George Ramsay Cook
George Ramsay Cook, OC, FRSC (born November 28, 1931 in Alameda, Saskatchewan), is a Canadian historian and general editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. He was professor of history at York University for 25 years until 1996. Through his championing of so-called "limited identities", Cook contributed to the rise of the New Social History, which uses "class, gender and ethnicity" as its three main categories of analysis. Cook's conception of "limited identities" was famously formulated in an article in the International Journal in 1967, Canada's centenary year, reviewing the state of contemporary scholarship on Canadian nationalism:
After six new books on the great Canadian problem — our lack of
unity and identity — are we getting any nearer the source of the problem? Undoubtedly something is achieved: if nothing else one can wonder if the search is worth the effort. Certainly we should continue to try to understand ourselves; an unexamined nation is not worth living in. But it may be that the frame of reference is wrong. Perhaps instead of constantly deploring our lack of identity, we should attempt to understand and explain the regional, ethnic and class identities that we do have. It might just be that it is in these limited identities that "Canadianism" is found, and that except for our over-heated nationalist intellectuals,Canadians find this situation quite satisfactory.
During his teaching career, Cook supervised the work of many prominent social historians such as Franca Iacovetta.
In 1997, the Ramsay Cook Research Scholarship was established at York University to honour his contribution to the field of history.
In 2005, he was the recipient of the Molson Prize in Social Sciences and Humanities.
- The Politics of John W. Dafoe and the Free Press, 1963.
- Canada and the French Canadian Question, 1966.
- The Maple Leaf Forever: Essays on Nationalism and Politics in Canada, 1971.
- Canada 1896-1921: A Nation Transformed, with Robert Craig Brown, 1975. (Part of The Canadian Centenary Series.)
- The Regenerators: Social Criticism in Late Victorian English Canada, 1985.
- Canada, Quebec and the Uses of Nationalism, 1986.
- Ramsay Cook, "Canadian Centennial Cerebrations," International Journal, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Autumn, 1967), 663.
- L'Harmattan web site (in French)