Renée Lafferty

Faculty of Humanities

Renée Lafferty

Rank: Assistant Professor
Department: History and Canadian Studies
Ext: 4231

Work currently in progress, or about to be begun, along with indication of when the project is likely to culminate and what form it will take:
I have two research projects currently underway. The first of these, the preparation of my PhD manuscript for publication, will be completed in late May of 2007. This manuscript has been through the initial stages of peer review at McGill-Queen’s University Press.

The second project is an outgrowth of my post-doctoral research on Alcoholics Anonymous, alcoholism, religion and health policy in Ontario. There are currently two prongs to this research. The first of these, which will result in at least two published articles, relates to the medical and spiritual treatment of “dipsomania” in the late 19th century. Preliminary research on the first paper drawn from this research was presented at a history faculty colloquium last fall, and forms the basis of conference paper to be presented at the 4th International Conference on the History of Drugs and Alcohol, held at Guelph University in August of 2007. It will be submitted for publication with The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs at that time. The second article deals with the spectacle of public drunkenness in the Police Courts in late 19th century Toronto, and the effect that this had on the popularity of publicly supported medical therapies and rehabilitation programs in hospitals and prisons.

The second prong is a lengthier research study of the introduction and spread of AA membership groups in Ontario, their religious roots, and their impact on public health in the post-war period. One element of this research, a study of the “Lady Alcoholics” of Toronto in the 1940s, will be presented at the HRI Symposium in December of 2006, and I plan to complete this article for publication during June-July of 2007. The research for this project is still underway, and as it involves a multitude of small, scattered archival sites across Canada and the United States, I anticipate that another two years will be required to complete it. I plan to publish at least one other paper on the emergence of AA in Toronto and its involvement with the Addiction Research Foundation, but the bulk of my energy in this project is directed toward the completion of a manuscript study. When I am closer to a clear proposal for this project (fall of 2007), I will be approaching UBC press, which has shown an early interest in the project

Work previously undertaken, research achievements or projects completed:
My PhD research was based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and centred on child welfare institutions and associations operating in the city from 1880 to 1960. The nature of the project required a creative mining of resources in public and private archives, and the first chapter from the dissertation itself, presented at the 2002 Congress, was published in the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association that year. Early interest was shown in the project by McGill Queen’s University Press, and the editor of the Religion and Public Life Series (Donald Akenson) sent the unedited dissertation itself out for peer review shortly after my defence. These reviews were positive, and following some minor revisions, the manuscript will be sent back to McGill-Queen’s for formal peer review this year.

Following my doctoral work, I embarked on a post-doctoral project (outlined above) at York University, which is ongoing. I entered the History Department and Centre for Canadian Studies at Brock while this post-doc was only half-way completed.

Research Grants held (including dates) and Research Awards or Honours:
2004-2005: SSHRC Post Doctoral Fellowship, York University
1999-2003: F.W. Killam Memorial Scholarship, Dalhousie University (PhD)
1998-2002: SSHRCC Doctoral Fellowship
1997-1998: F.W. Killam Memorial Scholarship, Dalhousie University (MA)

Areas of Research Interest (in brief):
Canadian religious and medical history (esp. alcohol consumption and addiction); social policy and administration; institutional history and child welfare