Last week the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) named Distinguished Professor Emerita of History, Wendy Mitchinson, as the recipient of the 2019 Jason A. Hannah Medal, which is awarded for works that advance Canadian research in the history of medicine.
The medal recognizes Professor Mitchinson's most recent book Fighting Fat: Canada 1920-1980, a comprehensive look at the history of obesity and fatness in Canada. Focusing on what Prof. Mitchinson argues are the crucial decades of the twentieth century, Fighting Fat illuminates how obesity and fatness became the public health issue of the moment. Through the context of body, medicine, weight measurement, food studies, fat studies, and the identity of those who were fat, Prof. Mitchinson examines the attitudes and practices of medical practitioners, nutritionists, educators, and those who see themselves as fat. As she reveals in the introduction, “what we read about obesity today is very much part of yesterday’s obesity dialogue.”
Professor Mitchinson is an internationally recognized scholar in the medical treatment of women. Author of several groundbreaking studies in Canadian women’s history, she was the Canada Research Chair in Gender and Medical History from 2006 to 2013.
In 2018, the Faculty of Arts announced the establishment of the Wendy Mitchinson Graduate Award in History, which was made possible through the generous donations from alumni, friends, family, and former students. It continues the legacy of Prof. Mitchinson's scholarship and mentorship and is awarded annually to doctoral student working in women’s and gender history at the University.