Robert A. Wardhaugh


PhD, University of Manitoba, 1995
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 84969
Office: Lawson Hall 2263
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 10:00-12:00

Research Interests

Professor Robert Wardhaugh is a Canadian political and regional historian whose research interests include the era of Mackenzie King, federalism, World War II, political parties, political culture, the 1920s, and the Prairie West.

Teaching Philosophy

My pedagogical approach in a university classroom is based around very simple concepts. Ultimately, I seek to communicate and then to engage with students so that I can translate what I hope is my sufficient learning and passion for the subject.

This objective is more difficult to achieve than it appears. In order for communication (and then to go one step further for engagement) to occur, the barriers must come down. I attempt to lower these barriers through offering the students a welcoming, energetic, stimulating, and most importantly, respectful atmosphere in which to learn. If I fail to communicate with my students, I have failed to teach them.

I seek to have my students question the course content. The analytical component is critical for success. I want them to critically and creatively evaluate and analyze the information presented. My passion for history is impossible to conceal and I seek ways to share this sentiment. I strongly encourage discussion and debate; I urge students to be critical of historical issues and to analyze the past in ways in which they are not accustomed. It is essential that history be tied to the present so students will recognize the importance and usefulness of studying the subject.

If I have succeeded, students will leave my class feeling they have learned important information about Canadian history but also feeling confident in raising questions pertaining to this history. I want them to be excited by the subject, something I also believe essential for the learning process. That excitement and passion serves as the crucial building blocks required to move on to further objectives. Once students have become engaged with the subject, they have the opportunity to embrace it on a deeper, more critical and analytical level.

Major Research Projects

My present project is a history of the Rowell-Sirois Commission (The Royal Commission on Dominion-Provincial Relations). Established in 1937, this royal commission has been lauded as the most important in Canadian history. Yet, I argue, its recommendations have been misunderstood and misinterpreted by historians. This book will analyze the development of Canadian federalism emerging out of the Great Depression and Second World War.

Along with Alan MacEachern, I have just completed a new edition (8th edition) of the Canadian history textbooks, Origins and Destinies.

Select Publications


Origins book cover

(with Alan MacEachern) Origins: Canadian History to Confederation, 8th ed., Nelson, 2017

Destinies book cover

(with Alan MacEachernDestinies: Canadian History since Confederation, 8th ed. Nelson, 2017.

Behind the Scenes book cover

Behind the Scenes: The Life and Work of W.C. Clark (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010)

Mackenzie King and the Prairie West book cover

Mackenzie King and the Prairie West (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000)


Origins book cover

Origins: Canadian History to Confederation 7th edition (Toronto: Nelson, 2012)

Destinies book cover

Destinies: Canadian History Since Confederation 7th edition (Toronto: Nelson, 2011)

Edited Books

The Premiers of Manitoba book cover

The Premiers of Manitoba, co-edited with Barry Ferguson (Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2010)

Time, History, and the Writing of the Canadian Prairies book cover

Time, History, and the Writing of the Canadian Prairies, co-edited with Alison Calder (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2005)

Towards Defining the Prairies book cover

Towards Defining the Prairies: Region, Culture, and History (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2001)

Book Chapters

  • ‘Introduction,’ Man Proposes, God Disposes (Edmonton: Athabasca University Press, forthcoming 2012)
  • `John Bracken,’ with Jason Thistlethwaite, Robert Wardhaugh and Barry Ferguson (eds.), The Premiers of Manitoba (Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2010) 165-93
  • `W.L. Morton, Margaret Laurence, and the Writing of Manitoba,’ Sarah Carter, Alvin Finkel, and Peter Fortna (eds.), The West and Beyond: New Perspectives on an Imagined Region (Edmonton: University of Athabaska Press, 2010) 329-348
  • `Reconsidering Rowell-Sirois and Rethinking Canadian Federalism,’ co-authored with Barry Ferguson, Ian Peach (ed.), Constructing Tomorrow’s Federalism (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2007) 31-50
  • `Brian Mulroney and the West,’ Raymond Blake (editor), Transforming the Nation: Brian Mulroney and Canada (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007) 225-249
  • `Productivity and Popular Attitudes Toward Welfare Recipients in Saskatchewan, 1970-1990,’ Fiona Douglas and Gloria Geller (eds.), Redefining Productivity for Social Development and Well-being (Regina: co-published by the Social Policy Research Unit (SPR), Faculty of Social Work, University of Regina and Canadian Plains Research Centre, 2007) 41-74

Book Reviews

  • Jim Blanchard, Winnipeg 1912, Manitoba History, Number 51, February 2006
  • Paul Voisey, High River and the Times: An Alberta Community and Its Weekly Newspaper, 1905-1966, Social History/Histoire Sociale, vol. 38, no. 76, November 2005
  • Suzanne Morton, At Odds: Gambling and Canadians, 1919-1969, University of Toronto Quarterly, 2004 Vol 74:1
  • Enid Barnett, The Keynesian Arithmetic in War-Time Canada: Development of the National Accounts, 1939-1945, The War Budget of September 1939: Keynes Comes to Canada, Keynes’s `How to Pay for the War’ in Canada: The Story of Compulsory Savings, 1939-1944, Canadian Historical Review (fall 2002) 259
  • Paul Romney, Getting it Wrong: How Canadians Forgot their Past and Imperilled Confederation. Canadian Historical Review (winter 2001) 408-9
  • Deborah Keahey, Making it Home: Place in Canadian Prairie Literature. Essays on Canadian Writing (winter 2000), 191-4
  • Ramsay Cook and Jean Hamelin, general editors, Canadian Dictionary of Biography Volume XIV 1911-1920. Manitoba History (Number 39, Spring/Summer 2000) 50
  • Azoulay, Dan. Keeping the Dream Alive: The Survival of the Ontario CCF/NDP, 1950-1963. Labour/Le Travail (Fall 1999) 250-2
  • Rea, J.E., T.A. Crerar: A Political Life. Saskatchewan History (Fall 1998) 46-7
  • Story & Shepard (eds.), The Diefenbaker Legacy. Newest Review (Dec-Jan 98/99) 33-4
  • Smith, Denis. Rogue Tory: The Life and Legend of John Diefenbaker. Saskatchewan History (Spring 1997) 41-42

Additional Publications

Awards & Distinctions

  • May 2010-May 2013
    SSHRC Standard Research Grant
  • June 2011
    Manitoba Historical Society
    Margaret McWilliams Award
    Best Scholarly Book on Manitoba History, 2010
  • May 2008
    University of Western Ontario
    Award of Excellence
    for Undergraduate Teaching