Queen's University

Don Akenson, History

Don Akenson received an honorary degree from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand for his contributions to the study of history in that country.

Don Akenson has been awarded his sixth honorary degree, most recently from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.

“I am totally delighted to receive this honorary degree,” says Dr. Akenson, a Queen’s history professor. “This recognition has special meaning for me; my initial work at Victoria was a pivotal point in my studies of the Irish diaspora.”

Dr. Akenson’s connection with the New Zealand university began in 1988 when he first visited as a Fellow at the Stout Research Centre. He has returned over a dozen times since then to conduct further research, teach Master’s students, and participate in international conferences.

As a result of his initial fellowship, Dr. Akenson published his 1990 work Half the World from Home: Perspectives on the Irish in New Zealand. His scholarship promoted a multifaceted approach to New Zealand history and challenged the traditional historical narrative that focused on the two major groups, the Pakeha and the Maori. In granting the honorary degree, Victoria University noted the global significance of Dr. Akenson’s work on the Irish diaspora.

Dr. Akenson is the Douglas Professor of Canadian and Colonial History at Queen’s and senior editor of McGill-Queen’s University Press. He is the author of 20 scholarly books and five novels.

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