Brandon University Professor Wins Literary Prize

This article is over 8 years old.

BRANDON, MB – A Brandon University professor of religion has won the 2015 Canadian Society for the Study of Religion First Book Prize, an annual award recognizing an outstanding monograph in Religious Studies.

Dr. Alison Marshall won the national prize for her book The Way of the Bachelor: Early Chinese Settlement in Western Manitoba. The award was announced in Ottawa at the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr. Alison Marshall,  Department of Religion
Dr. Alison Marshall, Department of Religion

The jury for the 2015 prize was made up of University of Ottawa Professor Dr. Peter Beyer, Mount Alison University Professor Emeritus Dr. Eldon Hay, and Auburn University at Montgomery Assistant Professor Dr. David Feltmate.

“This historical and ethnographic account is finely nuanced and is indispensable for students of Canadian religion,” said one of the jury members. “At the same time, scholars outside of Canada who are working on this subject that binds us–religion and what constitutes our data–can benefit from Marshall’s contributions since they so fundamentally challenge the dominant ways of thinking about religion in the academy.”

The lives of early Japanese and Chinese settlers in British Columbia have come to define the Asian experience in Canada. Yet many men travelled beyond British Columbia to settle in small prairie towns and cities.

“I wrote the book to raise awareness about the long history of Chinese settlement in Manitoba and the importance of Dr. Sun Yatsen who visited Winnipeg in 1911,” said Marshall.

“After researching Chinese prairie settlement for a decade I realized that Chinese had lived in Manitoba since 1877 and some of Brandon University’s earliest students had in fact been Chinese.”

“Based on scrupulous research in documentary but also oral sources, this nuanced, lucid, and moving immigrant narrative is a worthy recipient,” said Dr. Demetres Tryphonopoulos, Dean of Arts. “We at Brandon University are very proud of a colleague who continues to produce absorbing, first-rate work that offers us vivid glimpses into the Chinese immigrant experience in the Prairies and beyond.​”

Other finalists were Sarah King for Fishing in Contested Waters and Hillary Kael’s Walking Where Jesus Walked.

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, and educates students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.


To receive any BU publication in an alternate format please contact

About BU

Success is built at Brandon University. Our growing, progressive campus welcomes a diverse and inclusive community that combines proud tradition with shared ambition. Through our excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship, we educate students to make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders. Join us at