Labouring the Canadian Millennium: Writings on Work and Workers, History and Historiography


483 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-894000-04-8
DDC 331'.0971




Edited by Bryan D. Palmer
Reviewed by W.J.C. Cherwinski

W.J.C. Cherwinski is a professor of history and Canadian Studies Program
supervisor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is the co-author
of Lectures in Canadian Labour and Working-Class History.


Through this volume, Labour/le travail, the official journal of the
Canadian Committee on Labour History, sets out to assess the state of
the subdiscipline of labor studies at the beginning of the new
millennium. Stalwarts long associated with the study of Canada’s labor
and working-class movements contribute cameo essays on workers on film
(David Frank), feminism (Joan Sangster), the asbestos strike (Jacques
Rouillard), and socialism (Ian McKay). Other writers demonstrate how far
the subdiscipline has progressed in four decades with brief but
concentrated studies on the family (Cynthia Comacchio), employment law
(Judy Fudge and Eric Tucker), and Vancouver striptease artists (Becki L.
Ross). York University veteran historian Michiel Horn recycles some of
his work on labor, the left, and academic freedom in Canadian
universities, while the venerable Desmond Morton provides an overarching
essay on the state of labor history in general.

Readers who are not familiar with the latest theories on social/labor
research will find this book heavy going. Others will be dismayed by the
overall lack of cohesiveness. Among the contributions, Morton’s is
arguably the most useful for its attempt to make sense of what has gone
before and how it relates to the present state of the sub-discipline.


“Labouring the Canadian Millennium: Writings on Work and Workers, History and Historiography,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024,