Jonathan F. Vance

- Distinguished University Professor
- J.B. Smallman Chair

image of Jonathan F.W. Vance
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada                                                                                                                      PhD, York University, 1993
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 84974
Office: Lawson Hall 2247
Office Hours: Mondays, 1:00 pm-2:00pm and Wednesdays, 12:00 pm-2:00pm

Research Interests

Professor Vance teaches military history, Canadian history, and social memory. His current research focuses on the First World War, Canadian culture, and prisoners of war.

Major Research Projects

The Ley and Lois Smith War, Memory, and Popular Culture
Research Collection

The collection is now available to researchers working in the fields of military history, cultural studies, war and society, and prisoners of war. It is a heterogeneous collection of archival materials, microforms, published and printed documents, and secondary sources relating to the cultural dimensions of conflict and the collective memory of war. Its holdings, which might be broadly classed as ephemera, are strongest in a number of areas:

  • popular culture artifacts
  • materials relating to veterans organizations
  • children’s literature and educational materials relating to war history
  • military training and instructional manuals
  • wartime publications

For more information, please see the collection guide.

Select Publications


  • (2019) The True Story of the Great Escape: Stalag Luft III, March 1944. Yorkshire, England: Greenhill Books.

  • (2018) A Township at War. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
  • (2015) The Great War: From Memory to History. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
  • (2011) Maple Leaf Empire: Canada, Britain and Two World Wars. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.
  • (2009) Bamboo Cage: The P.O.W. Diary of Flight Lieutenant Robert Wyse, 1942-1943. Fredericton, NB: New Brunswick Military History Project / Goose Lane Editions.
  • (2009) A History of Canadian Culture. Oxford University Press.
  • (2008) Unlikely Soldiers: How Two Canadians Fought the Secret War Against Nazi Occupation. Toronto: HarperCollins.
  • (2006) Building Canada: People and Projects that Shaped the Nation. Toronto: Penguin Canada.
  • (2006) Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment (editor), Second ed. Millerton, NY: Grey House Publishing.
  • (2003) A Gallant Company: The True Story of "The Great Escape". Third ed., New York: Simon and Schuster/iBooks.
  • (2002) High Flight: Aviation and the Canadian Imagination. Toronto: Penguin Canada
  • (1997) Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning and the First World War. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
  • (1994) Objects of Concern: Canadian Prisoners of War through the 20th Century. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

Book Chapters

  • (2024) ‘The Korean War’s Prisoners,’ in Canada and the Korean War: Histories and Legacies of a Cold War Conflict, ed. Andrew Burtch and Tim Cook (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2024): 213-33.

  • (2021) ‘”When told to advance, they advanced”: War Culture and the CEF,’ in Portraits of Battle: Courage, Grief, and Strength in Canada’s Great War, ed. Peter Farrugia and Evan Habkirk (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2021): 45-62.

  • (2020) ‘”Our Gallant Employees”: Corporate Commemoration in Postwar Canada,’ in Canada 1919: A Nation Shaped by War, ed. Tim Cook and J.L. Granatstein (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2020): 278-90.

  • (2017) ‘"Some Great Crisis of Storm and Stress": L.M. Montgomery, Canadian Literature, and the Great War,’ in L.M. Montgomery and War, ed. Andrea McKenzie and Jane Ledwell (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017): 41-55.
  • (2015) ‘A Moment’s Perfection,’ in Amanda Betts, ed., In Flanders Fields, 100 Years: Writing on War, Loss and Remembrance (Toronto, ON: Knopf Canada): 189-205.
  • (2014) ‘Bill Karn’s War,’ in Mark Reid, ed., Canada’s Great War Album: Our Memories of the First World War (Toronto, ON: Harper Collins): 173-179.
  • (2012) ‘An Open Door to a Better Future: The Memory of Canada’s Second World War,’ in Geoffrey Hayes, Mike Bechthold, and Matt Symes, eds., Canada and the Second World War: Essays in Honour of Terry Copp (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press): 461-477.
  • (2007) ‘Battle Verse: Poetry and Nationalism After Vimy Ridge,’ in Geoffrey Hayes, Andrew Iarocci, and Mike Bechthold, eds., Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment (Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press): 265-277.
  • (2005) "Documents in Stone and Bronze: Monuments and Memorials as Historical Sources," in Jeff Keshen and Sylvie Perrier, eds. Building New Bridges / Bâtir de nouveaux ponts: Sources, Methods, and Interdisciplinarity / Sources, méthodes et interdisciplinarité (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press): 185-195.
  • (2005) "Remembering Armageddon," in David MacKenzie, ed., Canada and the First World War: Essays in Honour of Robert Craig Brown (Toronto: University of Toronto Press): 409-433.

Awards and Distinctions

  • 2019 – Floyd S. Chalmers Award for Ontario History
    for his book A Township of War

  • 2019 – Charles P. Stacey Prize
    Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War

  • 2013-2017 – USC Honour Roll

  • 2012 - Distinguished University Professor

  • 2010 - Lela Common Award Winner
    for his book A History of Canadian Culture from the Canadian Authors Association                                                                                                                                                                                                
  • 2009-2010 – USC Honour Roll

  • 2000-10 - Canada Research Chair
    in Conflict and Culture
  • 2008 - Elected a Fellow
    of the Royal Society of Canada                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  • 2006-2007 – USC Honour Roll

  • 2003 - Premier’s Research Excellence Award                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • 1997 - Charles P. Stacey Prize
    Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War

  • 1997 – J.W. Dafoe Foundation Book Prize

  • 1997 – Sir John A. Macdonald Prize
    Canadian Historical Association