April 13, 2005

McMaster professor awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

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Richard Harris, professor and associate director of the School of Geography & Geology, surveys new housing development in a Hamilton neighbourhood. The house behind him was part of a post-war development, the beginning of suburbia.

Hamilton, ON - McMaster University professor Richard Harris has been awarded a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship. He is the only academic from a Canadian university this year to receive the distinction.

As one of 186 artists, scholars and scientists to receive a 2005 award, Harris was selected from more than 3,000 applicants. Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

Harris, professor and associate director of the School of Geography & Geology, studies urban social geography, specifically housing, Canadian and U.S. cities in the 20th century and historical urban development in British colonies. His most recent book is Creeping Conformity How Canada became Suburban, 1900-1960 (University of Toronto Press, 2004).

Harris will use his fellowship to write a book about the early post-war suburbs of Canada, the United States, and Australia. In the late 1940s and early 1950s many people who settled in the suburbs built their own homes. Harris will tell the story of how this happened and of how building suppliers turned the short-lived boom in owner-building into a longer-term market for do-it-yourself.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation provides fellowships for advanced professionals in all fields (natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, creative arts) except the performing arts. Guggenheim Fellowships are grants made to selected individuals to help fellows work with as much creative freedom as possible. Decisions are based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisors and are approved by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

McMaster University, named Canada’s Research University of the Year by Research InfoSource, has world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities. McMaster's culture of innovation fosters a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University has a student population of more than 23,000 and more than 112,000 alumni in 128 countries.