Winners for Canada Prizes announced


OTTAWA, April 22, 2015 – The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences has announced the winners of the 2015 Canada Prizes, jointly hosted by York University.

The Canada Prizes are 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. Winners are selected from books that have received funding from the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program, which is administered by the Federation.

“These books are representative of the best of contemporary scholarship in Canada,” said Stephen Toope, President of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. “Two of this year’s winners examine Canada’s complex relationships with Aboriginal peoples—one from the perspective of art and photography, the other from a rights perspective on treaties and civil liberties. Another looks at how the thought of Jean-Paul Sartre was influenced by the United States, while the final one takes a tough look at the inherent complexities of the Alberta oil industry.”

“Stemming from such different disciplines and perspectives, each of these books contributes in a unique way to a deeper understanding of how we grew to be the nation we are, and where we are heading,” Toope added.

This year’s winners are:

Canada Prize in the Humanities
Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Jennifer Kramer and Ḳi-ḳe-in, Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas (UBC Press)

From the jury’s citation:
“Illustrated with artwork and photographs, Native Art of the Northwest Coast is a comprehensive ‘archive’ of historical documents illuminated by well-crafted essays and prologues. The result is a treasure trove of information on Northwest Coast Native art. It will be essential reading for all future work on this topic.”

Canada Prize in the Social Sciences
Michael Asch, On Being Here to Stay: Treaties and Aboriginal Rights in Canada (University of Toronto Press)

From the jury’s citation:
“On Being Here to Stay is a rigorously documented and brilliant dissection of Canada’s troubled relations with its native peoples. It is hard to think of a more timely book or a more important domestic issue for Canadians… It is accessibly written in a way that will enlighten anyone interested in this critical aspect of our history and its impact on contemporary events.”

Prix du Canada en sciences humaines
Yan Hamel, L'Amérique selon Sartre : littérature, philosophie, politique (Presses de l'Université de Montréal)

From the jury’s citation:

“Yan Hamel’s work provides insight into Jean-Paul Sartre’s thoughts about America and, more widely, those of an entire generation of engaged European writers, philosophers and intellectuals. In this ambitious book, long-awaited by those who study Sartre, the author manages to distance Sartre from the anti-American sentiment in which critics had confined the left at the time.”

Prix du Canada en sciences sociales
Dominique Perron, L’Alberta autophage : identités, mythes et discours du pétrole dans l’Ouest canadien (University of Calgary Press)

From the jury’s citation:

“Dominique Perron’s essay is well-researched, rigorous and relentless, and provides a penetrating analysis of the contradictory identities of petroleum-rich Alberta…This work comes at an opportune moment as the Alberta economy is in severe crisis as a result of falling global oil prices. Dominique Perron’s book pushes us to reflect on the precariousness of an industry that has seen its share of both wealth and misfortune.”

An embargoed media kit including biographies and photos of the 2015 winners, along with the full jury citations and brief articles on each book, is available on the Federation’s website.

The prizes, each valued at $2,500, will be presented at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library. Hosted jointly by the Federation and York University, and in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, the awards ceremony will feature a keynote address by internationally renowned author M G Vassanji and will be emceed by former CBC correspondent Brian Stewart. Authors of all four winning books are expected to be in attendance.

This event is open to the media. To register free of charge, visit:


The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences promotes research, learning and an understanding of the contributions made by the humanities and the social sciences towards a free and democratic society. Established in 1940, with a membership now comprising 160+ universities, colleges and scholarly associations, the Federation represents a diverse community of 85,000 researchers and graduate students across Canada. The Federation organizes Canada’s largest academic gathering, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, bringing together more than 8,000 participants each year. For more information about the Federation, visit

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre. York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 25 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 280 leading universities worldwide. York U’s community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 275,000 alumni.

Media contacts: 
Nicola Katz, Manager of Communications, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, 613-238-6112 ext. 351,
Gloria Suhasini, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext 22094,