Sandy Barron standing in front of a shipThe History Department congratulates Sandy Barron, a PhD candidate in History, who won the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Award worth $150,000 over three years. The Vanier is designed to attract and retain world-class PhD students. It is awarded to individuals with both strong leadership skills and very high academic achievement. Barron will use his award to study the history of disability in Canada—an emerging field which challenges scholars to expand categories of analysis.  Focusing on schools for the Deaf and blind in Western Canada, he will use this money to conduct thorough archival research in provincial, institutional, and association archives the ways that Deaf people and people with disabilities shaped their education and influenced policy.

Barron was attracted to Carleton because of History Professor Dominique Marshall’s reputation as top scholar in Canadian History along with the possibility of working with Linguistics Professor Kristin Snoddon who specializes in the study of Sign Language.  In addition, Carleton’s commitment to disability studies represents another important institutional foundation.

His project will explore the ways that people with disabilities shaped educational and social institutions and show how the Deaf and blind communities influenced state formation in Western Canada. Specifically looking at advocacy in the creation of institutions and education, he will use a transnational perspective to take into account the impact of recent immigrants from Britain and the US and how they brought ideas from Deaf and blind communities in their home countries. You can read more about Barron’s research here:

Barron is the second History PhD student to win the Vanier; in 2014, Melissa Armstrong won the Vanier for her work on the history of health care in African National Congress camps during the fight against Apartheid.