A prominent University of Toronto professor won a new $60,000 prize for Canadian intellectual discourse, the Samuel de Champlain Foundation’s Samuel de Champlain Prize.
Dan Breznitz, the who teaches history, was announced as the winner of the prize Friday for “Fascism as Ideology: The Soviet Form of Tyranny.” The prize will be awarded in May.
The Samuel de Champlain Prize’s selection committee said it “was drawn to Dan’s research that offers a vision of twentieth-century Nazism as a socio-political project that came from within the Soviet bloc, and which is therefore more relevant and useful today than many other ideological forms of tyranny.”
The committee further noted that Breznitz “has written books and articles that review some of the most important themes, including communist Russia, American state fascism, state capitalism, and the troubled history of the Soviet transition.”
“For more than a quarter-century, Breznitz has been a leading scholar of Soviet Russia and twentieth-century ideology,” the committee said.
He is the ninth visiting historian to win the Samuel de Champlain Prize and is the second to receive it in a row. Harvard University’s Niall Ferguson won last year for “The Great Crash of 1929: Economic Folly, Political Failures, and the Future of Capitalism.” Ferguson is now at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Breznitz also won the 2017 Bronfman Prize, considered Canada’s most prestigious literary award for biography.
He is the director of the Centre for Comparative and International Studies and also teaches European history at University of Toronto.
The Samuel de Champlain Prize was established in 2004 to honor the Quebec-born son of European immigrants who went on to become one of the founding statesmen of North America.
The prize is made up of $50,000 for the individual and $5,000 for the best Canadian text. Each book will be selected by the 14-member committee, which is comprised of senior academics, diplomats and government officials.
The prize is one of several annual awards administered by the Samuel de Champlain Foundation, a donor-advised charity based in Quebec City. Others include the Jean Lesage Literary Award, the Frobisher Prize, the Louis-Nicolas Soeur Prize, the Quebec Molson Award for History and the Samuel de Champlain Prize in Applied Mathematics.