Robert A. Wardhaugh


image of Robert A. Wardhaugh
PhD, University of Manitoba, 1995
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 84969
Office: Lawson Hall 2263
Office Hours: Mondays / Tuesdays / Wednesdays 10:30 -12:00pm

Research Interests

Professor Robert Wardhaugh is a Canadian political and regional historian whose research interests include the latter 19th and 20th centuries; the era of Mackenzie King; Federalism; World War I & II; Political parties, Political culture, the 1920s; Small towns and rural life; Regionalism; 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 Prairie small town. Working alongside coauthor, Professor James Flath, this book project will provide a local history of the village of Fielding, Saskatchewan. This particular village has largely disappeared and the book will provide an example (and microcosm) of the rise and fall of the small town in the Prairie West.

Select Publications


rowell sirois commission book cover

(with Barry Ferguson) The Rowell-Sirois Commission and the Remaking of Canadian Federalism (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2021)

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

(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.

Edited Books

The Premiers of Manitoba book cover

Manitoba Premiers of the 19th and 20th Centuries
, 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)

 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