UFV’s Susan Fisher wins Canada Prize for scholarly examination of Canadian children and WWI

Dr. Susan Fisher, associate dean of the College of Arts won the 2012 Canada Prize for a scholarly work in the humanities category.

UFV's Dr. Susan Fisher wins major national literary prize.

A UFV faculty member has won a major national literary prize.  Dr. Susan Fisher, associate dean of the College of Arts and also a faculty member in the English department, won the 2012 Canada Prize for a scholarly work in the humanities category. It was one of four awards  — two for scholarly works in the humanities and two for scholarly works in the social sciences, with English and French prizes in each category  — awarded by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The prizes, each of which is valued at $2,500, were presented at a special ceremony at Montreal’s Musée des beaux-arts. The winners were selected by a cross-Canada jury of scholars.

“Though these four books deal with very different topics, what they have in common is their ability to shine new light on Canada’s history, culture, and identity,” said Graham Carr, president of the CFHSS.

“By tackling compelling topics with rigorous research and informed analysis, these four scholars have found insights that help explain Canadians to themselves. These books are valuable contributions to the body of knowledge about Canada, and inform the democratic debate about the future of this country by explaining elements of our past.”

Fisher won for her work Boys and Girls in No Man’s Land: English-Canadian Children and the First World War, published by University of Toronto Press.

Boys and Girls in No Man’s Land examines how the First World War entered the lives and imaginations of Canadian children. Drawing on educational materials, textbooks, adventure tales, plays and Sunday-school papers of the time, this study explores the role of children in Canada’s war effort.

In the book, Fisher also considers how the representation of the war has changed in Canadian children’s literature. During the war, the conflict was  presented as noble and thrilling, but recent Canadian children’s books paint a very different picture. What once was regarded a morally uplifting struggle, rich in lessons of service and sacrifice, is now presented as pointless slaughter. This shift in tone and content reveals profound changes in Canadian attitudes not only towards the First World War but also towards patriotism, duty, and the shaping of the moral citizen.

“I am very honoured to have received this award,” said Fisher. “I think I wrote Boys and Girls in No Man’s Land for my parents, both of whom were children of Canadian soldiers of the Great War. I wanted to understand how the war had shaped the world that they grew up in. It was a personal project as well as an academic one. So I am very pleased that scholars and other readers are interested in Boys and Girls. The story of how our country mobilized even its youngest citizens to fight the war is a fascinating one that we are only beginning to explore. I think knowing more about this chapter of our past will help Canadians re-examine our ideas about patriotism and citizenship.”

“Boys and Girls in No Man’s Land is the first sustained examination of how the First World War was perceived by and affected Canadian children, making it an important contribution to the social and cultural history of the war. Susan Fisher’s grasp of the literature on the subject is excellent, while her accessible writing ensures that this book will appeal to a wide audience,” notes Jonathan Vance of the University of Western Ontario history department.

“Boys and Girls in No Man’s Land is a solid, well-written contribution to the history of Canadian youth literature and the cultures of childhood. Susan Fisher analyses the popular literature and reading habits of children who lived through the First World War and considers how the memory of the war is used in contemporary writing for youth. Her discussion of patriotism and the different responses to war in British and American children’s literature is particularly insightful,”

said Gail Edwards of the Douglas College history department.

The Canada Prizes recognize works that received funding through the Aid to Scholarly Publications program, which is funded by the federal Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This program supports 185 titles, including up to five translations each year, with annual funding of $1.5 million. For more information, visit www.fedcan.ca/canadaprize .

Just Posted

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

CRA scam the email edition targeted the Mounties in Chilliwack

Fraudsters claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency but the CRA never operates this way

COLUMN: Student voices give me hope for the future

Student Caleb Pennington wanted to know why something was taken off the agenda. So he asked.

Chilliwack newcomers celebrate multicultural community

Local Immigration Partnership helping new Canadians and refugees settle into new life

VIDEO: Rubik’s Rumble a hit at Chilliwack middle school

Students fill gymnasium for first annual tournament focusing on popular puzzle toy

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

VIDEO: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

B.C. man to plead guilty in connection with hit-and-run that killed teen

Jason Gourlay charged with failure to stop at the scene of accident, attempting to obstruct justice

BCHL Today: Wenatchee Wild goaltenders a cause for concern

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Canadian survivors, supporters rally against proposed ’60s Scoop settlement

Some have accused the government of underestimating the number of survivors

Nordic athlete Arendz to be Canada’s flagbearer at Paralympic closing ceremony

The biathlete and cross-country skier from Hartsville has raced to five medals in Pyeongchang

Hometown cheers on B.C.’s Natalie Wilkie as she wins first gold medal

Local skier tops the podium in 7.5km race at the PyeongChang Paralympics

Most Read