The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall

Sean Mills

Associate Professor, MA Coordinator, & Canada Research Chair in Canadian and Transnational History

Office Location:  University College, Room UC247


Sean Mills is a historian with research interests that include postcolonial thought, culture, migration, race, gender and empire.  In his first major book, The Empire Within: Postcolonial Thought and Political Activism in Sixties Montreal, he explored both the shifting meanings of empire and the transnational circulation of ideas and people.  The book was awarded the Quebec Writers’ Federation First Book Award in 2010, and earned an Honourable Mention for the Canadian Historical Association’s Sir John A. Macdonald Award/Governor General’s Award for Scholarly Achievement in 2011. The dissertation from which it was derived won the John Bullen Award for the best history Ph.D. thesis in Canada, the Eugene Forsey Thesis Prize, and the Governor General’s Gold Medal.  The book quickly went into a second and then a third printing, was reviewed in over 30 popular and academic publications, and was widely adopted for courses in a variety of disciplines. In 2011, the book was published in French translation as Contester l’empire. Pensée postcoloniale et militantisme politique à Montréal, 1963-1972.

Mills’ most recent work has explored questions of north-south relations, migration, and the politics of culture.   In 2016, Mills co-edited Canada and the Third World: Overlapping Histories, a book designed to highlight new ways of conceptualizing the transnational ties of Canadian history.  Also in 2016, Mills published his second major sole-authored work, A Place in the Sun: Haiti, Haitians, and the Remaking of Quebec.  In the face of a steady stream of studies that sought to make sense of the influence of Western powers on Haiti’s internal developments, he sought to do the reverse, to look at how Haiti and Haitian migrants had influenced and shaped the development of a society in the “West.”  The book won the Prix de la présidence de l'Assemblée nationale du Québec for the best book in Quebec politics, as well as the the Clio-Québec Prize from the Canadian Historical Association. In the fall of 2016, the book was published in French translation as Une place au soleil.  Haïti, les Haïtiens et le Québec. Mills is currently working on a new book about art, culture, and social change.

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  • PhD, Queen’s University
  • MA, McGill Univerisity