book Review declared Gentrifier by John Schlichtman, Jason Patch and Marc Lamont Hill to be a "must-read" and said it was "highly recommended."  Schlichtman was interviewed about the book by NPR Wisconsin. 

    Rob Vipond was interviewed about Making a Global City: How one Toronto School Embraced Diversity by Steve Paikin, host of TVOntario’s The Agenda.

    Lions or Jellyfish: Newfoundland-Ottawa Relations Since 1957 by Raymond Blake was reviewed in a collection of key titles for Canada 150 by Margaret Conrad for Atlantic Books Today.

    New Releases:

    An Introduction to the Crusades by S.J. Allen

    The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber (New in Paperback!)

    Conflict and Compromise: Pre-Confederation Canada by Raymond B. Blake, Jeffrey Keshen, Norman J. Knowles, and Barbara J. Messamore

    Conflict and Compromise: Post-Confederation Canada by Raymond B. Blake, Jeffrey Keshen, Norman J. Knowles, and Barbara J. Messamore

    Latin American Politics: An Introduction, Second Edition by David Close

    Asian Canadian Studies Reader edited by Roland Sintos Coloma and Gordon Pon

    Edging Toward Iberia by Jean Dangler

    Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine by Mayhill C. Fowler

    Canada’s Department of External Affairs, Volume 3: Innovation and Adaptation, 1968–1984 by John Hilliker, Mary Halloran, and Greg Donaghy

    Revitalizing Health for all: Case Studies of the Struggle for Comprehensive Primary Health Care edited by Ronald Labonté, David Sanders, Corinne Packer, and Nikki Schaay

    Homelands and Empires: Indigenous Spaces, Imperial Fictions, and Competition for Territory in Northeastern North America, 1690–1763 by Jeffers Lennox

    The Art of Subtraction: Digital Adaptation and the Object Image by Bruno Lessard

    It's not Complicated: The Art and Science of Complexity in Business by Rick Nason

    Confessional Cinema: Religion, Film, and Modernity in Spain’s Development Years, 1960–1975 by Jorge Pérez

    Josep Pla: Seeing the World in the Form of Articles by Joan Ramon Resina

    A Nobel Affair: The Correspondence Between Alfred Nobel and Sofie Hess edited and translated by Erika Rummel

    Victimology: A Canadian Perspective by Jo-Anne M. Wemmers

    Value Change in the Supreme Court of Canada by Matthew E. Wetstein and C.L. Ostberg

    The Near Abroad: Socialist Eastern Europe and Soviet Patriotism in Ukraine, 1956-1985 by Zbigniew Wojnowski

  • Researching the Genesis of Children's Hygiene in Preschools in the 19th and 20th Centuries

    Written by guest blogger Ghislain Leroy

    Featured in the latest issue of the Canadian Bulletin for Medical History / Bulletin canadien d'histoire de la médecine...

    L'enfant-objet de préoccupations hygiéniques : évolution d'une figure de l'enfant dans les textes officiels de l'école maternelle française (19e–20e siècles)

     Illustration by Ghislain Leroy

    This article is the result of a long personal and professional process.

    I was a primary school teacher in preschool myself, from 2005 till 2015. During this experience, I was quickly struck by the importance of the school relationship to the child in preschool. In spite of his young age, the child is there apprehended first of all as a pupil, contrary to other french or foreigner preschool institutions. These considerations pushed me to prepare and submit for a PhD a thesis on the question of the nature of the adult / child relationship in preschool.

    From a methodological point of view, I led observations in other classrooms than mine. During these observations, I learned to disregard my professional prism of analysis, and its own « normativity », and even to take it as an object, to build a new observation framework linked to my own questionings and to my research problematics. The matter was to determine the school relationship to the child from precise indicators, and also to study the traces of alternative non-school relationships to the child, as well as their indicators.

    As this observation went by, I learned to observe things to which, as a practitioner, I did not pay attention. The observation of toilets stood out, little by little, as the most heuristic. Preschool teachers pay little attention to these places (so did I besides as a practitioner), precisely due to the weight of the school relationship to the child. This lack of interest for these places has to be linked to the question of their professional identity, a teacher's identity and not a childcare assistant's, contrary to other small childhood facilities, such as day nurseries, where hygienic responsibility to the child stands at the core of professionalism. As a researcher, this place became very interesting to observe: not much invested by adults, a kind of no-place inside the preschool, of a limit-space nearly taboo, it is the reverse of the classroom space, converted, re-converted, rationalized, the core of teaching concerns.

    The present article tackles the restoration of this contemporary situation's genesis, where child's hygiene seems, by many aspects, to be pushed into the background of teachers' concerns. This present situation has enough to surprise. Indeed, in the 19th century, in a global context of epidemics and hygienic rudimentary conditions, the hygienic relationship to the child was quite essential in the « salles d'asile » (asylum rooms), the ancestors of preschools, as much for prescripts as for practices.

    The survey of the preschool official texts' evolution (19th-20th centuries), linked to certain social evolutions, is conducted here to understand the changes which progressively led to the contemporary situation. In a sense, the hygienic relationship progressively lost centrality in official texts during this long period, for various reasons this article highlights. But it was also redefined through the emergence of the figure of the child as responsible for his own hygiene, as well as, more generally, of his health. These evolutions could paradoxically have furthered, at practices level, the emergence of the figure of an adult considering himself less responsible for child hygiene.

    Ghislain Leroy’s article, L'enfant-objet de préoccupations hygiéniques : évolution d'une figure de l'enfant dans les textes officiels de l'école maternelle française (19e–20e siècles), appears in the Spring 2017 Issue of the Canadian Bulletin for Medical History / Bulletin canadien d'histoire de la médecine (Volume 34 Issue 1), available to read at!

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