Canadian Sugar: Global and Local Histories
In Progress. Two books forthcoming.


From cane sugar's first appearance in northern North America during the 1500s, to the health critique of sugar today, these books reveal northern North Americans' fraught relationships with sweet.


In the first book, the global origins of Canadian sugar are considered. Where was -- and is -- Canadian sugar grown? Who cultivates Canadian sugar? How and why does such sugar make its way to Canada?

In the second book, marketing and consumption are explored. How is sugar advertised? Who consumes sugar and why?

As these books reveal, the sugar we eat in Canada today is rooted in long histories of Empire, colonialism, and capitalism.

To understand Canadian sugar today, so must we understand this past.


Purchasing Power: Women and the Rise of Canadian Consumer Culture
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020.


Buy from University of Toronto Press, Chapters, Amazon.

Preview and purchase individual chapters.

View the virtual launch​.

Why do Canadians consume? This book answers this question by bringing women's consumer interests to the fore. At the beginning of the 1900s, most women were excluded from politics and paid employment.  As a result, many turned toward shopping and consumption. They sought solutions to isolation, unhappiness, and hardship in the marketplace. Along the way, they politicized consumption.


Yet if consumption was a tool of empowerment, so was it as a tool of exclusion. As Purchasing Power reveals, women of privileged status made fun of lower income women’s consumer habits. In this way they defined who – and who did not – belong in modern Canada.


Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada
Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011.


This book charts how mass retail emerged in modern Canada.  Exploring the histories of Eaton's, Simpson's, and the Hudson's Bay Company's department stores, as well as such regional stores as Woodward's and the Dupuis Freres, this book offers a comprehensive history of Canada's biggest retailers.


*Winner, Pierre Savard Award in Canadian Studies, International Council for Canadian Studies

*Winner, Best Book in Canadian Studies, Canadian Studies Network

*Honourable Mention, Sir John A. MacDonald Prize, Canadian Historical Association.

*Shortlist, John W. Dafoe Book Prize, J. W. Dafoe Foundation