York students earn national prizes for Canadian Studies research

Two students in York University's Canadian Studies program have earned praise for their research with awards from the prestigious Canadian Studies Network-Le Réseau d'études canadiennes (CSN-RÉC).

Warren Bernauer

Evania Pietrangelo-Proco

Evania Pietrangelo-Porco (undergraduate, history) and Warren Bernauer (PhD, geography) earned prizes for best 2018-19 undergraduate thesis and PhD dissertation respectively. York University's Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies nominated the two works to the CSN national prize level after they won Robarts’ own Odessa (undergraduate) and Godard Prizes (PhD) this past spring.

The CSN-RÉC is a national association dedicated to serving the purposes of scholars, including faculty, students and independent researchers, involved in the study of Canada through Canadian Studies programs at the post-secondary level in Canada.

In its adjudication, the prize committee called Pietrangelo-Porco’s work “ambitious, mature, and well-researched” and they were unanimously impressed by Bernauer’s "methodology, sources and clear and lively prose.”

Pietrangelo-Porco’s essay, titled “Sex and the City Streets: Intersections of Politics, Morality, Race, and Community in Vancouver, 1983 – 1989” was completed under the supervision of Daniel Murchison (history). The essay examined Vancouver’s sex work industry through an intersectional lens and sought to ‘read’ the field through the lens of developing neo-liberal policies. Earlier this year, it won the Robarts Centre’s Odessa Prize for the Study of Canada, which recognizes the best fourth-year undergraduate essay written in either English or French at York University on a topic relevant to the study of Canada. The prize, which was relaunched in 2018-19 after a four-year hiatus, came with a $1,000 award. Pietrangelo-Porco is currently in the first year of a master’s program in history at York University.

Bernauer’s PhD dissertation “Extractive Hegemony in the Arctic: Energy Resources and Political Conflict in Nunavut, 1970-2017” examines the history of conflicts over resource extraction in Nunavut and explains how Nunavut’s government and Inuit organizations have come to support an economy based on energy extraction. In the summer of this year, it was awarded the Barbara Godard Dissertation Prize. This award, from the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, is given to the doctoral dissertation on a Canadian topic defended at York University during the calendar year that best advances our knowledge of Canada. The award is accompanied by a prize of $500.

Since completing his dissertation, Bernauer has worked as a consultant to Indigenous and environmental organizations and as a senior researcher at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Bernauer is currently teaching at the University of Manitoba in the Geography and Native Studies departments. He is preparing a book monograph on the history of Inuit resistance to uranium mining, co-authored with Inuit Elder/activist Joan Scottie and social science researcher Jack Hicks, for submission to a publisher.

The Robarts Centre has a recent record of successful nominations to the national level. To nominate a student for the Odessa Prize, faculty members are invited to submit one essay on behalf of a student, with a short covering letter explaining the context in which the work was written. For the Godard Prize, the graduate program director of each graduate program at York University may nominate one dissertation per year. For more information, email robarts@yorku.ca or visit robarts.info.yorku.ca.

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