History professor's book wins international award
History professor Ian McKay has received an international award for his book about how tourism shaped the history of Nova Scotia.
The International Council for Canadian Studies’ (ICCS) Pierre Savard Award recognizes outstanding scholarly monographs on a Canadian topic.
“It’s such a nice development,” Dr. McKay says of the award. “It’s a very local book, but it’s received all this attention from all over the world. It’s very nice to have a global audience and to attach our local interests to global interests.”
Dr. McKay’s book In the Province of History: The Making of the Public Past in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia explores how the province used its history for tourism and marketing purposes.
The book also examines the ways individuals select things from the past that are good for tourism and leave out things they’d rather not commemorate. The authors suggest that many of the things that have come to represent Nova Scotia, including Henry Longfellow’s poem Evangeline, have little or no historical connection to the province.
“I expect it will be a fairly controversial book,” says Dr. McKay. “At least I hope so. I think it will challenge many preconceptions.”
Dr. McKay’s co-author is Robin Bates, who received his MA in History from Queen’s in 2004 and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago. The award is intended to designate exceptional books that contribute to a better understanding of Canada. Dr. McKay and Mr. Bates will receive the award at the ICCS annual banquet in Ottawa next month.
For more information on the award visit the ICCS website.