Kenny Prize and Lecture

Robert S. Kenny Prize in Marxist & Labour/Left Studies

To honour the memory of the late Robert S. Kenny, an annual prize was established to recognize writing that advances the cause of labour. It was open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada writing on topics related to Marxist & labour/left studies or international scholars publishing in such areas as they related to Canada. The winner received $1000.00 and delivered a public lecture at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto.

The prize ran between 1999 and 2008. Below are the recipients along with links to their lectures (where available).


Previous winners and their lectures:

2008 Recipient (ninth recipient), Andrée Lévesque

Red Travellers

Red Travellers: Jeanne Corbin and her Comrades. (McGill-Queen's University Press) (translated by Yvonne M. Klein).

Lecture: The Weakest Link: French-Canadian Communists before 1940.

Andrée Lévesque is a specialist in social and economic history, and, more specifically, in the history of Quebec's labour movement and working class, and in the history of women. She is the author of Making and Breaking the Rules: Women in Quebec, 1919-1939. She teaches history at McGill University.


2007 Recipient (eighth recipient), Faith Johnston

Great Restlessness cover

A Great Restlessness: The Life and Politics of Dorise Nielsen. (University of Manitoba Press, 2006).

Lecture: The Communists, the CCF and the Popular Front

Faith Johnston is a Winnipeg-based writer and former Ottawa teacher. She has a Master's in Women's Studies from Carleton University and her work has been published in Dropped Threads 2, The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, Other Voices, and A Room of One's Own. Her research for A Great Restlessness took her across the Canadian prairies, through archives in Toronto and Ottawa, and to Beijing during the 2003 SARS epidemic.


2006 Recipient (seventh recipient), Jean-Claude Parrot

My Life, My Union

My union, my life: Jean-Claude Parrot and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. (Fernwood Publishing, 2005).

Lecture: Class Struggle in the Post Office (Text of lecture not submitted)

Jean-Claude Parrot was the National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for fifteen years. He was elected Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1992, retiring from that position in 2002.


2005 Recipient (sixth recipient), Ann Porter

Gendered States

Gendered States: Women, Unemployment Insurance and the Political Economy of the Welfare State in Canada, 1945-1997. (University of Toronto Press, 2003).

Lecture: Capitalism and Unemployment: Enduring Contradictions

Ann Porter is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, York University, Toronto. "Through a detailed, historical account of the Unemployment Insurance program ...[the author] demonstrates how gender was central to both the construction of the post-war welfare state, as well as to its subsequent crisis and restructuring.


2004 Recipient (fifth recipient), John Belshaw

Colonization and Community

Colonization and community: the Vancouver Island coalfield and the making of the British Columbian working class. (McGill-Queen's University Press, c2002).

Lecture: The Miners First Steps: Radicalizing West Coast Canadian Workers

John Douglas Belshaw is associate professor in the Department of Philosophy, History, and Politics at the University College of the Cariboo, in Kamloops, BC. The text is an examination of the social, political, and demographic history of British miners and their households on Vancouver Island in the nineteenth century.


2003 Recipient (No prize awarded)


2002 Recipient (fourth recipient), James F. Petras & Henry Veltmeyer

Globalization Unmasked

Globalization Unmasked: Imperialism in the 21st Century, (Fernwood (in Canada) and Zed Books (in the United States), 2001).

(Text of lecture not submitted)

James Petras is Professor of Sociology (retired), at Binghamton University, New York, and Henry Veltmeyer is a Professor of Sociology and International Studies at Saint Mary's University, Halifax. "With careful conceptual analysis and rich empirical evidence, the authors present a powerful and persuasive argument that the anodyne rhetoric of 'globalization,' 'markets,' 'democracy,' and other pleasant and apparently neutral terms, conceals realities that are far better understood within the framework of imperialism and class conflict."


2001 Recipient (third recipient), Peter Campbell

Canadian Marxists

Canadian Marxists and the Search for a Third Way. (McGill-Queen's University Press, 1999)

Lecture: Roads to Revolution: Canadian Marxists and the Search for Socialism, 1910-1940

Peter Campbell works as a research assistant with the Disraeli Project at Queen's University. "The triumphs and failures of four Canadian Marxists who advocated organization and education rather than armed struggle in the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and the creation of socialism."


2000 Recipient (second recipient), David Frank

J.B. McLachlan

J.B. McLachlan: A Biography. (James Lorimer, 1999)

Lecture: Cape Breton Red: J.B. McLachlan and Canadian Labour Radicalism

David Frank is a Professor of History at the University of New Brunswick. In this biography he gives an account of legendary labour leader James Bryson McLachlan, champion of the Cape Breton Coal Miners in the early decades of the twentieth century


1999 Recipient (first recipient), Larry Hannant

Politics of Passion

The Politics of Passion: Norman Bethune's Writing and Art. (University of Toronto Press, 1998)

Lecture: Norman Bethune: Past and Future

Larry Hannant is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Victoria and Instructor in History at Camosun College, Victoria. The text presents a collection of writings and artwork by Bethune, to "reintroduce us to the man himself," through his own words and artistic expressions.