Chilton, Dennis named associates for the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History

Honour recognizes scholars who push the field of Canadian history in exciting new directions
Monday, December 18, 2017
Dr. Lisa Chilton and Dr. Robert Dennis

The L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History has announced its first-ever list of associates for 2017–2020, made up of 37 scholars from Canada and the United States who, according to the Institute’s website, are “pushing the field of Canadian history in exciting new transnational directions…asking new questions and bringing new perspectives to the writing of Canadian history.” Among the first cohort are two distinguished members of UPEI’s Faculty of Arts: Dr. Lisa Chilton and Dr. Robert Dennis.

The Institute’s goal for its associates program is to build a diverse network of scholars inside and outside of Canada, and to support the work of both Anglo- and Francophone scholars from a variety of institutions and at different stages in their careers.

From the L.R. Wilson Institute’s website:

Dr. Chilton is an associate professor of history, a member of the graduate faculty of the Master of Arts in Island Studies, and the director of a new program in Applied Communication, Leadership, and Culture in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Prince Edward Island. Her areas of research and publishing expertise are the history of international migrations and the history of British cultural imperialism, especially as they relate to pre-World War Two Canada. Her publications include Agents of Empire: British Female Migration to Canada and Australia, 1860s-1930 (University of Toronto Press, 2007), articles and chapters in multiple journals and edited collections (one of which won a CHA article prize in 2016), and a CHA booklet in the Immigration and Ethnicity in Canada Series, titled, Receiving Canada’s Immigrants: The Work of the State Before 1930 (2016). She is currently writing a book on the history of Canadian immigration from the 1760s to the Great Depression.

Dr. Dennis is an assistant professor of religious studies and an intellectual and religious historian with a specialization in Roman Catholicism. He is currently writing a history of Saint Dunstan’s University from 1955 to 1969. Dr. Dennis has recently completed a manuscript on how transatlantic developments in Catholic social thought influenced the formation of social Catholicism in English Canada during the Depression and Second World War years. This study focused on how Catholic intellectuals across the country engaged normative assumptions in classic liberalism and social democracy, reframing them, often with great radicalism, within frameworks of neo-Thomist/personalist and distributist philosophies. This project situated the experience of the Canadian Church within the broader context European Catholicism and international Catholic social thought as the Church restructures in the decades before the Second Vatican Council.  

“UPEI is delighted that two of our leading scholars have been recognized by the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History,” said Dr. Robert Gilmour, vice-president academic and research at UPEI. “Drs. Chilton and Dennis have impressive records as innovators, not only with respect to their research, but also as communicators of their work to the scholarly community and to their students.”

The associates will also help determine the winner of the annual Wilson Book Prize, an annual $10,000 award for the publisher of a book that makes Canadian scholarship accessible to a wide audience.

For a complete list of the Wilson Associates, go to

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island. 

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