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History General

Radical Housewives

Price Wars and Food Politics in Mid-Twentieth-Century Canada

by (author) Julie Guard

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2019
General, Canadian, Women, Women's Studies, Urban
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2019
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
    List Price

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Radical Housewives is a history of Canada’s Housewives Consumers Association. This association was a community-based women’s organization with ties to the communist and social democratic left that, from 1937 until the early 1950s, led a broadly based popular movement for state control of prices and made other far-reaching demands on the state. As radical consumer activists, the Housewives engaged in gender-transgressive political activism that challenged the government to protect consumers’ interests rather than just those of business while popularizing socialist solutions to the economic crises of the Great Depression and the immediate postwar years.


Julie Guard's exhaustive research, including archival research and interviews with twelve former Housewives, recovers a history of women’s social justice activism in an era often considered dormant and adds a Canadian dimension to the history of politicized consumerism and of politicized materialism. Radical Housewives reinterprets the view of postwar Canada as economically prosperous and reveals the left’s role in the origins of the food security movement.

About the author


Julie Guard is an associate professor of labour studies at the University of Manitoba, a research associate for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Manitoba and a member of the CCPA Manitoba and National boards. She is active in the labour, peace and women’s movements, and her articles on gender, ethnicity and working-class identity have been published in Labour/le travail and the Journal of Women’s History.


Julie Guard's profile page


  • Winner, 2021 Errol Sharpe Book Prize: awarded by The Society for Socialist Studies
  • Short-listed, The 2020 Manitoba Book Awards
  • Commended, CHA Canadian Committee on Women’s History Book

Editorial Reviews

"In her book, Guard tells a fascinating story of this little-known but very influential movement in mid-twentieth-century Canada."

<em>Canada’s History</em>

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