Meet Dr. Brandon Mendonca, University of Guelph

Monday, December 11, 2023

"Brandon's defence was so impressive," affirms Dr. Catharine Wilson, Brandon Mendonca's supervisor. "His thesis was skillfully written and analytical and, in his answers, he demonstrated that this was only a portion of his deep knowledge about journalism and agricultural journalism in particular.  As always, he was professional, articulate and razor-sharp. It's been an absolute pleasure to be a small part of his intellectual journey."

Dr. Mendonca's dissertation, “From Nature to Newsrooms: Canadian Farm Writing as a Professional Project," examines the relationship between farm journalism and professionalization in Canada between the late 1930s and late 1980s. Drawing on a combination of institutional records, personal papers, and oral interviews, Brandon argues that farm journalists in both the print and broadcasting field constructed a fluid and collective identity as ‘farm writers’ that embraced scientific knowledge, proximity to farm life, and a specialized role in agricultural extension as a way of legitimizing their professional standing. Through the power of competition, cooperation, organization, lobbying, prize culture, and international networking, farm writers engaged in an ongoing ‘project’ that continuously sought to build, maintain, and expand their professional boundaries.

In addition to Dr. Wilson, Brandon's committee included Dr. Adam Crerar, Laurier and Dr. Matthew Hayday, Guelph. His external examiner was Dr. Joe Anderson, of Mount Royal University, and the internal/external was Dr. Susan Nance, Guelph. Dr. Mendonca defended his dissertation on November 24, 2023.

Dr. Mendonca is currently working on two articles, which will be submitted for publication. The first examines the emergence of a prize culture around the Canadian Farm Writers Federation (CFWF) annual awards contest. As the only agricultural journalism award competition in Canada, his article seeks to answer what, exactly, qualified as prize-worthy farm journalism and examine how and why it evolved over time. The second article examines reader responses to the collapse of the once-venerable farm magazine, The Family Herald, in September 1968. Brandon also intends to adapt his dissertation into a monograph.   

Completing my PhD in Tri-U program was a wonderful experience. In addition to having access to a wide-range of faculty and expertise, I met some of my closest friends through the graduate program. I am very thankful for the support I received from my supervising committee, the Tri-U staff, and the University of Guelph History Department.

Dr. Brandon Mendonca, PhD

Brandon Mendonca in front of a body of water