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Lisa Pasolli


Lisa Pasolli is a historian of 20th century Canada, with specialties in the history of social policy, women and gender, and the politics of child care. Her book, Working Mothers and the Child Care Dilemma: A History of British Columbia’s Social Policy (2015) examines the long-standing struggle over public child care as a welfare and women’s rights issue, and was awarded the Canadian Historical Association’s BC Clio Prize. One of her current projects examines the national politics of child care since the Second World War and is situated in the history of motherhood, the welfare state, caring labour, and gendered social regulation in Canada. A second project, which is funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2019-2022), examines the relationship between tax expenditures and social policy in 20th century Canada. Dr. Pasolli is also part of a SSHRC Partnership Grant (2020-2027), “What is the Best Policy Mix for Diverse Canadian Families with Young Children? Re-imagining Family Policies,” which brings together an international team of interdisciplinary researchers to study childcare, parental leave, employment policies.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

  • With Julia Smith, “The Labor Relations of Love: Workers, Child Care, and the State in 1970s Vancouver, British Columbia,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History (14 no. 4, December 2017): 39-60.
  • “‘I ask you, Mr. Mitchell, is the emergency over?’: Debating Day Nurseries in the Second World War,” Canadian Historical Review 96, 1 (March 2015): 1-31.
  • “‘A Proper Independent Spirit’: Working Mothers and the Vancouver City Crèche, 1910-1920,” BC Studies 173 (Spring 2012): 69-95.
  •  “Bureaucratizing the Atlantic Revolution: The “Saskatchewan Mafia” in the New Brunswick Civil Service, 1960-70,” Acadiensis vol. XXXVIII, no. 1 (Winter/Spring 2009): 126-150.

Book Chapters

  • “The Birch Battles: Daycare and the Welfare State in 1970s Ontario,” in Ontario Since Confederation: A Reader, 2nd edition, ed. Dimitry Anastakis and James Onusko, forthcoming.
  • “Casualties of War: Children, Mothers, and Wartime Day Nurseries.” Making the Best of It: Women and Girls of Canada and Newfoundland during the Second World War, edited by Sarah Glassford and Amy Shaw (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2020).
  • With Julia Smith, “Challenging Work: Feminist Scholarship on Women, Gender, and Work in Canadian History,” in Reading Canadian Women’s and Gender History, eds. Nancy Janovicek and Carmen Nielsen (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019).
  • “Child Care and Feminism in Canada,” in Gender, Feminism, and Global Cross-Cultural Connections: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, ed. Glenda Bonifacio (Emerald Publishing, November 2017).

Edited Volumes

  • With Julia Smith, Rethinking Feminist History and Theory: Reflections on Gender, Class, Labour, and Colonialism, University of Toronto Press, forthcoming.

Review Essays

  • “Recent Works in Twentieth-Century Women’s, Gender, and “New Political” History,” The Canadian Historical Review 101, 3 (September 2020), 450-459.
Awards and recognition
  • Canadian Historical Association, BC Clio Prize (for Working Mothers and the Child Care Dilemma)
  • Canadian Historical Association Best Article Prize in Labour History (for “The Labor Relations of Love”)
  • Canadian Historical Association Political History Group Best Article Prize (for “I ask you, Mr. Mitchell”)
  • The Canadian Historical Review Best Paper Prize (for “I ask you, Mr. Mitchell”)
Graduate supervision

I am welcoming students interested in a broad range of topics in 20th century Canadian social and political history.

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.