[Marxism] Palmer wins Ferguson Prize for Cannon book

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 26 12:34:26 MDT 2008

From: H-Net Labor History Discussion List
[mailto:H-LABOR at H-NET.MSU.EDU] On Behalf Of
Seth Wigderson
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2008 1:44 PM
Subject: Bryan Palmer Wins Ferguson Prize

From: Sean Purdy sean_purdy1966 at yahoo.ca

Hi there,

I'd like to let H-Canada subscribers know that Bryan Palmer, Canada
Research Chair at Trent University, was awarded this year's Ferguson
Prize by the Canadian Historical Association for the best book by a
Canadian on a non-Canadian topic for "James P. Cannon and the Origins of
the American Revolutionary Left." See below for the announcement by
Trent University.

"Trent University is pleased to announce that Dr. Bryan Palmer, Canada
Research Chair and Chair of the Canadian Studies department, was awarded
the prestigious Wallace K. Ferguson Prize from the Canadian Historical
Association (CHA) for the best book published in a field of history
other than Canadian history.

Professor Palmer*s book James P. Cannon and the Origins of the American
Revolutionary Left, 1890-1928 won the honour despite stiff competition
from numerous and broad ranging contenders. This biography explores the
life of James Cannon, a pioneer American communist and later the founder
and leader of the American Trotskyist movement.

Past winners of the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize include some of the most
distinguished historians in Canada, among them Natalie Zemon Davis,
Michael Bliss, Nicholas Rogers, Modris Ekstein, Michael Marrus, and John

In the more than thirty years that the CHA has been awarding various
prizes, Prof. Palmer is the only historian to have won both the Albert
B. Corey Prize (1983), awarded to the best book published reflecting on
the related histories of Canada and the United States, and the Ferguson

Prof. Palmer expressed both surprise and delight with the award. *It
truly came as something of a shock to be contacted with the news that my
book on James Cannon and the American revolutionary left had been chosen
to receive the Ferguson Prize,* he said. *I had no idea that it had been
nominated, and other books on the nomination list would have seemed more
likely winners. I very much appreciate the Prize Committee*s thoughtful
and laudatory citation, and am delighted that a book of this nature was
chosen. It is wonderful to be recognized by one*s peers as having
produced a meritorious work of scholarship, but it is equally important,
I think, that a book addressing someone like Cannon, whose life was
dedicated to challenging injustice and building a better world, is

In its citation of merit, the CHA award committee noted that "under
Palmer's pen, biography offers a scale of analysis that allows him to
focus on rich contexts and large horizons where historical realities are
finely connected, thanks in particular to an impressive array of
sources, a judicial use of archival material, and an exemplary mastery
of a historiography animated by interpretive shifts. It matters that the
Canadian Historical Association rewards one of its outstanding scholars
for such a strong and original work of history at a time when
intelligent dialogue on the meaning of revolutionary experience has
fallen prey to political opportunism and blind party allegiances."

Prof. Palmer is renowned as one of Canada*s leading figures, nationally
and internationally, in the fields of labour and social history. His
distinguished record of book and journal-article publications, many
reappearing in translation around the world, compliment his editorship
of Labour/Le Travail, recognized internationally as one of the leading
journals in its field. A public intellectual who speaks regularly to
trade union and advocacy groups, Prof. Palmer was also recently cited in
a Supreme Court of Canada decision on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms*
relation to collective bargaining."

Cheers, Sean Purdy
Professor Doutor
Departamento de Historia
Universidade de Sao Paulo

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