As a social and cultural historian of northern North America, Dr. Belisle's research explores how race, colonialism, gender, and capitalism have together shaped the Canadian nation. In April 2020, she received a five-year SSHRC Insight Grant for her project, “Canadian Sugar: A Global and Local History.” Based on investigations of archival records, government publications, cookbooks, memoirs, oral narratives, digitized periodicals, and related sources, this project charts the rise of Canadian sugar between 1890 and 1960 and demonstrates the health, cultural, and economic impacts at that rise. Highlighting the international and domestic conditions that underwrote the Canadian sugar trade, this research reveals that imperialism, white supremacy, and colonialism were central to the making of Canadian sugar.
This research, in turn, builds on her previous work in the broader cultural history of Canadian capitalism. Such studies include two SSHRC-funded monographs: Purchasing Power: Women and the Rise of Canadian Consumer Culture (University of Toronto Press, 2020) and the prize-winning Retail Nation: Department Stores and the Making of Modern Canada (UBC Press, 2011). According to Google Scholar, the latter book has been cited 87 times. It won the Pierre Savard Award from the International Council of Canadian Studies, the Best Book Prize from the Canadian Studies Network, and an Honourable Mention for the Sir John A. Macdonald Book Prize from the Canadian Historical Association.
Since 2003, Dr. Belisle has published nine refereed articles and two refereed book chapters. Most recently, she published “Eating Clean: Anti-Chinese Advertising and the Making of White Racial Purity in the Canadian Pacific” in the journal, Global Food History (2020). Additionally, in August 2020 she submitted the article, “Using Anti-Black Racism to Sell Food: Rogers Golden Syrup and the Advertising of White Supremacy in the Canadian West” to an international journal. Also of note is her recent award-winning refereed article which she wrote with Kiera Mitchell: “Mary Quayle Innis: Faculty Wives’ Contributions and the Making of Academic Celebrity” (Canadian Historical Review, 2018). This work has an altmetric score of 104 and as of August 2020 holds the status of the “Most Read” article in the Canadian Historical Review.
Last updated August 2020